It was an ordinary August morning for Edna Norton until she returned home to find her house ablaze.
Surrounded by nearly a dozen fire trucks, Norton rushed to meet her family outside of their home in Ravenna, Ohio. Much to her relief, her husband and sons made it to safety after the eldest rescued his 18-year-old brother, who uses a wheelchair. But the threat to her family’s lives and destruction to their home left her distraught.
A Red Cross volunteer responding to the fire came to Norton’s side, offering comfort and support.
“She had a spirit about her. She was so calming and soothing,” Norton said of the volunteer. “She made you feel like you could make it through. She was very knowledgeable. I was a wreck. She made me sit down. Gave me water. She was still there after [the first responders] were leaving.”
The Red Cross helped Norton and her family figure out their next steps, addressing urgent needs such as replacing prescription medications that were destroyed by the fire. She said she’s grateful for the support to develop a path for their recovery.
“To lose everything and to know [there are] people out there that care…There are a lot of good people out in the world,” she added. “I’m telling you that I had so much generosity, so much love, from strangers saying, ‘What can I do to help?’”
If you would like to volunteer as a member of the Red Cross team, visit www.redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteer.
Photos: Mary Williams/American Red Cross