ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - - After disasters hit, both big and small, people struggle to deal with the aftermath.
"You may not see them right now, but behind you, you have a team of wonderful volunteers standing with you,” said Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Harold Cubillo.
When huge disasters, like hurricanes and tornadoes occur, American Red Cross isn't far behind. Volunteers are also when smaller tragedies happen.
"We are there to provide comfort. We can assist them in finding a place to stay, we give them a nice warm blanket, and sometimes even hugs. We also have a wonderful team of volunteers who specialize in health services,” said Cubillo.
Following Thursday's fire at The Great Oaks Apartment Complex off Linden Road, residents in the small community must deal with the loss.
"It was a 36 family apartment building that caught fire. While 8 of the units were a total loss, the entire building had to be shut down because of utilities. So, that displaced well over 20 people," said Cherry Valley Firefighter Shaun Branney.
Branney says the department relies on the Red Cross for emotional support during and after a devastating blaze.
"You know, the emergency doesn't stop when the fire is out. There are still a lot of things that have to happen... So, red cross is a huge asset to the fire department. They can come and assist us with that,” said Branney.
One of the victims is an immigrant whose papers were destroyed in the fire. The Red Cross can connect him with the right people to help.
"People are very grateful all the time. Sometimes there are tears, there are smiles exchanged and many hugs,” said Cubillo.
The Red Cross also provides free smoke alarm installation to anyone who may need it, as part of their Sound The Alarm Campaign. You can find the number and more here: https://www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm.html