Tuesday, February 22, 2011

“The Red Cross gave me the best treatment of my life.”

On a cold night in December, Dennis Ryan, a resident on Elmhurst, New York, awoke to the buzzing of his apartment bell. When he opened his door, whoever had buzzed was gone. To Dennis’s surprise, “In came black and grey smoke like you wouldn’t believe.”

Dennis started to choke. He rushed to the window and drew a breath of fresh air, then ran out into the hallway and down six flights of stairs through the heavy smoke. As Dennis ran, he banged so hard on sleeping neighbors’ doors that he broke his knuckle. “I saved three people from three different apartments,” he said with pride.

After his escape, Red Cross responders took Dennis to the reception center the Chapter had opened at a nearby school. There, they gave him sandwiches and coffee, funds for replacement food and clothing, and arranged for an emergency stay at a local hotel. “What these people do is amazing,” said Dennis of the Red Cross. “They do it from the goodness of their hearts one hundred percent.”

Subsequently, Dennis came to Chapter headquarters in Manhattan where he worked one-on-one with a Red Cross caseworker, who referred him to an agency that could help him secure longer-term housing. “The Red Cross gave me the best treatment of my life,” said Dennis. “I want to thank everyone from the Red Cross who helped me.”

Dennis Ryan, Elmhurst, NY

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