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Dear ,


When terrorists attack, tornadoes make homes disappear, or hurricanes have communities tumbling like building blocks, our hearts weep for those in need. We are compelled to help; though most don't know how. I can. I'm trained. Through my volunteering I've gained experiences that will haunt me forever. But, I wasn't expecting the amazing and emotional journey my Red Cross disaster volunteering would take me on.


Bringing Hope: A Disaster Relief Journey is my story as a volunteer of what I faced after the attacks on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and more. My book has been described as "engaging, honest, and heartfelt." This memoir is a personal account of the path I took, and the daily journals I kept, bringing a small measure of hope to one family at a time after nature or man has pulled the rug out from under them. It is a realistic snapshot of what it’s like to be a volunteer at the epicenter of national disasters. As our weather worsens and storms become more destructive, there is a need every day for more volunteers who are prepared and ready. I hope my story will inspire others to step into the rewarding world of helping people at a time of crises in their lives.


After 9/11 I spent three weeks in Washington, D.C. speaking with families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks. After Hurricane Katrina I helped families begin their recovery in Mississippi. Once Hurricane Sandy turned northeast and recovery began I helped families and individuals in New York, including a man who lost his home, leg prosthesis, motorized wheelchair, and wife in one night. This is not the story of the families that I have assisted, although there are brief glimpses into what they were faced with; it is the story of my journey as a volunteer.


This 62,000 word memoir gives insight into the unique and unknown world of disaster volunteering based on my twenty years with the American Red Cross. I graduated from Marquette University majoring in Interpersonal Communication, which gave me the skills needed to traverse many difficult emotional situations. My story "One Phone Call Makes A Difference" is published in Stories of Service by CSA Sponsored Ministries. It is a short story of my volunteer work after 9/11 in Washington. For many years I was a Disaster Action Team leader responding to local fires. I am also a past board member and served on a state disaster consortium with the Red Cross.


My book has already been vetted by the National office of the American Red Cross. It has been critiqued and has gone through professional editorial review. I appreciate your serious consideration of my unique memoir.



Debbie McKinney



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