Life’s Most Difficult Season

Story by Cindy Huge, Public Affairs Volunteer

Rarely do I cry when interviewing an evacuated resident, but today I found myself shedding a few tears.

Life recently for Nina Baetz has been very difficult. Her daughter, who was terminally ill, passed away just a few days prior to the mandatory evacuation orders for the fast-moving French Fire. “Her last words to me were ‘I love you’ and now I am unable to even plan a funeral for her. I moved back to California a few years ago to care for her and now the possibility of losing my home along with her passing has been too much to think about,” said Baetz.

“I am so grateful for the care the Red Cross is giving me during the most difficult season of my life.”

To pass the time at the shelter, Baetz crochets blankets and potholders. “I like to keep busy, and crocheting is my favorite hobby. When I was seven years old, a neighbor taught me how to make blankets and I have been doing so ever since.” She since has passed out crocheted potholders to volunteers with instructions to clean our dishes with them.

Quite skilled at using her cell phone, Baetz signed up for Ready Kern alerts. When the notification came to evacuate, she grabbed her large bag of yarn, the blankets she made for her late husband, along with her beloved dog Rebel and headed to the American Red Cross Shelter.

When she arrived she was worried about where she would stay because Rebel had never been in a kennel before. Her number one priority was that Rebel was comfortable. Red Cross volunteers checked her into the shelter and connected her with the resources the animal services organization was providing.

“I have such faith in the Red Cross. My brother was shot and wounded in WWII and the Red Cross helped my mother travel from Florida to the Veterans Hospital in Georgia. My family will never forget how kind everyone was to us.”

Currently you can find Nina crocheting at the entrance of the shelter where she can keep an eye on Rebel and stay cool in the air-conditioned lobby.

“Red Cross is a wonderful organization, and I am so very grateful for the comfort and care they are giving me during the most difficult season of my life.”

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