"I consider it a gift to be able to deploy during holidays because it seems the clients are not getting to recognize or celebrate their holidays in their usual ways and supporting them is even more important then."
- Robyn Moses
By Kyle McLellan, American Red Cross intern
American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteer Robyn Moses was deployed to Mayfield, Kentucky, on December 26, 2021. Robyn continued past her regular deployment time of two weeks and worked remotely for an additional eight days in which she continued to put the impacted individuals first. Additionally, as a Disaster Mental Health Manager, Robyn made herself available 24/7 via phone to support her team directly serving those impacted by the devastating tornadoes.
Robyn assigned volunteers to meet with displaced individuals staying in various hotels around the area, as non-congregate shelters were in place during the response. Robyn also helped prepare the Integrated Care and Coordination Team to help individuals that experienced the loss of a loved one during the tornadoes. While preparing teams to better deal with grieving family members, Robyn herself met a couple that experienced great hardship after the tornadoes.
Robyn talked to a couple that had been seriously injured during the tornadoes, and while the husband had been released from the hospital in the three weeks between the disaster and Robyn’s deployment, his wife had not. In addition to the physical injuries the couple had experienced, their home and the husband’s workplace were destroyed. Robyn worked with the husband to “help him recognize that his feelings were normal” in what Robyn called an “abnormal situation” and help him find ways to cope and focus on his recovery.
Robyn has been a volunteer with the Red Cross for eight years. After seeing news stories of disasters and the Red Cross assisting, Robyn thought she would like to do that one day. One of Robyn’s coworkers signed her up for a Red Cross class, and the rest is history. Robyn now volunteers as a Disaster Duty Officer with the Disaster Action Team and a Disaster Mental Health volunteer, serving families after disasters strike.
During Robyn’s time with the Red Cross, she has been deployed four times and has helped respond to many other local disasters including the Las Vegas shooting in 2017. Although not in Southern California, many of those affected lived in our region, and Robyn and the team had the opportunity to help many of them over the course of almost a year.
Robyn’s resolve to help others led her to be away from home during New Year’s. “I consider it a gift to be able to deploy during holidays because it seems the clients are not getting to recognize or celebrate their holidays in their usual ways and supporting them is even more important then,” said Robyn.
Robyn knows she can always find joy when deploying. “Red Cross volunteers are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and there is always someone to have a meal or spend a little downtime with,” Robyn said.
To learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, please visit redcross.org/volunteer.