The Red Cross makes average, everyday people heroes. Nothing shows that fact more clearly than the 1972 Rapid City flood.
The Black Hills chapter of the Red Cross put out a plea on the radio asking for volunteers to help them after Rapid Creek flooded. And the response was great.
“So many people helped out during that time,” Red Cross regional development coordinator Michele Lewis said. “We received so many letters from people who weren’t in the area, but still wanted to help out.”
Lewis says the Red Cross played a major role in finding missing people. She calls this job ‘welfare checks,’ where volunteers would canvas Rapid City those reported missing.
“A part of the Red Crosses job after the flood was to go around and check on people to find out where they were,” Lewis said.
The Red Cross also spent a lot of time providing services to flood victims free of charge. Some of those services include, providing meals, shelter and medical assistance to those in need.
“It was definitely a difficult time for the people of Rapid City,” Lewis said.
Although it’s the Red Cross' job to response when disasters happen, it’s also their job to prepare people for those unpredictable events.
“We want to remind people of the reality of an event like this,” Lewis said.
So as part of her job, Lewis reminds people to be ready, to have a plan and be able to answer the question, where will you go when disaster strikes.
The Red Cross is always willing to help families make a plan of action. And in Rapid City, Lewis says that’s vital to do.
“You come to Rapid City and see the beauty, but we need to guard that parkway. Nobody should build in the flood way,” Lewis said. “And we need to be ready for something like this to happen again.”
The Black Hills chapter of the Red Cross is at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., answering any questions you might have about preparing for a disaster.