Sue Hassmiller has been blogging from the tornado-damaged area in Alabama, where she’s volunteering for the Red Cross. This and all other posts in this series are collected on a separate page for easy reference.—JM, senior editor/blog editor
What an honor and privilege it is to help another human being—that’s how we all feel being here. There is no greater gift. Period. And we love to share our stories—including those that break our heart, especially those that break our heart. That’s what we do: we do our work and then we share our stories—our therapy, if you will. And we’re like kids at Christmas with what we are able to do for people, comparing the gifts we were able to give and reactions to those gifts.
Today, because of the gift of money from Red Cross donors, I was able to take an inconsolable 21-year-old, who was swept up into the sky holding onto her baby for dear life, whose hard landing back to the ground caused six broken ribs, a torn knee, a black eye, and a broken collarbone—and now pneumonia—and provide her with a doctor’s visit, filled prescriptions, food, and gas money to get to her doctor’s appointments and pick up her baby (who is doing well) from her boyfriend’s house many miles away. These are all the things we take for granted, but for her, on this day, luxuries.
At the end of two hours she was able to smile and ask how she would ever repay me and this organization called the Red Cross. And I said simply, “pay it forward.” She hugged me tightly, groaned from the pain of her broken ribs, and said she would. And I know she will.