By Lois Beckman and Lena Morris, Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteers
American Red Cross casework volunteer, Dennis “the Menace” Lutz believes he has two sets of people to care for while deployed to the recent disaster in Texas — the first group is of course the families who have seen their homes damaged or destroyed by the recent floods — the second group of people are his fellow volunteers.
“Casework can be a difficult job because of the things you hear from people; their stories of loss,” says Lutz. So he makes it a point to help lighten the load of the volunteers by making them laugh. His fellow volunteers jokingly refer to him as Dennis “the Menace”.
Lutz, retired from the fire service, is from Kentucky. His deployment to Austin, Texas is his third such assignment with the Red Cross this year. As a firefighter, Lutz appreciated the support of the Red Cross to those on the front lines.
“They were always there with hot coffee for us in the winter and cold water in the heat,” He said. “Being a volunteer is my way of giving back to the Red Cross.”
When asked what one word Lutz would use to describe the American Red Cross, he chose “Phenomenal”. He states, “People come from all different backgrounds and from all across the country when disasters hit. They hear the call and they jump into action. Volunteers hit the road to help people they’ve never even met. My fellow Red Cross workers are the some of the best people in the world.”
Over 50 feeding units have gathered in Texas to provide relief for the families affected. As of two weeks after the sever storms on May 26th, 2016, there are more than 400 volunteers from all over the United States working as a part of the Red Cross disaster relief.
Lutz says he feels lucky to be able to be a member of the Red Cross. “I’m blessed with being able to have a pension, and an understanding and caring wife who says, ‘go help, they need help,’ so that’s why I do it,” he said.
The American Red Cross wouldn’t be able to distribute its aid without volunteers like you. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.redcross.org.