Story and photos by Cindy Huge/Red Cross Public Affairs
Debra Rohatsch loves to swim daily in her community pool, and that is where she met a new friend and neighbor who volunteers with the American Red Cross. As the two women swam and talked, Debra became more interested in working with an organization that helps those who are affected by disasters. She felt this would be the perfect fit for her now that she is retired and has time to give back to her community.
“I went home and immediately signed up, on redcross.org to volunteer. A few days later I was called and completed all the necessary steps and was informed of the classes that I need to take online.”
With coaxing from her neighbor and her desire to contribute in a new way to help those in need across the nation, Rohatsch made herself available for local and national disasters. A few days later, she was called to assist a family who just experienced a home fire in Bakersfield.
“I never expected the emotions I felt as I walked up and saw someone’s home gone. I am so thankful that I had the training and opportunity to be there to help this family and to be able to provide them comfort and hope.”
Rohatsch now has her disaster bags packed to respond locally or nationally wherever and whenever she is needed. Her hope is that others will take that first step and sign up to become a volunteer. With peak wildfire season approaching, trained volunteers are needed to help their neighbors affected by disasters locally and across the states.