Red Cross worker's heart is in Haiti -- her homeland

By Dawndy Mercer Plank - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Rosalie Joseph is dealing with the devastation in Haiti on a much more personal level. It is her homeland.

She has worked at the American Red Cross for nearly 6 years.

"I was about to stick a donor and I heard 'Haiti had an earthquake' and I glanced at the TV," said Joseph.

Rosalie was in the middle of a typical day when the horrible news about her homeland came across the airwaves. She spent the night trying to reach her father and cousins.

"Last night I was on the phone trying to see if I can get in touch with somebody," said Joseph. "Obviously, we can't."

Her day continues as a Red Cross worker, but her heart is overseas.

"When you have the loved ones and at this point you don't know where they are, that's where the sadness begins," said Joseph.

Even though part of the Red Cross is in Haiti, it's still focused on the needs of South Carolina and that is taking quite a toll on the local chapter.

The Red Cross has faced an unprecedented series of natural disasters and fires in our area recently.

"We have spent close to $60,000 in the past six weeks just in direct costs on these disasters that we've had in the Midlands," said Susan Benesh.

That is 25 percent of the disaster funds budgeted for the entire year. The money for people here at home and overseas, like Haiti, is critically low.

"We are 100 percent volunteer donor driven and we do not get any government support.  All of the money that we raise goes back into our organization," said Benesh. "Ninety-two cents of every dollar raised goes back into direct client services."

Rosalie, though distraught over her family in Haiti, is grateful for her American Red Cross family.

"I feel so proud. I feel so happy," said Joseph trying to thank nearby Red Cross workers. "I feel so, I just thank you guys."

Rosalie is overwhelmed and can't finish. Now, she's asking Americans to pray and to help any way they can.

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