OTTAWA, OH— "We served 995 hot meals on Sunday, including here at the Red Cross shelter and out in the flooded areas," said Ron Deatrick. "The outpouring of support from the community to help their neighbors has just been fantastic!"
Ohio Governor Charles Strickland (l.) congratulates spontaneous Red Cross volunteer Ron Deatrick at the Red Cross kitchen in Ottawa, Ohio.
Photo credit: Shelley Bierwiler, American Red Cross
Deatrick is a Trustee for the Trinity United Methodist Church and a spontaneous volunteer to the Red Cross disaster relief operation in Ottawa. Since the Blanchard River overflowed its banks and flooded much of the city he has been supervising the mass feeding of flood residents evacuated from their homes, emergency workers and Red Cross workers. Every day from 5:30 in the morning until 11:00 at night Deatrick has been in the church kitchen at the Trinity church planning, cooking and overseeing meal service.
"Now that the flood waters have receded and people are able to get back to their homes to begin the long, hard job of cleaning up, we have started to send the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) from the chapter to the affected neighborhoods twice a day with hot meals," he continued. "We served 290 meals on Sunday from the ERV. Tomorrow, the Red Cross ERV will be joined by a Salvation Army truck and I'll send one to the west side and the other to the east side for the noon meal, and then reverse their routes for the evening meal."
Red Cross volunteer Ron Deatrick hard at work at the Ottawa Red Cross kitchen.
Photo credit: Allen Crabtree, American Red Cross
Deatrick explained that his kitchen has been receiving food and supplies from the Red Cross and several community organizations partnered with the Red Cross, such as the Salvation Army, the Western Ohio Food Bank, local churches, and several local businesses including Wal-Mart. His kitchen crew of six to eight volunteers come from the town and local churches, and is as committed to helping their neighbors in their time of need as their boss.
Ohio Governor Charles Strickland visited the Red Cross disaster relief operation in Ottawa on Sunday. In recognition of the great job Deatrick and his kitchen crew have been doing the Governor thanked him for his dedication and his spontaneous act of kindness.
What the Governor and Deatrick's fellow workers didn't realize is that Deatrick also suffered a loss to his own property during the flooding. His apartment building at North Walnut Street was flooded when the river rose. The basement apartment was submerged in eight feet of water, and the water was knee-deep in the first floor. Only the second floor apartment escaped undamaged. While most anyone else would have concentrated on cleaning up their own loss, Deatrick never faltered from his disaster relief work at the kitchen.
"I am a firm believer that we receive blessings in direct relation to what we give," he said. "Today, a group from St. Mary's Soccer team showed up at my apartment and cleaned out everything that had been damaged. They just did this because I was a neighbor that needed help. I am truly blessed, and I am now free to continue working here at the Red Cross kitchen. That's what disaster relief is all about, isn't it? Helping one another."
Deatrick added "My team and I will be here as long as we're needed, just like the Red Cross."
Allen Crabtree is a volunteer from the Southern Maine Chapter of the American Red Cross and lives in Sebago, Maine where he is a writer, antiquarian book dealer, blueberry farmer, Chair of the town Board of Selectman, and volunteer fire fighter.
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.