Friday, July 29, 2016

"Thank You from the Bottom of our Hearts"

Photo courtesy:
On Monday, July 25, Geraldine Baylor and her family awoke as the back of their home caught on fire. Disasters never come at convenient times, and for Geraldine Baylor and her family, this was more than accurate. A few hours before, they received news that a family member passed from cancer. The family gathered together at Geraldine Baylor’s home to make the necessary preparations for memorial services. Geraldine’s home was filled with mourning family members and beloved animals that Geraldine fosters for. No one expected that things could get worse.

In a home fire, you have an average of approximately two minutes to escape safely. However, Geraldine needed more than just two minutes. Geraldine has a prosthetic leg, and often times she relies on a wheelchair. Thankfully, with the help of the fire department, Geraldine, as well as the rest of the family and animals, were able to exit the house safely.

American Red Cross volunteers, Suzanne Kowalcyk and Jim McMoil, were called at two in the morning to meet with the family at a local restaurant. Both volunteers reported that the family was in good spirits, despite their situation.

“They even tried to pay for our coffee,” Jim said as he recalled how appreciative the family was for the help the Red Cross was providing.  

The volunteers booked a hotel room for the family to stay in as they wait for their home repaired. Geraldine noted that the volunteers are still in contact with the family and continue to be a significant help.

“You guys are just amazing, and have been so generous and caring,” Geraldine stated. “My family and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” 

The Red Cross provides numerous educational programs on how to stay safe during a disaster. A main cause of death and injuries due to home fires is lack of smoke detectors. Thus, as part of the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross offers free smoke alarms to ensure community safety. To schedule a free smoke alarm installation, please email or call 716-878-2353.

During a house fire, the Red Cross provides a number of services to ensure that people are safe, protected, and are on the road to recovery. If you are interest in being a part of the recovery process for those affected by a disaster, apply online to become a volunteer at

-Grace Carnall, Communications Intern

American Red Cross, WNY Chapter