When two senior citizens nearly lost their Belvidere, IL home to a fire, one of the first responders was Dionne Sowell.
Sowell and a second volunteer assisted the family with food, shelter and comfort kits, but Sowell also provides something more to the families she serves – compassion and empathy.
It has been over 10 years since Sowell lost her 4-year-old son, Rodney Fair Franks Jr., in a fire at Rodney’s aunt’s home. When Sowell reached the home, a Red Cross volunteer was one of the first people that she encountered.
“They helped with food and clothing and medications that the aunt needed,” Sowell said. “And when she got out of the hospital, they did follow-up. They placed her in a motel. They were a lot of help.” She has not forgotten that act of kindness.
“It’s always good to have somebody like that in your life in times of tragic situations. That’s why I decided to volunteer, to give back to the community.”
Sowell volunteers at the front desk of the Red Cross office and is on call to respond to emergencies. Sowell says that she finds comfort in helping other families who are in similar situations today. She has been in their shoes and she is glad to be able to return the kindness.