Any normal week, you'll find Greg Bruce doing his job at University Medical Center. He says, "Each quarter we have a training meeting. I kicked that off this morning and introduced myself. I said 'I'm Greg Bruce and I still work at UMC.'" Over the past week, Bruce, Lubbock's Red Cross Chairman, slept only a few hours each night and spent every hour of every day assisting those who need him... hurricane victims. He doesn't even get paid for it, but if you think Bruce will pat himself on the back, think again. He'll only say, "We have relied on the thousands of volunteers who put in thousands of man hours to make this a success. It's an effort the entire community and region can be proud of."
It's also hard to get Assistant Police Chief/Incident Commander Tom Mann to take any credit. He admits it's long hours, "But others on the ground are doing lots of work to get things done. Those are the guys making things happen. And it's the same sentiment for Mann's co-worker, Assistant Chief Thomas Esparza. Ask Esparza if he'd do it all over again and he says, "No doubt. That's what our job is all about. We've really enjoyed having them here. We've had a great time with them, but they're ready to go home."
All three men say it's bittersweet to see the evacuees go, but they leave behind something that is here for good. Bruce explains, "It's probably one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Mann adds, "It's the most rewarding thing I've been involved in, a once in a lifetime event."
For some, the volunteer effort will continue outside of Lubbock. A number of game wardens from the Lubbock area left for the Gulf Coast Tuesday morning and a team of Sheriff's deputies are already there providing relief.
|Lubbock Red Cross|