By Michele Maki, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
“I’ve helped others in disasters, but I never thought I would be the one who needed help.” Joe Patterson of Rowlett, Texas has lived an incredibly interesting and varied life, including volunteering as a chaplain with Victim Relief Ministries during the 2012 tornado outbreak. “I’ve served as a chaplain ministering to all kinds of folks in need-from prison inmates to disaster victims. The thought never crossed my mind that I would be a victim of a disaster.
But “victim” doesn’t describe Joe or his sweetheart, Phylis. “Joe wasn’t going to come to the MARC (Multi-Agency-Resource Center). He kept saying that there were folks worse off than him. I had to remind him his home was gone. He really should come and see you folks.”
Joe was spending time with Phylis at her home when the tornado hit his home. This move may have saved his life. “I think you might be right-that she saved my life. So you know what that means-now she’s the boss!”
As Joe waits to meet with the different agencies at the MARC he learns of the services available that can help him on his road to recovery. shares his story about how he and Phylis met, it’s clear he really cherishes her and is thankful to be alive to share their life together. “We met on a dating site you know, and we’ve been seeing each other for 7 or 8 months. We had planned on getting married in a bit, but I think we will be moving up those plans now.” Joe’s eyes twinkle with gratitude and love.
“We are really so fortunate to be here.” Joe says as he takes Phylis’ hand. You have remarkable people here. Phylis adds, “There are so many resources here, I hope others who were affected by the tornado come, too. It’s such a comfort to see so many caring hearts.”
If you have been affected by the recent tornado, please visit your area MARC and explore the many resources available to you. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/dfw/blog for more information.