Hope is beautiful.

hopeWhen you read the title of this post, I want you to read it like this–Hope is beautiful, period. No if, and, or but about it. It just is. The definition of hope is; to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true.

During the immediate hours after disaster, such as home fires, flooding, or a devastating tornado, there is a loss of hope. “I didn’t know what to do” and “we lost everything” and “there was no hope” are things I hear from families who have survived a disaster. Sadly, there is loss of life in addition to the loss of property in some of those disasters.

Every day, there are people who give their time, talents, and money to help those in need. Whether it is by responding to a house fire in the middle of the night, doing casework in the office, or even raising money; people are giving hope to one another. I have recently had the opportunity to witness people giving the beautiful gift of hope. I have been inspired over and over and I want to share that inspiration with you.

As many of you know, and have been part of, we are working hard in southern Missouri to educate our high-risk communities on home fire prevention and to provide as many people as possible with the tools to help them be safe. As part of the National Home Fire Prevention campaign we have been tasked to install 1000 smoke alarms in the Western Region, which includes the 29 counties of the Red Cross of Southern Missouri. Seven times a day, someone in this country dies in a home fire; locally we have seen multiple fatality fires in just the last three months—even one is too many. The goal of the nationwide Red Cross campaign is to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years.

I want to take a moment to say thank you to KY3 for their generous financial gift and support of the Red Cross in our efforts to prevent and alleviate human suffering through the Home Fire Prevention Campaign. Each outreach/canvassing event costs approximately $1,000 to host and with the gift of $10,000 from KY3 we will reach 10 high-risk neighborhoods this year. It is through this outreach that we will be able to provide installation of the 1,000 smoke alarms for families who are unable to afford this valuable safety feature for themselves.

Red Cross HFP 2014On December 6, 2014 I was proud to be a part of the canvassing event at BYKOTA Mobile Home Park in the Joplin area. Alongside members of the Redings Mill Fire Department, Red Cross volunteers went door to door talking with families and providing them not only the information about fire safety, but an opportunity to have smoke alarms installed that day. Our efforts resulted in the installation of 40 smoke alarms and 18 carbon monoxide detectors making 22 homes safer for the families in that neighborhood. In the past 60 days this specific neighborhood has had two home fires, both of which had no working smoke alarm according to Assistant Chief Metcalf of the Redings Mill Fire Department.

I am confident our efforts have already saved lives. During one installation of a carbon monoxide detector, the alarm began to alert immediately after being put in place. The firefighter and his partner, who had just installed the alarm, began an immediate search for the cause of the carbon monoxide leak. They were able to identify the problem and fix it, resulting in the silence of the alarm…and the lives of the family? Saved. That gives me chills to even think about today. What if we had not been there? What if we hadn’t taken the time? To the volunteers who are there, every day, who take the time to care, who give hope; to the donors who give their money to make it possible for the mission of the Red Cross to be alive and well in our community…Thank you! The hope you give is beautiful, period.

In Service,

Nigel Holderby

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