Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Message from T.D. Smyers: Reflecting Back: Tornado Aftermath

by T.D. Smyers, CEO, American Red Cross North Texas Region

As I type this message, residents in parts of the Metroplex are clearing downed trees and searching for their patio furniture after a cluster of strong storms pushed through the area last night. Thankfully, we’re not hearing about any injuries or damage to homes. On this day, three months ago, the story was quite different. 

Supercell thunderstorms developed across North Texas on May 15 and before sunrise the next morning, 18 tornadoes had touched down, one being an EF4 in Granbury that claimed six lives, injured more than 50 people and flattened about one hundred homes. Red Cross teams responded in force by opening shelters in Hood and Johnson counties for 88 people, serving nearly 30,000 meals and snacks, handing out more than 10,000 relief items such as tarps, rakes, trash bags and more and had nearly 1,100 conversations with the survivors to help them cope. All of this was accomplished by 239 Red Cross disaster responders, the vast majority being volunteers. 

Just five days from now, the people of Oklahoma will be reflecting on their first 90 days since deadly tornadoes ripped through their communities. 

As we remember those who are still grappling with the aftermath of the storms three months ago, let’s prepare to help others who will need us moving ahead. You can help. Start your Red Cross story by becoming a volunteer, making a financial donation or become a digital advocate by following us on Twitter @RedCrossDFW to advance our important work. 

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