By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer
Maybe it wasn’t a tornado, but the damage done in Twinsburg by random microbursts looked almost as devastating. The most troublesome of all was the strike which knocked down a 30,000-volt power line on Liberty Road, along with six transmission poles. 4,000 Homes were plunged into darkness during the storm.
Upon hearing that First Energy estimated power wouldn’t be fully restored for three or four days, a Red Cross shelter was quickly established at the Twinsburg Community Center. Cots were set up, snacks and warm drinks were available and best of all, it offered a place to warm up, as temperatures began to dip into the 20’s and 30’s.
“This is rather remarkable,” related one woman. “I’ve been contributing to the Red Cross for years, assuming that the money would go to assist people; but now, seeing what you all are doing here, now I know for sure that my donations have been well spent.”
“Are you employees or volunteers?” That was a recurring question from many of those staying at the shelter. When they found out that 90% of us were volunteers, the usual response was something akin to “Well, God bless you for all that you are doing.”
Carrying in two trays of sub sandwiches donated by the local Subway shop in Twinsburg, many people were pleasantly surprised to find that there was no charge for the meals served three times a day. And on hearing that Subway had graciously donated that meal, I’m certain that Subway is going to have a number of appreciative new customers in return.
“I never thought I’d be the one receiving help from Red Cross,” said another. “I watched the big disasters in Texas and Puerto Rico unfold on TV; but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be spending a night in a Red Cross shelter. Thank you so much be being available and ready wherever you are needed.”