Salisbury native, Red Cross volunteer heads to Texas to help with disaster relief

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 2, 2015

By Shavonne Walker

Daniel Michael spent 17 years as a firefighter with both Granite Quarry and East Spencer until a back injury following a 2005 car crash sidelined him. He had to give up firefighting and emergency response, but for the last 2 1/2 years has answered the call to a different type of response — disaster relief for the American Red Cross.

The Salisbury native will head to Houston to assist local efforts in Texas following several storms and flooding that inundated the area. He expects to be deployed for 14 days, but says that could turn into 21, if he is needed elsewhere or for a longer period of time in Houston.

“I feel fortunate enough to go. I want to be able to meet our counterparts and help be the calm for the people there,” Michael said.

While in Houston, he’ll help clients obtain the necessary assistance including temporary housing and other resources. Michael has knowledge of a pilot program established by the Red Cross and the Houston area needs experienced people who are trained in the program.

Monica Bruns, a disaster program specialist with the Hanford Dole Chapter, said the Red Cross organization has sent people from Cabarrus, Rowan, Stanly, and Union counties to hard-hit areas.

Michael has talked with his wife and two children, who are 16 and 14 years old. He said they understand his task is to help those hit by the storms. Michael said he’ll keep up with his family while he is gone through the video-calling phone app, FaceTime. Michael and his wife talked about possible deployment for disaster relief before he became a Red Cross volunteer.

“If it wasn’t for their support and the team members here, I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Michael said.

He began with the Red Cross after he was looking for something to do after years in the fire service. Michael went through the application process and soon after, began volunteering.

In 2005, he was returning home from work at the fire department and swerved to miss a deer. He lost control of his vehicle after it ran off the soft shoulder of the road. He struck a telephone pole and injured his back. Michael’s injuries eventually left him with damage to a number of discs. He had spinal fusion surgery in 2012 and in December 2013 had a spine stimulator placed.

He admits some days are harder than others and there are some limitations, but Michael said he enjoys volunteering.

Donations to the Red Cross can be made via a few different options that include by visiting, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or  text 90999 with the word REDCROSS to make a $10 donation. Donations can be earmarked for a specific cause or location.

For more information about the local Hanford Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross, call 704-633-3854.