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Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in August 1992. At the time, it was the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history. Nancy Pelletier was one of many Red Cross volunteers who felt called to do whatever they could to ease the suffering. This is the moving story of the horrendous destruction she witnessed, the grateful people she aided, and the lifelong friends she made.
For the next three days, I could not tear myself away from the TV. The reports were horrifying. I was overwhelmed by Andrew's destruction. I found myself watching the news reports every chance I could. I couldn't sleep at night. Thoughts of what the citizens of South Florida must have been going through consumed me. Two hundred thousand homes had been destroyed. A 20-mile radius had literally been wiped off the face of the earth. Homestead was gone. Florida City was leveled. Twenty-two dead and more were yet to be found. I cried every time I watched the reports. All I could think was: What if it had happened to us?
After working for two months with the American Red Cross on Hurricane Andrew, Nancy Pelletier continued working National Disaster Response whenever time allowed. She received the Clara Barton Award from her local chapter in St. Augustine, Florida. She also did volunteer work at a battered women's shelter, counseling victims of domestic violence. Now semi-retired and living on Cape Cod, she still misses the warm weather in Florida and the many friends she made in the nearly 20 years she spent there, but returned north in 2004 to watch her granddaughter grow up.
I just finished reading Andrew's Angels...... and thoroughly enjoyed it. It sure gave me a better picture of all that the organizations and volunteers do during a national disaster. I don't know how you were able to stay for two months in those conditions, especially with the heat and humidity. A job well done by all, a real learning experience, and quite an adventure.
— Anne Rivard, Leominster, MA
I loved it.
— Diane Malkoski, So. Dartmouth, MA
I really enjoyed this book very much. I found it to be very interesting and informative and have a better understanding of all the hard work the volunteers do on a disaster and how grateful the victims are for their help.
— Deb Fuch, Falmouth, MA
Prior to reading Andrew's Angels: A Common Thread, I had no idea that Hurricane Andrew was the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history before Katrina. Nor did I have any idea what it was like to be a Red Cross volunteer serving in a disaster area. The author's descriptions of the damage are simply heartbreaking. And after reading about the very difficult physical conditions that both the survivors and the Red Cross workers had to endure, I know that I would never have the patience and fortitude to do what the author and so many others did to aid the suffering, traumatized residents of Homestead, Florida.
In short, this book is extremely informative about both the hurricane and the Red Cross. However, it's also deeply personal. Nancy Pelletier is obviously a very caring and generous person, whose best reward for her months of hard work and tremendous stress were a deep sense of accomplishment and the lifelong friendships she made.
I'm glad that photos were included with the text. Ms. Pelletier's descriptions of her fellow workers, their work places, and some of the damage they witnessed were precise and good, but the photos certainly add to the impact of the book. Note that they are in color in the e-book and in black and white in the print version.
— Leonore H. Dvorkin, Denver, CO
"A beautiful story that is beautifully written. Definitely worth the read."
— Marilyn Nofal, St. Augustine, FL
— Cheryl Shaw, Leominster, MA
For more information on Emergency Preparedness, visit this website: redcross.org/prepare.
Andrew's Angels was edited by Leonore H. Dvorkin. David Dvorkin designed the cover and did all the technical work necessary for the publication of the book.
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