It's been ten years since Dionne Sowell lost her four-year-old son in a massive house fire. Today, the local mother is trying to help others deal with similar tragedies as a Red Cross volunteer.
"It can happen to anybody," said Sowell. "And just to know I can lend a helping hand or a hug or a teddy bear to a child, it's just a blessing."
Sowell is one of more than a hundred volunteers for the organization's Rock River Chapter. The nonprofit helps families after disasters like the one that took Sowell's son.
"Just to have people stand next to them and for them to look over and say, 'Thank you so much, just for being here,' they're very appreciative," said chapter director Linda Parker.
Since July, Sowell's responded to five of the 40 house fires in the area.
"My heart goes out because when you're in a situation where you lose someone that's dear to you, or that when you care about people, and you just go out and see that, it just makes me want to give back."
She remembered a time when she had to console a woman who lost everything in a fire.
"For us intervening then, and them getting to talk to us, it was a blessing," said Sowell. "The lady just cried and I gave her a big hug and told her it would be OK, you know, you can get past it."
Although Sowell will never forget what happened to her son, she said she finds comfort in helping others.