The American Red Cross is responding to the marathon bombings in Boston, working with officials to help ensure people get the help they need.
The Red Cross is providing food, water, emotional support and spiritual care services to the injured, their families and emergency responders. Emergency response vehicles are mobilized and about 150 trained workers are providing support and comfort. Since Monday they have served thousands of meals and snacks, distributed relief items like blankets and comfort kits and provided hundreds of mental health and health services to those affected.
Two of these workers are Carl and Gail Fleischer, Red Cross volunteers from Boston who were ready to respond when the call came. They didn’t hear the blast from the bombs, even though they live six blocks from the marathon’s finish line. It wasn’t until their daughter called concerned for their safety that they knew something had happened.
By 5:30 Tuesday morning the couple were loading up a Red Cross truck to bring food to first responders and National Guard members who were working in and around Boston Common and the impact area.
They parked in the middle of Boston Common surrounded by green grass, early spring flowers, military and police vehicles, tents, and equipment. Opening up the window and reaching out with a cup of coffee and a hot breakfast, they brought smiles to many people’s faces. Many had been working at the marathon and had been going ever since, getting a couple hours of sleep in their vehicles or on the ground.
The Fleischers have been married for 40 years and volunteering for the Red Cross since 2005. They have responded to disaster all over the country, but appreciated they have the training to help close to home when needed. “It is so rewarding because you are out taking care of people who have been affected,” said Gail.
While many first responders were working above ground, member of the 182nd Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts National Guard were below ground providing additional security in the “T”, Boston’s Metro rail system.
Dawn Thompson is a Red Cross volunteer with the local Service to Armed Forces (SAF) program, helping through outreach events to educate the communities about services available to military families. However, this week she and Lynn Levine, Red Cross SAF program manager, are handing out water to the members of the 182nd and other first responders stationed around Boston.