Red Cross Caseworker Becomes Hero for Iraqi Refugee

Story by Melissa Seibert, Northeast Ohio Region, Regional Manager

My story is sweet and to the point. Barb Slator, another employee at the local chapter, and myself have worked for a total of sixteen years on Restoring Family Links casework. Recently, we had what seemed like a difficult certificate of detention case. After waiting for months for the client’s certificate, we finally received the documentation and went to deliver it to him. I called the number listed for the client and the answer I received was not what I wanted to hear: the operated said that the number I was calling was disconnected. There was address information for the client, but since the phone was out of service, I feared that this information might also be old.

I started composing a letter to send to the client, and one of our volunteers who was passing by, Diane, commented on how worried the client must be about his paperwork because of the time it took for the certificate of detention to be issued. As we shared in our sympathy for the inquirer, Diane asked what his name is. When I responded, she exclaimed, “I know the inquirer! He lives in the apartment building across from me!” As we shared in our excitement, I looked at her and asked her to let him know that his papers were here.

The next morning, the inquirer came into the office, eyes filled with tears and said, “You are wonderful. I have been waiting on my record request for some time. I am so happy that you found me through your volunteer.” I thought how lucky we were that the volunteer knew the inquirer since the address information might have been wrong and it could have taken a long time to relocate the client. This all shows that working with the Restoring Family Links team is truly a group effort with everyone working to help our clients. I was able to give our client his papers and we all cried tears of joy as he took his papers and celebrated!

As a caseworker for RFL, it is times like this that are the true reward, when you look at the face of the client and they say to you, “Thanks to Red Cross, my Hero.”