Friday, June 21, 2013

Red Cross counselors comfort Black Forest residents

Story by Patricia Kemp

Red Cross grief and trauma counselor John St. Clair could sense the tension behind the sunglasses that shielded Jennifer Schradel’s eyes.

“How are you doing? Are you sleeping?” he asked.

St. Clair chatted through the car window with Jennifer and her husband John June 18 when they drove to the Red Cross aid station at School in the Woods on Vollmer Road. Black Forest residents can find resources to help them recover from the wildfire there. Counselors are on site to check in with residents and offer support.

Jennifer told St. Clair the last week has been difficult for her family. The couple is living in a RV with their 19-month-old and 6-month-old infants on her parent’s driveway. When Jennifer saw the blue sky flicker between orange flames and black smoke, she and John quickly gathered their two babies, a special needs adult they are caring for, and their two poodles.

St. Clair assured Jennifer she did the right thing got everyone out. The Red Cross has had 517 health and mental health contacts since the fire destroyed hundreds of homes. Counselors continue to offer comfort to residents at three Red Cross aid stations in the neighborhood.

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