Mike’s Louisiana Report #1

Greetings…I’ve been in Baton Rouge since last Friday responding to DR063-17–a flooding incident that is the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012 with more than 60,000 homes and 7,000 businesses destroyed. I am assigned to a new pilot concept in Louisiana called the Red Cross Liaison Network along with other Regional Executives and Executive Directors from around the country to provide dedicated support to specific Parish Government and community leaders. This focused-care approach has enabled the relief operation to better understand and better meet community-specific needs, especially those arising on short or no notice.

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Photo Credit: Mike Parks/American Red Cross

I’ve been assigned to Livingston Parish, one of the hardest hit regions–the devastation of homes and business that I’ve witnessed first hand has been incredible. One of my responsibilities is to check in on our shelter operations–there are currently three Red Cross shelters operating in Livingston Parish. Imagine my surprise when I rolled into one shelter and ran into two volunteers (Jeff and Tom) from Canton, who had just arrived to support the operation. It was a treat to see fellow Northeast Ohio teammates engaged in supporting these folks who have lost so much, and in many cases, everything. It’s a privilege to serve alongside such dedicated Red Cross volunteers.

The Red Cross’ work here is far from done and will require many more volunteers and resources. I’d like to thank all those from Northeast Ohio who have already deployed to help with this disaster. And for those who are considering doing so, be forewarned that it’s hard work, but it’s incredibly meaningful and rewarding when you can be on the ground helping those in such desperate need–doing what the Red Cross has done since its founding 135 years ago–caring for and helping those in need. I appreciate everyone’s support back home in Northeast Ohio. The Red Cross is still facing the need for tremendous resources to respond to this disaster, and everyone’s support is greatly appreciated.

Michael N. Parks

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