By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio
February 20, 2020- Imagine coming home after a day of work or shopping for the upcoming holiday season, only to find that your home is on fire. That was the case for one East Liverpool family, following a fire believed to have been caused by the wood burner.
As he was driving home from work in Canfield on the evening of Dec. 15, 2017, John Pomeroy noticed he received an unusually high number of text messages and missed calls. Being unable to read the messages as he was driving, he decided to return the calls. That is when he heard the unthinkable.
Before John could ask, his daughter Jocelyn picked up the phone and immediately said, “Dad, the house is on fire. This is not a joke.”
After shopping for gifts with her mother, Jocelyn was the first person to discover the fire. As soon as she opened the front door, all she could see was the home filled with smoke. Confusion and fear set in.
John and Jocelyn Pomeroy
Once John arrived on the scene, he immediately checked on his family to make sure everyone was safe. Then the gravity of the situation began to sink in and he pondered what to do next, as firefighters extinguished the fire.
Prior to the home fire, John and Jocelyn only thought the American Red Cross assisted with large scale disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. John remembers being amazed by how quickly the Red Cross arrived on the scene and the compassion the Disaster Action Team members showed his family.
One memory Jocelyn has of that evening was being wrapped in a Red Cross blanket, an item she still owns today, and the comfort she received from its warmth and softness.
“It is really helpful to have someone there to help you, give you a blanket and tell you everything will be okay,” said Jocelyn.
John and Jocelyn with Kristen Gallagher and Karen Conklin
Even though John personally knew Lake to River Chapter Executive Director Karen Conklin and Kristen Gallagher, disaster program specialist, through Ohio high school wrestling, he was comforted by the Red Cross’ commitment to helping his family get back on their feet.
“We are grateful for the Red Cross and all of their hard work to help others in need,” stated John.
While John and his family were fortunate to be able to return to their home following the fire, he never forgot what the Red Cross did for them. John was so inspired by his experience that he signed up to become a Red Cross volunteer during a volunteer information session in East Liverpool.
“Despite so much going through my mind, the Red Cross was there every step of the way,” said John. “As a volunteer, I hope to provide others in need the same comfort and support that we received. I want to help others know everything will be okay.”
John signing up to become a Red Cross volunteer
Although Jocelyn has to wait until she turns 13, she also is eager to become a Red Cross volunteer. Until then, she is looking forward to the opportunity to apply to be a Summer Youth Corps member this year.
The Red Cross will host informational sessions across Northeast Ohio to help you learn about the many ways you can make a difference as a Red Cross volunteer. You’ll hear from current volunteers and have an opportunity to ask questions. Volunteer applications will also be available.
Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga County Volunteer Information Sessions
Saturday, Feb. 29
Red Cross Regional Headquarters
3747 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH
Summit, Portage and Media County Volunteer Information Sessions
Saturday, March 1
Red Cross Akron Office
501 W. Market St., Akron, OH
Can’t make it to a volunteer session, but interested in volunteering? Click here to visit our volunteer page to learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross and to submit a volunteer application.
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer