Local Red Cross volunteer remembers helping California wildfire victims

Local Red Cross volunteer remembers helping California wildfire victims
Shreveport Red Cross volunteer returns from deployment in California for wildfire aid.

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - From hurricanes to wildfires, when natural disasters strike Red cross volunteers leap into action, including the chapters in the ArkLaTex.

Near the end of December, Milam Capes embarked on his first deployment with the Red Cross to help with sheltering efforts in California following wildfires.

Red Cross volunteer Milam Capes returns from deployment in California.
Red Cross volunteer Milam Capes returns from deployment in California.

Capes left Shreveport and spent two weeks in Chico, California, giving up his Christmas and News Year’s holiday.

“These people are currently living in a shelter without a home,” Capes said. “They don’t have anything for themselves. All they have is what the Red Cross and others provide. They didn’t get a Christmas, why should I?”

One of the roughest hit areas was Paradise, California. CBS news reports the Camp Fire killed, “at least 86 people and destroyed 14,000 homes in the town and nearby communities.”

Several of the volunteers viewed what was left of the town. Capes described it as devastating. One thing he distinctly remembers was the emotions of the victims.

Despite the awful traumatic event, many expressed great gratitude for their service.

Reliving his experiences in California was not all chaotic images. He expressed moments of laughter and one image among the dozens of selfies and fond memories sheds a ray of hope. An image of a rainbow beaming over his camp.

He said it supplied staff members with a sense of purpose and confidence to continue their work helping broken communities rebuild form the ashes.

“It gave us hope to keep going. It shined over our shelter,” he said. “They’re in shelters, we’re staying in a shelter too. We’re no different than they are just because we’re the Red Cross.”

That sense of humility and selflessness is key when called to serve and help others.

When asked if he’d returned to California — he said yes.

If you would like to help in wildfire relief efforts or other initiative, you can click here.

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