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Red Cross Stories from Tupelo: Nurse Volunteer

Since I live in Tampa, if I was impacted by a hurricane and needed help, I would hope someone would help me.

For the hundreds of American Red Cross volunteers, a deployment means they have to put their personal lives on hold. And, depending on the time of the year the deployment occurs, it often means missing holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries.

For female nurses deployed to the April tornadoes in the South, it means missing both National Nurses Week and Mother’s Day. One such nurse says the good Red Cross does in disaster situations outweigh the personal inconvenience.

“I love doing what I do,” says Suzanne Onstine, a nurse deployed from the Tampa chapter. She was joined in Tupelo by 14 nurses from the Northeast Mississippi Chapter to provide services to shelter residents and deployed personnel. The work, she says, involves disaster injuries, recovery and clean-up scrapes and bruises, along with dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Onstine isn’t too concerned about missing the holidays. “Since I live in Tampa, if I was impacted by a hurricane and needed help, I would hope someone would help me.”

For Onstine and her extended family with two grown daughters, Mother’s Day will be delayed this year.

The American Red Cross remains on the scene in Tupelo, helping residents recover from the storm and other daily events such as home fires. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.