Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fargo Floods: Why Am I Here?

Events of Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Location: Fargo, North Dakota/Moorehead, MN area

Disaster: Red River Flooding

It's almost 1:00 am in the morning, and I am sitting at Moorhead Senior High School, in Moorhead, Minnesota.... I'm managing an emergency American Red Cross shelter which was set up on March 26th due to the flooding of the Red River.

I have been doing the night shift for a week now. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I haven't been eating right. And I'm not getting my normal exercise.

Why am I here?

I have dealt with sick children, crying babies, drunk men, angry women, anxious homeowners, and one client who spoke only Farsi - not one word of English.

Why am I here?

I haven't seen my own family in a week. I'm lucky if I catch four hours of sleep in a dumpy motel, listening to the pounding on doors and the hesitant, "Housekeeping" every five minutes as I bury my head under my pillow, praying for darkness and sleep.

Why am I here?

I arrived in a blizzard on the night of March 24th, when six inches of snow hit the Fargo area. Another blizzard hit Monday, lasting for almost 48 hours, dumping another 14" of snow on top of the snow from below. And a fine, sheen glaze of black ice covers every walking surface around. I tiptoe to my car so I don't fall and break my neck.

Why am I here?

I'm here because I'm a volunteer with the American Red Cross, who vows to provide relief to victims of disaster. I'm here because every year the ARC responds to over 70,000 disasters - including over 150 house fires each day. I'm here along with hundreds of other ARC volunteers who want nothing more than to provide that relief during a disaster - and put our own personal comfort and needs aside for the moment.

I'm here because my hero is Mother Teresa. She once said, "Each one of them is Jesus in disguise." So, when I deal with the sick child, or the drunken man, or the angry woman, or the anxious homeowner - I remember that they are Jesus - in disguise - and I smile and listen and comfort and assist.

I'm here because I'm a Christian, and the Bible says, "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" And so I go out to assist those in need, ignoring my own needs - whether that be a need for sleep, or food, or warmth. I know my needs will be met later.

I'm here because it's the right thing to do.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for going up there in the cold and helping others. Your an inspiration to alot of people.

Anonymous said...

Sherri, thanks for all you do! Peace, blessings and sleep to you, Joyce D. from GKC

Anonymous said...

You go Sherri....You will get your reward later!!!

Mikat76 said...

Sherri, Wonderful post! It is a glimpse into the life of a Red Cross volunteer that more people need to see. I feel inspired to do more for others as well.

Thank You!