by Michael Stafford
MIDLAND/ODESSA - Besides firefighters the local Red Cross is usually first on the scene any time there's a local tragedy, or natural disaster.
If a person loses their home, it's red cross officials who are quick to pull out their check ook, but this year it has been overwhelming for them too.
And now, the ones who help are in need of help themselves.
Case in point, Thursday's large fires in Andrews County.
The Red Cross had volunteers who responded quickly to the scene.
They typically set up trucks to feed and give water to evacuees and firefighters. If someone loses their home, the red cross takes care of their short term needs, like food, shelter, and clothing, along with any life-saving medications.
And that doesn't include their typical ''office overhead,'' as they respond to emergencies in 26 West Texas Counties.
"With the number of wildfires we've had, the number of house fires, natural disasters of that nature that have occured this year just to the drought conditions, yes, we have been stretched a little bit financially in order to be able to meet the needs of families who have suffered a disaster," Bob Rice, Executive Director of the American Red Cross, said.
Last year, the Red Cross of West Texas spent almost $600,000 dollars in its budget, and next year's budget could reach about $670,000 dollars.
It's money spent wisely, and red cross works must spend it, just as fast as it comes in.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to make a donation to Red Cross, you can call 432-563-2267.
Those donations are tax deductible.