I’m very grateful to be back again.” Liz White, American Red Cross disaster mental health volunteer from the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter, was commenting on her service this week as one of more than two dozen of trained Red Cross mental health volunteers who have been providing comfort and assistance to visitors to the National September 11 Memorial Museum. White served at ground zero after the 2001 attacks. “Back then,” she said, “we [Red Cross volunteers] were all strangers. But we all shared the same heart.”
Because of the expected emotional impact of the museum’s opening, the Red Cross, along with members from two of its partner groups, Disaster Chaplaincy Services and Disaster Psychiatry Outreach, have been asked to provide assistance at the Museum during its opening ceremony, its dedication preview period (May 15 to 20), and today, the day the museum opens to the public
These volunteers have been working in daily shifts at the museum to offer support and counseling to family members of those lost, survivors and responders. Many of these Red Cross workers (and partner group members) served in the hours, days and months following the attacks and subsequently lent their support to family members at New York City’s annual 9/11 commemorations.
Like White, several Red Cross mental health volunteers are here from out of town—New York State, New Hampshire, Maine and Pennsylvania—to support this event.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to return,” said Marlene Boas, White’s fellow volunteer from Pennsylvania, who also served at ground zero in 2001.
Josh Lockwood, regional CEO of the Greater New York Red Cross, expressed his thanks to the volunteers.
“It is immensely moving,” he said, “that our mental health volunteers are once again serving those who lost so much over 12 years ago. This is the very heart of who we are and what we do, and I’m extremely proud of all those who are helping this week.”