Red Cross volunteers see the good side of people after Isaac
by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Sept. 11, 2012 at 4:11 a.m.
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The old man walked toward them and Red Cross volunteer Len Walker started glancing around to find whatever the frail looking man might need from Walker's supplies.
The man leaned into the window and reached out to grasp Walker's hand.
"Thank you," he told the Crossroads volunteer.
"He didn't want anything. He just wanted to thank us," Walker said, his eyes suddenly filling. "Some of the things I see, they make me really emotional," he said, wiping away the tears with a laugh.
Walker and Marguerite Griffin have just returned from a 13-day trip to help those struggling to rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.
They were sent to southern Louisiana to hand out food and water to people struggling to make sense of things after the storm swept through at the end of August.
"Some of them lost everything," Walker said.
Griffin and Walker are two of the most dedicated volunteers in the area. For more than a decade, they've been willing to go wherever they're needed.
"Oklahoma ice storms, Eagle Pass tornados, Dolly down in New Orleans. I've been everywhere," Walker said.
Whether dealing with the stunning visceral damages of Hurricane Katrina or the lesser toll exacted by Hurricane Isaac - most of the damage was from flooding - the kindness of people, their generosity in the midst of such hard times, is what stays with the volunteers, they agreed.
As they travelled around delivering meals and snacks and water to people, Walker was impressed by how often those they were trying to help offered to assist them.
A man came out and asked if they needed a cool drink. Countless people left their houses and stood in front of the Red Cross vehicle just to thank them and shake their hands.
"I like it because it feels good helping people. Those people are so appreciative," Griffin said.
"It's really an experience. You just don't know until you do it," Walker said. "It's such a warm feeling."