Red Cross anxious about 2012 storm season




Posted on March 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 12 at 1:59 AM

Slightly disheveled and beyond exhausted, Anita Foster, Communications Director for the American Red Cross North Texas Region, is finally back home after almost two weeks away assisting tornado victims.

"I'm pretty exhausted, But I'll tell you this: there's not a job that would give a person a greater privilege than to be a Red Cross worker," she said. "But no matter how tired we are, I have a bed."

On Friday, March 2, Foster and a dedicated team of volunteers made history, departing from North Texas, for the first time ever, before a storm hit. By the time they arrived in Nashville, tornadoes had touched down in 11 different states.

Foster was in awe at how North Texans responded to the need.

"People were texting our number constantly," she said with a smile. "We know that we raised almost a million dollars in one day, and that was really, really encouraging."

Those funds are now helping storm survivors rebuild. Foster's home video shows homes in Kentucky reduced to rubble, and entire communities wiped off the map.

The Red Cross spokeswoman said it was emotionally heartbreaking talking to residents who lost loved ones.

"The heartbreak is always the people. They lose loved ones; they lose sense of self, their community... their kids don't have a school to go to in the morning," Foster said. "You know they're trying to explain this to their children."

But even worse, the storm victims can't be sure if they'll be vulnerable to the forces of nature, considering that spring hasn't even started yet.

"Its really frightening to think that we are in early March; for most of the country, we really haven't fired up tornado season," Foster said, adding that its important for her to keep donors informed that the work of the Red Cross is not over.