Red Cross of the Lowcountry returns after fire call

Red Cross of the Lowcountry returns after fire call

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - Friday, a group of American Red Cross volunteers returned home to Bluffton after tending to the needs of elderly patients left homeless after a fire tore through their Charleston apartment building.

1,800 prepared meals, 100 comfort kits distributed and 78 elderly people left with no place to go after a fire rips through an assisted living building.

"Most of the people in the complex were elderly, they had special needs. We had a lot of wheel chairs and walkers," said American Red Cross Shelter Manager Beckie Bowie.

The American Red Cross of the Lowcountry wasted no time sending volunteers dozens of miles away to set up shelter.

"You drop what you're doing and you go. We left Bluffton at 4:30 in the morning to start a day shift at 7 in the morning. We relieved the night shift from the day before and immediately went to work," said Bowie.

And the work for the Red Cross volunteers was non-stop over the three days, making sure all their clients were taken care of. But for the volunteers, the hard work was worth it.

"It's not easy, it's not easy physically, it's not easy mentally but you come away with the best feeling in the world because you helped someone," said Bowie.

"When I see people in need, they were more important than what I had to do at home. I get pleasure out of helping people. I always say if I don't get something better out what I'm giving, I shouldn't be doing it," said American Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator Ila Shapiro.

But the American Red Cross wasn't the only one helping those in need. The volunteers say a lot of the emotional support came from the displaced themselves.

"If they saw somebody in need they were there ready to help them. I saw a couple of them cry. They would put their arms around them and just hold them and reassure them that everything will be okay," said Shapiro.

The residents were given the okay Thursday night to return to the place they call home.

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