I recently had the opportunity to volunteer with the American Red Cross to support the tornado relief efforts in Mayfield and Calvert City, Ky.
Although I have read stories and viewed pictures of the disaster, I was taken back by the sheer intensity and scale of the damage to people's homes, churches, schools, shops and personal belongings.
Many people have nothing left - their homes, cars, entire city blocks - everything is gone. I was also intensely touched by the outpouring of love, support and hope from the many volunteers and townspeople who I witnessed supporting one another with clean-up efforts, providing food and basic needs and just offering a hug.
Neighbor helping neighbor - no matter where you are from or what demographic you represent.
Disasters like these strike everyone equally. And times like this bring out the best in people.
I worked in one of the American Red Cross donation sorting centers, moving boxes and sorting clothes.
Then I traveled to several Red Cross emergency aid stations, distribution centers, and disaster aid centers to offer support and appreciation to the many local and nationwide volunteers.
It is amazing to see the American Red Cross in action executing logistics and disaster relief, planning for the next phase of disaster recovery and coordinating efforts among dozens of agencies to deliver their mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of disaster.
I saw many residents applying for and receiving funds, supplies, food and temporary housing. The goal was to get as many people settled in their own space in time for Christmas.
I want to thank our GEA employees and our great company, which makes relief efforts like this possible through donations. In times that seem to be the darkest, it shows the true heart of our people.