Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Red Cross Month Volunteer Profile: Deepak Shenoy

by Stan Frank 

For over 60 years, the President of the United States has designated March as American Red Cross Month. It is a month when we celebrate our volunteers and supporters who make the mission of the Red Cross a reality.

This month, we are taking a moment to celebrate the volunteers who raised their hands in 2017 to support an unprecedented year of disasters across the country and around the world. From natural catastrophes including hurricanes and floods to devastating wildfires and a tragic mass shooting, the Greater New York Region of the American Red Cross deployed more than 300 volunteers to deliver hope and help during a remarkable time.

We asked several volunteers to share some of their deployment experiences. Today we hear from Deepak Shenoy

What first motivated you to become a Red Cross volunteer?
Deepak (near right) and his team
I became a Red Cross Volunteer around the time Hurricane Harvey and Irma were on the verge of hitting us. One of my good friends lives in Florida with her son and she messaged me the night before the Hurricane hit that she is sending me the text as a 'good bye' since she didn't know what  her state was going to be after the Hurricane. She didn’t know if she was even going to be alive. I read her message the next morning and that message made me feel extremely helpless. That’s when I decided that I had to do something to help. I signed up with the Red Cross that same afternoon.

How many times have you been deployed, and where?

My deployment to Sacramento, California for the wild fire there was my first and only deployment to date. It was very memorable and it was my first deployment. Houses had been burned to the ground, animals had been killed, people’s lives and livelihood were destroyed, and yet I came across people who despite all odds were smiling, living and treating each other like family and that is something I will never forget.

What was your mission? What did you do on a daily basis?

My mission was to help the people as much as possible and to make myself useful to the community I was deployed to serve. I was in a group of six Red Cross volunteers including Jamie, Khaled, and me (DES Team), and Skip and Sage (Emergency Response Vehicle Team). Every morning we would load up our box trucks with supplies and drive to Bangor and/or Luma Rica to hand out supplies to whomever needed help. At the end of the day we would drive back to the warehouse, load up the trucks again, and help out with whatever else the warehouse manager needed us to do.
The team: Jamie, Sage, Skip, Mike, Khaled and Deepak.

What obstacles did you face?

The biggest obstacle we faced was living away from our families. However, the obstacles we faced were minuscule compared to the mountain of obstacles the locals faced from the fire and destruction! We would always return back to our respective homes and resume life from where we had left off but, unfortunately, for the people living there, that was their lives.

Can you tell us what touched you the most during your deployment?

The thing that touched me the most during my deployment was people’s resilience. Their willingness to work together to ensure everyone was safe and to help each other by working together as a community was extremely noteworthy. It was an example of humanity coming together to face a common obstacle. Everyone I spoke with knew what they were facing and what it meant for their future, but they still smiled, helped out their neighbors, and bravely survived a disaster.

Thank you Deepak for sharing your experience and for traveling to California in October 2017 to deliver the mission of the American Red Cross. We are grateful for your service. #RedCrossMonth

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