By Jacqueline Koch
Timothy Craig’s son Kaiden was about to turn 10 years old when the family home caught fire.
“We aren’t sure what caused the fire, we were gone for 30 minutes, then we got a call from a neighbor and told us the house was on fire,” explained Craig, who lives in King County, Wa.
“The Red Cross was on the scene within 45 minutes of the event and providing assistance,” he added. “You guys are fast, I was shocked at how fast they arrived and started asking us if we needed help.”
Everything in the home was completely lost due to fire and smoke damage.
Craig’s family was assisted by a local Red Cross disaster action team (DAT) volunteer on site. “He was just awesome, an amazing guy. I immediately bonded with him. You could tell he cared about what he was doing, he was sincere,” explained Craig, “It was like he knew what it was like to be in that position.”
In the last year, mobilizing the members of the 4,677-strong volunteer corps, the Northwest region of the Red Cross has responded to 766 disasters, large and small and provided financial support to 1,278 families and households in the wake of a disaster.
With Red Cross assistance and guidance through the recovery process the Craig family quickly had a new home lined up for lease.
“It was a really big help, Red Cross gave us a number of useful resources. And we found a place and were ready to move in within two weeks.”
Craig added that the day they signed the lease was especially auspicious: It was his son Kaiden’s 10th birthday.
“He was so traumatized by the fire,” said Craig, “he was distraught, the fire burned so hot, he’d lost everything. That day, he kept telling us all he wanted for his birthday was a place to live.” The fire event was a painful one, especially for a young child, Craig added. “It’s a lot to go through for a 10-year-old. It makes me sad to think about it. He was far more interested in us finding a house than getting toys for his birthday.” The family has had a chance to settle into the new home and have benefitted from the new location: Kaiden is living closer to his grandma.