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The Miami Red Cross:

A family loses their home in a re. A mother sees her son o to wa . A Holocaust survivor learns of his mother s fate. A young man realizes his dream of helping others...

at first glance, these sto- ries seem completely unre- lated. But the people at the center of these stories are all tied together by a few common threads: they were all touched by the compas- sionate, humanitarian ef- forts of the american Red cross Greater Miami & The keys.

each year, the ameri- can Red cross Greater Miami & The keys helps hundreds of families that are forced to leave their homes because of a fire. in July 2009, David comption and chevellanie Bean came home from a family trip to find firefighters battling a fire at their North Miami home. immediately, Red cross volunteers, wearing the red and white disaster

relief vests, gave the hear- ing-impaired family a place to stay and helped meet their immediate needs for food, clothes and medicine.

“it’s been my first time having anything to do with the Red cross and i feel so blessed because i have nothing right now and they’ve willingly helped us,” compton said through an interpreter. “They’ve made the burden lighter.”

Volunteers worked close- ly with compton, Bean and their roommates to make sure they were comfortable after the fire. While wak- ing up in the middle of the night to help strangers may not be everyone’s calling, Red cross volunteers take their responsibility to heart, because their strong sense

of compassion prevents them from allowing others to suffer.

“after a fire, people lose their hope. i’m there to bring them hope. That’s an awesome feeling,” said Michael Rivera, a long- time american Red cross Greater Miami & The keys volunteer.

it was that same sense of hope that made Paul Gast reach out to the american Red cross. after nearly 60 years of not knowing his mother’s fate and hoping she was not killed in a grue- some way, the 78-year-old holocaust survivor finally felt it was the time to know.

Red cross volunteers were able to research World

War ii records held by oth- er Red cross Societies in europe to give Mr. Gast an answer.

“The Germans kept ter- rific records,” Mr. Gast said. “She died of a heart attack on October 23, 1945 at 10 a.m. and she was cremated. in a way, i’m happier she died a natural death.

“i’m grateful for the help of the Red cross. it put me at ease knowing the day and hour she died,” Mr. Gast said.

and today, the american Red cross Greater Miami & The keys is once again gearing up for its popular Stockings for the Troops program, which sends hol- iday stockings filled with

Red Crossers educate children in the Florida Keys about hurricane preparedness at Naval Air Station Key West. International Life Magazine

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