AMERICAN RED CROSS
Each day American Red Cross volunteers stand ready to respond to disasters large and small, whenever they may happen. In FY11 alone, the American Red Cross provided assistance to 178 individuals across Kaufman County, most of them victims of home fires.
In September, a single family fire in the city of Kaufman was reported to Red Cross dispatchers. As is often the case, the family had been sleeping when their house caught fire. Asleep in a front room, the son and daughter noticed the smoke and banged on their parents’ window to wake them. Unfortunately, the father was not able to escape and perished in the fire. The mother was transported to the hospital and admitted to the ICU with burns on her arms, back and leg. The following day, a trained Red Cross caseworker, as well as Red Cross Health Services volunteers, met with the family to discuss available aid and steps to recovery. The fire had destroyed all their belongings, and the family was so appreciative that the Red Cross was able to provide replacements for lost medications, eyeglasses and medical equipment. Direct financial assistance was also given to help the family with burial arrangements, as their insurance was not enough to cover the full cost. The mother was surprised and overjoyed that this was a service the American Red Cross could provide to her family.
Following the incident, a Red Cross caseworker followed up with the family to make sure that their needs had been met, and heard again how thankful the family was for the assistance they received. They will be forever grateful for the caring and generous support that was provided by the American Red Cross in their time of loss.
Amber was in sixth grade when she went to see her doctor for a routine visits. Her pediatrician gave Amber and her mom startling news; Amber was in danger of developing type 2 diabetes. At 170 pounds, Amber is one of the 32% of Texas children who are overweight or obese. Amber had always been a little pudgy but in the last three years she gained more than 60 pounds due to fast food eating and lack of exercise. Her doctor recommended she come to Camp Sweeney. At Camp Sweeney, Amber met all kinds of kids, some had diabetes, some didn’t, all were friendly and encouraging. She got to play different kinds of sports and learned what types of foods she should eat. She got to catch a fish for the very first time and she danced with a cute boy at the Luau dance. She made lifelong friendships. And when her mom came to pick her up three weeks later, Amber had lost 6 pounds!! Amber knows she still has a long way to go, but with her new friends and their encouragement, she knows she can do it. Amber plans to come back to Camp Sweeney next year to continue to work on her healthy new lifestyle. (Name changed to protect identity)