Most people know the Red Cross responds to major disasters, but you may not know that the Red Cross responds to an emergency every 8 minutes. Visibility implementation consultant Paul Hoy is a Red Cross Disaster Services Volunteer and has responded to over 300 house fires, blizzards, tornados, terrorist attacks, and hurricanes over the last 6 years, assisting literally thousands of displaced residents!
Paul joined the Massachusetts Region Disaster Action Team in August of 2016. He serves as a DAT Captain responding to fires throughout eastern Massachusetts. While on scene, Paul works with victims who have literally lost everything. In addition to emotional support, he provides financial assistance with funds for hotel stays, replacement clothing and food. Paul is also part of six person Regional Disaster Response Management Team (DRMT) that responds to incidents across the US. The demand for Red Cross services is huge. Two weeks ago, Paul responded to 3 back-to-back multi-alarm fires in Boston assisting 61 people from 26 families!
He has many strong emotional memories of the people he has assisted. While working on a mobile feeding team serving some of the hardest hit areas in NYC after Hurricane Sandy, he was met by one woman who whispered “I prayed that you would come, and you did.” His immediate reaction was, “If I am the answer to your prayers, the situation is worse than we thought!” Clients develop a strong attachment during a response. One eighty-two year old woman who had just been burned out of her house looked to Paul for guidance before taking any actions. The State Fire Marshall approached Paul and asked, “Can you please tell her it’s ok to talk to me? She threw me out and said I had to check with you!”
Paul describes his experiences as incredibly rewarding, stating “I get tremendous gratification out of providing immediate comfort and assistance to people having the worst day of their lives. I work with people who don’t know what their next step will be and provide them with a safe hotel room, funds so that they can get food and clothes for their children, a warm hug, and hope – it doesn’t get any more real and immediate than that.
Paul was recently honored during the Red Cross of Massachusetts annual Heroes Breakfast as a “Life Saving Hero”. While returning from a house fire he came upon a car accident and performed CPR on the driver. Although unsuccessful in his resuscitation efforts, he was recognized for his training and willingness to assist strangers in need.
Visibility is proud to have Paul on its team!