Clearwater shelter resident Pauline burst into tears of joy when the Red Cross volunteer informed her that her home was okay and power had been restored. Pauline and her husband Ray have been staying in Red Cross and community shelters ever since Hurricane Irma threatened their St. Petersburg home. Now, more than a week later, they would be able to return home.
“We’re so happy and content, pleased with how we’ve been treated,” said Ray, “We’ve met so many nice people.”
Red Cross volunteers working in the Ross Norton Recreation Complex shelter in Clearwater, FL formed a special connection with the couple, who never lost their optimism in the face of adversity.
“They’re that couple that walks around always holding hands, and we all love them,” said Red Cross volunteer Terri Guetzlaff, “They’re the couple we all want to be when we grow old.”
Red Cross volunteers helped the couple pack up the few belongings that they had rushed to grab during the evacuation. Through Red Cross partnerships with local and federal agencies, transportation had been arranged for Ray and Pauline to get home safely.
As they packed up the rest of their possessions, Pauline added, “I don’t know what I would’ve done without you guys.”
Photos by Jessica Piffero, American Red Cross of Central California
Caption: Red Cross volunteer Ela shares a hug with Pauline who is overcome with the news she and her husband can return home.