Hard work and a never-give-up attitude brought some stability to Mary Butler and her daughter, but when fire destroyed their home on the Sunday before Memorial Day she relied on the American Red Cross to keep her world in order.
“It was very helpful because they gave us a motel room for two days. We were able to have food. It gave me a little time to regroup and try to figure out what to do next,” Mary said recently. “Their help wasn’t just financial. When I came here they were real supportive. It is difficult to make a whole new restart. And in our case it’s just us and it’s always just been me and her. Therefore, it’s just me.”
Mary is especially grateful for the emotional comfort provided by the responding volunteers.
“Just to have somebody else to say, ‘It’s okay. We’re going to help you. You can do this,’ just made it a lot easier,” she said.
Mary and her daughter, Key Andrea Turner, who is 10, weren’t home at the time of the fire. When Mary did return, she didn’t realize the situation was as bad as it was.
“The front of the house was still there, so I didn’t know what I was getting into until I saw there was no back of the house. That was a surprise,” she said. “It’s scary because you don’t know what to do. I’ve never had a house fire like that. All our belongings are gone. It’s what do we do now? A friend of mine contacted the Red Cross and then had me contact them.”
When volunteers met with Mary, they assessed her immediate emergency needs and provided the financial resources to meet those needs.
“After the fire we got a debit card. That took care of food and got us some clothes,” she said. “We were able to go to the motel where we were able to take baths, relax, regroup and put on some clothes because now we had some clothes. It made a big difference. We didn’t have anything.”
Mary said she didn’t know what would have happened to her and her daughter without the Red Cross.
“In my case, I don’t know where we would have laid our heads,” said Mary, who explained in some situations she has difficulty concentrating. “There’s no telling weather I would have had a meltdown or if I would be able to do what I’m doing. I think I would have had a meltdown, because everything is gone.
“I didn’t have a meltdown because someone was there to guide you a little and make you remember that you’re not by yourself. Not only are you not by yourself, but you are alive. That kind of fixed it and brought me back in reality.”
The chapter is continuing to help Mary and her daughter, who moved from Jefferson City after the fire, with financial assistance in paying their first month rent on a new home.
“I’m excited about moving,” Mary said