A Coon Valley woman is once again stepping up to help out as another natural disaster hits the country, this time in Colorado. This is not the first time Laurie DeFlorian has answered the call. DeFlorian has been to a number of disasters across the country in the last few years and was recently honored by the local Red Cross chapter for her service.
With her children grown, Laurie DeFlorian decided she wanted to involve herself and continue her passion of helping others, so she became a Red Cross disaster responder in May of 2011.
Laurie has responded on national disaster relief operations five times since November of 2012. Her time away from home totaled 72 days, responding to Hurricane Sandy three separate times, Central Illinois flooding and the Tornado in Oklahoma.
Laurie says one of her most memorable volunteer moments occurred during her time in Oklahoma. A man’s house collapsed on him and he was taken to a local hospital. After being treated and
released, he was dropped off at a Red Cross shelter. He was listed as ‘missing’ by local fire and police departments, as well as by his family. Laurie was able to reach his nephew and inform his family that he was okay.
“Just thinking about helping people brings tears to my eyes. I am so happy that I could help him and others in need,” said Laurie.
With great experience helping on a national scale, she is an excellent role model for other Red Cross volunteers and goes out of her way to help them learn.
“Laurie has willingly deployed with two first-time volunteers from Wisconsin, sharing her experience and expertise with these volunteers less familiar with national deployment,” said Ben Hein, Red Cross employee. “The feedback from these volunteers reflected Laurie’s invaluable support and guidance.”
Not only is she involved nationally, Laurie also gives much of her time to support local disaster action teams. She has also been an important part of raising awareness of Red Cross programs and services by providing media interviews and working at local fundraising events.
“My favorite part of being a volunteer with the Red Cross is being able to help people who are in need, no matter how big or small the need is,” said Laurie. “Being a volunteer with the Red Cross gives me the ability to help these people when they may have just experienced the worst event of their lives.”
The Red Cross says Laurie is an exceptionally active and dedicated volunteer and has impacted not only Red Cross employees and volunteers, but also communities across the nation.
“Laurie provides her time and expertise selflessly and modestly,” said Hein.
Laurie offers advice to people considering joining the American Red Cross, “Jump in with both feet, have an open mind and get ready to learn a lot. You will have an awesome adventure.”
DeFlorian of Coon Valley and Shirley Stinson of La Crosse will join a group of Red Cross disaster volunteers to evaluate the needs of clients and provide services through one-on-one casework. As of this evening, 17 Red Cross disaster volunteers have gone to support flood relief efforts in Colorado. As the water begins to recede, the Red Cross is helping people get back on their feet in Colorado by providing shelter, food, relief supplies and comfort to the thousands of people forced from their homes by flash flooding.
You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
Category: Local News