Thursday, May 12, 2011

Into the Fray

I am at Red Cross headquarters, near Jackson, MS. As usual, I will not reveal the exact location to maintain the security of the facility.

I arrived on the day that the entire relief operation is moving from one headquarters to a bigger one, in anticipation of needing more space as the flood waters rise. Setting up a new HQ is the single biggest, most stressful task the technology group performs. Our crew, many of whom I know and like from other jobs, worked late into the night and we're starting early again this morning.

Godfrey's train, the City of New Orleans from the Big Easy to Chicago, has been canceled until further notice due to flooding, so he quickly booked a flight from Jackson to NY. He left Wednesday afternoon. I am so grateful to him for his help and companionship on this trip! Thanks, man, I owe you. I'll also miss his fine pictures.

Expect blogging to be sparse for a while, as the job heats up. Somewhere among the chaos today I need to re-park Odyssey. I have a good spot near the loading dock, but the Logistics department will need this space soon. The opposite end of the very large building should provide more afternoon shade, anyway. It's just a very, very, very long walk around the complex to work.


  1. Hope you got a good night's sleep in preparation for a busy day. Good friends like Godfrey are hard to find! We had another little storm with more rain here in NW Arkansas last night. We live on Beaver Lake and our current levels are just a foot below the top of the dam. With more rain forecasted today it's bad news for areas south of us as well as the lakes that we feed into. Too much of a good thing is as bad as not enough. Praying for a sunny day and clear skies for everyone!

  2. It was an honor to help escort Louise and experience a continental crossing in the Mightily Majestic Land Mass that is her and Sean's home. Truly, a grand trip, Louise! Would that the purpose of the trip were not so dire ...I'm glad I was able to help. And remember, I have videos too ... ;-)

    My flights into NY were uneventful although a short-booking through Charlotte had me running from one end of the terminal to the other to catch my connection in less than thirty minutes. Heh, I need the exercise anyway. My friends and brother collected me so all is well.

    I wish you and the rest of your colleagues success in working the Mississippi River flood relief. My heart goes out to all the folks whose lives have been, are and will be disrupted. :-(

  3. Louise,

    Pat and I think you've earned a high quality photo of yourself piloting the coach across the country that would have equal billing with Sean. Great job - you go girl!


  4. Dear S&L,
    Oh what wonderful things you are doing. I just got back online today to catch up on a few things...Louise some of your stories brought tears to my eyes; both with mirth and with sadness! I also have quit watching TV lately as I am so sick of "politics as usual", but it is so wonderful to get my news from you who are actually there experiencing it, and doing something about it...Thank YOU.

  5. I will not reveal the exact location to maintain the security of the facility.
    Why ever would anyone care?

    Saw the Red Cross had taken over a building in the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL. Probably over a hundred cars, plus a dozen or so of rented vechicles in the parking lot. Whatever good could a building full of people on computers do to assist people who have lost their homes?

  6. @Dorothy: We hear your questions quite often. Large relief operations like this require hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers to set up shelters and distribute the food and other help. That is the direct assistance that you think of when you see the Red Cross.

    All those tens of thousands of cots, blankets, and meals, plus the people who provide them, need to be managed and coordinated. Just like any other large company, there are items to be purchased and bills to be paid. Fleets of trucks are coordinated and dispatched. We have folks who talk to the media, and meet with law enforcement and emergency management officials.

    This "background" activity that you never see happens in facilities like this one. In modern times, that requires computers and telephones. It is much more efficient than paper and pencils, although we've done it that way, too!

    The reason we keep the facility secure is that we don't have the cots and meals here. We don't want to waste the time of folks who need assistance by having them show up here where we can't help them immediately. We want them to go to our shelters and feeding sites.

    I hope that helps you understand (and maybe even appreciate) our work better.

  7. As an Alabamian, I am grateful for your work here as well as in other locations. I'll follow your blog for entertainment as well as education. Thank you!!

  8. time for an update! thanks for all you guys are doing for the flood ravaged people of the south.


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