By Reihaneh Hajibeigi, Communications Intern, Fall 2013
When a disaster strikes anywhere in the country, its ripples are felt by American Red Cross staff and volunteers no matter how far away they may be.
Last week, we shared with you the story of volunteer Rigo Vallejo, just one of eleven local Red Cross workers who deployed to help the people of Colorado after floods devastated the region.
Victoria Goldfedib was another of the local Red Crossers to answer the call for help in Colorado, where she worked as a Staff Support Specialist. Unlike Rigo, she is a staff member for the Red Cross of Central Texas; many of you may know her as the friendly Volunteer Services Specialist for the Central Texas chapter.
Victoria said she had no idea what to expect on her first deployment
“This deployment proved to be a great opportunity for growth,” Victoria said. “We were all different, and finding ways to interact and work as a single unit with virtual strangers was an interesting and empowering experience.”
As an expert with Volunteer Connection, the online database that manages volunteers for the Red Cross, Victoria coordinated and oversaw the lodging and accommodations for hundreds of incoming disaster responders. Working with other groups, she and her team were able to ensure the disaster responders on the front lines received adequate support to carry out the relief operation in Colorado.
“Our DRO responders experienced a myriad of issues – everything from lost luggage to hay allergies,” Victoria said. “We did our best to accommodate every single disaster worker in order to make sure they were well-rested and in positive spirits.”
Since the flooding first began, more than 1,200 Red Crossers have helped to power a response that includes serving more than 191,000 meals and snacks, handing out more than 242,000 relief items and providing about 14,000 health and mental health contacts. The Red Cross has also provided a total of 3,800 shelter stays for people forced from their homes by the flooding.
Even though Victoria’s position as a Staff Support Specialist was mostly behind-the-scenes rather than out in the field, she certainly saw the progress of the massive relief operation in Colorado.
“This relief operation covers more than 20 thousand square miles, and as soon as I arrived on Sept. 17, I went straight to work,” Victoria said. “I spent over 100 hours helping disaster responders.”
“We are now shifting from response phase to long-term recovery, and that will last months as those affected attempt to move back into their flooded communities,” Victoria said. “But everyone in Colorado has been extremely supportive of the American Red Cross and our efforts.”