Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, came to Moore, Oklahoma on Wednesday with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for a tour of areas affected by the deadly tornados earlier this week. As they met with local residents, the conversations were emotional but hopeful.
Speaking to a large gathering of neighbors in Moore, McGovern’s words echoed the determination of the people to restore health and vitality to each of the communities affected by the tornadoes that swept the region last Sunday and Monday.
“The American Red Cross is in Oklahoma today, the Red Cross will be here next week, and most importantly, the Red Cross will be in Oklahoma for the long-term recovery that will continue,” McGovern said. “The Red Cross was here before the tornadoes and our employees and volunteers are Oklahomans who live and work alongside you. We are – and continue to be – committed to Oklahoma and people in these communities.”
Janienne Bella, the regional Red Cross CEO here, said, “People always respond so warmly to Gail. She is an engaged and compassionate leader.
Bella assured Oklahoma residents and Red Cross volunteers and employees that donations that have been made in the wake of the tornadoes would be used to help people here.
“The Red Cross will spend what it takes to meet the needs of the communities here in Oklahoma that have been so devastated by these tornadoes. The Red Cross is using those donations for Oklahoma right now in these communities as we open shelters and provide food, relief items and health and mental health support to those in need after these tragedies."
There will still be many very difficult days ahead for residents, as clean up begins and families gather to memorialize lost love ones. But the brave determination and spirit of residents here is clear, as is the resolve of the Red Cross.