For volunteers in Bremerton, WA, this Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service will be remembered as a day they helped prepare their neighbors to survive a home fire. They installed 41 smoke alarms in 17 homes at the Country Lane Mobile Home Park.
“I think it’s the most fabulous thing and so deeply appreciated,” said Mary Hamre, manager of the Country Lane Mobile Home Park. She went door-to-door with volunteers to make sure her residents felt safe and understood why the Red Cross was there.
“A lot of the people who live here are very low-income … a lot of them are international and non-English speaking.”
The event made an impression on Melody Hadsock, who was volunteering for the first time with the Red Cross. “I saw and observed that not everybody has the opportunity, capability and resources to have smoke alarms,” she said. “They’re very important, especially in homes like these. It’s important to be wise about fire safety.”
Melody was one of 28 participants from the USS John C. Stennis and Naval Hospital Bremerton who felt well-rewarded for braving the morning cold. “People we met were very gracious, friendly, appreciative,” she added.
“We’re always looking for volunteer opportunities. So when this presented itself, we took it,” said Chief Petty Officer Joseph Montes. “There’s a lot of value in community service.”
And there’s no question about the value the smoke alarms will provide. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. A working smoke alarm cuts the risk of death in half.
Today, Mary Hamre couldn’t be happier for her neighbors and was delighted to make some new friends.
“I have never met such wonderful people who would go to bat for others who don’t have it to give and to help make them safe.”