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  • Writer's pictureNEIA Red Cross

Red Cross shelter resident becomes Red Cross volunteer

By Diane Weber

The Quiroz family recently moved to Hawarden, Iowa, to live and work with their cousin. After only eight days there, severe flooding destroyed their home and Benjamin Quiroz's new job. The family saught safety at the Red Cross shelter in Hawarden.

“We are so grateful to be here in the shelter with the Red Cross,” said Leslie Quiroz. “It was so sudden that we didn’t have time to get any of our clothes when the emergency responder knocked on our door.”

Photo: The Quiroz family meet with Jessica Gutierrez, Latino Engagement Lead with the Red Cross. The family (left to right) include Katherine, the father Benjamin, Alexander, and Leslie.

Leslie Quiroz said that all their needs were being met at the shelter except her 11-year-old son, Alexander, needed his asthma treatment.

“We don’t have his medicine,” Leslie Quiroz said. “And we don’t have his nebulizer.”

When Jessica Gutierrez, Red Cross Community Engagement and Partnership Manager for the Nebraska-Iowa Region, learned about the family, she reached out to Promise Community Health who agreed to treat the young boy.

The Quiroz’s teenaged daughter, Katherine, has been quite impressed by the Red Cross work she has observed. The 16-year-old said that she wanted to volunteer with the Red Cross, and Gutierrez helped her complete her online application. Sporting her new Red Cross T-shirt, she is eager to get started volunteering.  

It’s official! Red Cross Latino Engagement Team Lead Jessica Gutierrez (pictured above with Katherine) walk 16-year-old Katherine Quiroz through the steps to become an official volunteer.

“I just have a passion to help,” she said. “And the Red Cross has a passion to help, so I want to join.”

With the loss of their home, all of their belongings and even their workplace, the family is concerned about their next steps. They said they are eager to work with the Red Cross Shelter Transition Team to see what opportunities are available to them as they face the challenges ahead.

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