By Michele Maki, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
“I’m so very, very tired. I just want to sleep. I really have no idea what I’m going to do now.” Imagine for a moment what it would be like to come home to find the house you rent in shambles. Imagine what it would be like to hear your neighbor’s screams for help penetrating the night air as they are still trapped in their homes damaged by a tornado. Imagine then, after the shock has worn off, wondering where you will live, how you will clothe your family and how you will get to work. You look around, and what used to be your pickup truck is now nothing but twisted metal on top of what used to be your neighbor’s home. Your neighborhood looks like a war zone.
Suzy DeLaCruz, from Rowlett, Texas doesn’t need to imagine. This is her reality. It’s every nightmare come true. Suzy and her family were not home when the tornado stuck the evening of last December 26th. When the tornado alert on her phone sounded, she rushed home only to find her neighborhood shredded and unrecognizable.
As Suzy recounts her experience, the tears start to flow, “I could hear my neighbors across the street yelling for help. The house had collapsed on them. It was awful.” But Suzy had high praise for her neighborhood, “It was neighbor helping neighbor, pulling folks out of the rubble. It was a team effort.”
Now, Suzy and her family face the uncertainty of the future. “We were renters. We didn’t have insurance. The landlord’s home insurance doesn’t cover us. We need a place to live, clothes, furniture, household…….” Her voice trails off in tears. “I don’t know where to start. I’m so very tired.”
But there is hope. “The Red Cross has been so wonderful to us. At the shelter, they welcomed us with open arms. It wasn’t long before I felt hope and I could smile. For a little while, I could forget. They have encouraged us to meet with their caseworkers and trained counselors to help us get through this. I can never thank them enough.”
The American Red Cross will continue to reach out to the affected communities with caseworkers and trained counselors to help them on their journey to recovery. The Red Cross is here. It’s dedicated team of volunteers are ready to help. If you need help or want to become a volunteer, please visit: www.redcross.org/dfw.