Hi, my name is Greg, and I'm an AmeriCorps member for the American Red Cross. On November 4, 2018, I will be running in the New York City Marathon to raise money and awareness for this amazing humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and education for communities right here in the United States, as well as all over the world. In 2009, while living in Mt. Vernon, NY at my mother's house, along with the rest of my family which included my then 4-year-old daughter, Taylor, I experienced a home fire where my home of over 20 years completely burnt down and we lost everything. While I'm so thankful no one was hurt, this was a difficult time for me and my family. After rushing home in a panic concerned for the safety of my family, I arrived to witness my house engulfed in flames. I don't remember many things from that night, but I do remember how bittersweet it was to see the faces of my family, as well as my daughter's eyes filled with tears. It was such a vulnerable and helpless feeling to watch everything I own go up in flames, as my neighbors watched. Amidst all this confusion and chaos, I remember a small woman in a Red Cross shirt approached me, and offered us relief; after she assessed the circumstances and asked me a couple of questions, she provided my family with a hotel for that night and a cash card with several hundred dollars on it. It was here where I witnessed first hand what I've come to learn is just one of the many needed services that the American Red Cross provides. This service helped me and my family immensely, as it took some time to access our insurance benefits; the Red Cross provided us with shelter, clothing and food in the interim. Now, 9 years later, as an AmeriCorps member at the Red Cross, I am able to serve in various roles within the organization. As a Red Cross Responder, just like the small woman in a Red Cross shirt who helped me and my family when we experienced that home-fire 9 years ago, I have been able to provide emergency relief to people in the community experiencing home fires, vacates, and other weather related incidents. I also serve in the Individual and Community Preparedness Department, where we have programs which concentrate on preventing homefires, such as the Red Cross Sound the Alarm program, where we canvass at-risk communities, installing free smoke alarms in homes, while providing fire safety education to each resident, as well as my favorite Red Cross program, The Pillowcase Project, where we visit elementary schools to teach children the importance of having a go-bag, as well as coping skills to help them deal with emergency situations, like home fires and hurricanes. I truly believe the American Red Cross is making a positive impact in our communities. Please support me as I Run for the Red to raise money to help the American Red Cross sustain these invaluable services. My goal is to raise $4,000 by Novemeber 4th, 2018.
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