Extreme heat isn’t fun. But when storms roll through and power goes out, the heat just seems to magnify. So when it got even hotter in Waverly, OH, the Red Cross set up a shelter to give those in the area food, a relief from the heat, and a place to stay. When Sierra’s family came to the shelter, her mom said it was ok for a Red Cross public relations volunteer to talk to her daughter, even take her picture. Sierra didn’t want to be a part of it. The independent, self-confident 10 year old had better things to do. In her effort to find a sense of normalcy in the stressful events that surrounded her, she met Lindsay, a Red Cross volunteer, and the two decided to play “Go Fish”. Sierra kept busy, and helped out where she could. When volunteers realized that the shelter was short on comfort kits, Sierra and Lindsay worked together to put some more together, carefully stuffing toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, etc. into the sandwich bags. Even though she was keeping busy, she didn’t talk much. Very polite, she was most likely to be heard saying please and thank you. Even when a campaign bus stopped at the shelter to donate water and snacks, Sierra stayed by Lindsay’s side, finally willing to have her picture taken with her new friend.
Later, she sat and colored with Lindsay, who was just completing a twelve hour shift and facing a return two hour drive to back to Cincinnati. It became apparent that Sierra did not want Lindsay to leave. Lindsay, as any good Red Cross volunteer, always came prepared with a change of clothing for possible emergencies. This seemed to be one. Lindsay stayed and spent the night at the shelter with Sierra and her family. When the Red Cross shelter closed, the family departed the next day, with the assistance of the Red Cross, for a homeless shelter in another town. Sierra phoned Lindsay the next day on her mom’s cell phone to let her know where she was and how she was doing. “I love you Lindsay,” Sierra said. They promised to stay in touch. Clara Barton would have done the same.