Its not uncommon for volunteers, staff, partners and supporters to have a Red Cross story – that is, a moment or interaction with the mission that solidifies a desire to support the organization with their time, talent or treasure. While out supporting the Hurricane Barry relief and recovery efforts in Houma, Louisiana, volunteer Clara Correa Geraci and her fellow group members met Ira Poretsky at a local hotel.
“This dear sweet gentleman named Ira started to chat with us. He is sharp and has his memory intact educating us on US history & the tour he is taking his family on across our country,” Clara explained. “He remembers everything; historical dates, places, people. He mentioned that his sister used to work for the Red Cross in DC back in the 50’s and gave us a world of info on who else worked there back then.”
During the encounter, Ira approached Clara separately from the group, to express his gratitude for the Red Cross and to share his own Red Cross story. As tears flowed freely, Ira explained that his first interaction with the Red Cross delivering care and comfort was back in 1953. That year, a rare tornado struck the community of Worchester, MA killing 94. One of those killed was his nephew’s babysitter who was caring for the child when the tornado struck. They found her body wrapped around the two-year-old, who was unharmed; She saved his life.
Since his experience with the Red Cross more than 65 years ago, Ira vowed to express his appreciation for the Red Cross any opportunity he had.