When I was about seven years old my house burned down. It was a house fire in Churchville, NY. I remember being so very afraid and wondering what we were going to do. All it took was my dad knocking over the kerosene heater. The automatic shut off on the heater was broken, so it instantly started.
Luckily, we were all downstairs in the living room because it was so cold with no heat in the rest of the house. I was laying on the carpet in front of the television reading my books. My dad yelled, "Get out of the house now!", and we all ran out. My mom grabbed my sister and we went to the van. We had a lot of stuff in a storage unit at that point in time, but we still had clothing and other essentials in the house. My grandmother lived down the road so we went there.
The American Red Cross showed up and gave my family some blankets and warm clothes to put on. They helped make us feel safe when we had lost a lot. The American Red Cross actually replaced some of my books that I lost in the fire. I was so grateful because my books were and still are my life. I actually still have the books they replaced, and I have every intention of letting my children know about the amazing group that gave them to me and why.
The Red Cross gave my family hope and brought smiles to our faces when all we wanted to do was cry. They brought my sister and I some Barbie dolls to play with and gave my brothers some footballs. We were given something incredible by a group of strangers, and that was hope. Hope that there were still good people in the world and hope that these people would continue to help others.
I am so proud to be a part of their work, and I am so very happy that I get to help and give that hope to others. The American Red Cross is truly a place that gives hope. This is why I chose to volunteer my time to help out. I hope my story inspires others and shows them that we are here to help. There are still people out there that will help. Never forget that sometimes things have to go wrong in order to go right.
Madolyn DeVelder, American Red Cross Intern