Story by Jennifer Ramieh
It was Hurricane Katrina that inspired Mental Health volunteer Behula Guydon to join the American Red Cross. An already planned family reunion was bringing several of her relatives from New Orleans to Grand Rapids, MI when the recommended evacuation was issued. “They called me and said we are grabbing what we can and are headed your way,” says Behula. “I had 15 of my family members stay with us more than a month until it was safe for them to return home. That’s when I decided I needed to get involved.”
While Behula has been actively volunteering in her home chapter, this is her first national assignment. Her husband, Paul is very supportive and knows that this is her passion. She is not sure what to expect with Hurricane Isaac but is looking forward to the chance to do the work that the Red Cross does.
It was also Hurricane Katrina that drove Health Services volunteer Laura Smelski to want to help people. Now with her kids grown, she has seized the opportunity to help people. “This is on my bucket list, to get out in the community and help people,” says Laura.
This is Laura’s second trip to Florida from her hometown of Syracuse, NY for the Red Cross in the last month. She returned home only a few weeks ago from Gainesville where she was on assignment from Tropical Storm Debby.