Mary Jo Lowell was talking about the recent floods that devastated the Mohawk Valley area in upstate New York when she had to stop and compose herself.
“It’s very, very sad,” Lowell said after pausing for a few seconds to wipe away tears. “My heart goes out to all of the Mohawk Valley, and my thoughts and prayers are with everybody.”
Fortunately for Mary Jo and her friends and neighbors from the village of Mohawk, the American Red Cross has been out in the affected communities providing shelter, food, clean-up supplies, physical and mental health counseling and, most importantly, a shoulder to cry on.
“The Red Cross has been coming in and helping everybody out,” Mary Jo said. “They’re helping us stay strong.”
Mary Jo and her husband of 24 years, Paul Lowell, live near the Mohawk River and their home suffered extensive damage. Paul, 59, grew up in the home and has lived there his entire life.
Mary Jo, 56, and Paul were able to pick up much-needed clean-up supplies at a Red Cross bulk distribution site at Jarvis Jr.-Sr. High School in Mohawk. Other residents who visited the site were able to get first aid, mental health counseling, and referrals to agencies that will help speed their recovery.
“People have to go out and buy things, and this stuff costs a lot of money,” Mary Jo said. “In this economy, this is really helpful.”
Mary Joe said her heart breaks when she talks to friends and neighbors whose homes have been destroyed, or who have lost irreplaceable personal items. Others, she said, don’t have home or health insurance and don’t know where to turn.
While Mary Jo and Paul and their friends and neighbors start on the road to recovery, they’re comforted by the knowledge that the Red Cross will be there every step of the way.
“We’re so happy the people from the Red Cross are willing to help,” Mary Jo said. “I don’t know what we’d do without them.”