In boxing, it's called a one-two punch — a combination of two hard hits in rapid succession designed to knock out an opponent. That describes what nature inflicted on the state of Florida in 2022.
First, Hurricane Ian struck the southwest coast and roared across the peninsula to the northeast. Ian was the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida since 1935 and left behind a swath of destruction. Six weeks later, Hurricane Nicole delivered the knockout punch to the northeast corner of the state. The combination of rain-soaked land, high tides, and a relentless storm surge caused flooding and severe beach erosion.
The American Red Cross was already in action to provide disaster relief after Hurricane Ian. Volunteers quickly mobilized in Volusia and Flagler counties. The need was greatest helping people who were working to clear their homes from flood damage. A drive along the communities bordering State Road A1A, near the beach, revealed piles of water-logged carpet and furnishings, crumbling mounds of drywall, and those infamous blue tarps covering holes in roofs.
Red Cross volunteers have made sure residents are being fed. They recently loaded up the spacious, diesel-powered vans with food donated by a local Cracker Barrel restaurant. Three volunteers drove the van through the damaged neighborhoods and distributed hot meals to the grateful residents of Flagler Beach.
Rick Woodin was one of the locals who has been working in the hot sun to clear away the damage to his home. Rick received a stack of hot meals for himself and for his elderly neighbors. Rick said that he was “impressed by the kindness and empathy of the Red Cross people.” He remarked, “How efficient and wonderful the Red Cross is… nobody else showed up!”
Red Cross volunteer Mary Johnson, a member of the Red Cross Illinois Chapter, is a new volunteer working on her first disaster relief effort. She saw an opportunity to help after Hurricane Ian.
“This has been an awesome experience to be out in the community, serving meals to the people who are working hard to clean out storm damage. Just a smile makes it all worthwhile,” Mary said. “When you have the opportunity to help a person in need, there is no feeling like that. We are making a difference in their lives, and they are so appreciative it makes me feel amazing. We all come together with a common purpose, a common cause.”
Help people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Donate today at redcross.org/donate.
Written by Duhane Lindo, American Red Cross Public Affairs