A rough day for a response volunteer

mrobert_121.jpgVolunteer André Robert has participated in many major Red Cross responses, including the train explosion in Lac-Mégantic and the Syrian refugee arrival, and has worked for various NGOs over the course of his career.

You could say he’s seen it all! However, when he was called in to help people affected by the spring floods in Saint-André-d’Argenteuil, he had somewhat of a rough day and gave us a candid account:

That morning, I was the first to arrive at the reception and information centre. A number of people who were forced to evacuate their homes were lining up outside the door. Some of them were in quite a state, and others had to get back to work as quickly as possible.

Volunteering in ArgenteuilGoing through a disaster like a flood can be very emotionally draining, and Red Cross volunteers are used to lending an ear and supporting people through these tough times. Other volunteers came to give us a hand throughout the morning, since people just kept on coming.

One by one, they left feeling somewhat relieved and grateful. Those who had been unable to grab the essentials when the water levels rose rapidly in their homes received vouchers for lodging, food and clothing. I finally managed to have lunch around 5 p.m., when there were only a few people left to help. A new team of volunteers took over while I ate the rest of my sandwich.

andre2.jpgBefore leaving, I stopped to speak to a young man who had suffered a panic attack that very morning. He was out on the street with his three dogs, no means of transportation and a single pair of soggy shoes. On top of it all, he hadn’t eaten for a while. ‘The first thing I’m going to buy is some new shoes,’ he told me, once he had collected himself.

I went home, reflecting on the day I’d had and tearing up, happy to have had the chance to have such a ‘rough’ day!”

André Robert is one of the hundreds of volunteers that have been mobilized to help the people affected by Spring floods across Canada.

Visit our website to learn more about our response and volunteering at the Red Cross. 

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