By: Donna Braun
American Red Cross volunteers Carolle Cox and Geoff Church arrived on the scene of a Saginaw, Texas home fire, where they found family in distress. The Saginaw Fire Department responded to the fire earlier that day in January but found little more than smoldering ashes where a home once stood.
Cox rallied around Susan, one of the residents, who was emotional after the loss of her home, to offer support and help. Susan lived in the home with her dad, Ed, her boyfriend and her three children.
Amid the chaos, they quickly realized that Ed was nowhere in sight. They found him a short time later as an EMT was checking on him at a neighbor’s home.
The EMT suggested Ed get checked out at the hospital after the stress of the night. Ed initially resisted the idea, but Cox encouraged him, “In all seriousness, this would be for the best,” since the EMT’s could not treat him where they were. Ed relented and replied, “I guess so, then.”
Luckily, no one was injured by the fire, which started in the garage, spread to the attic and then to the rest of the house. Susan’s children were not home at the time.
Fire fighters tried to save as many possessions as possible while sifting through the debris after putting out the fire. Remarkably, they recovered one priceless item: the urn holding the ashes of Ed’s late wife, who passed away last year.
Cox and Church helped the family begin the process to receive added assistance from the Red Cross before departing the fire scene. After receiving initial support from the two volunteer responders, the Red Cross arranged for the family to stay a hotel as they begin the recovery process.
A few days later, in a community Facebook group where the home fire was being discussed, Cox posted that she was glad that she could be of service to the family. Susan saw her comment and responded, “Miss Carolle, you are truly a living angel, and I will never forget you and your kindness for the rest of my life.” She also relayed that her father was doing well.
As the news of the house fire spread, people wanted to help the family in any way they could. “How can I help?” one person asked on Facebook. This post led to member of the community page organizing a meal train for Ed, Susan and their family while they deal with the tragedy of losing their home.
Red Cross volunteers, like Cox and Church, respond to home fires every day throughout North Texas. It’s difficult work, but they’re driven to help by their compassion and the knowledge that they can help make a difference in someone’s life.