I met Debbie McKinney, author of Bringing Hope, earlier this year at a local author event at my library. Her book wasn’t ready for review at that point, but when she asked me if I would read it when I was available, I said yes right away. I was so intrigued by her stories of working with the Red Cross doing disaster relief for 9/11 and natural disasters. I wasn’t sure what to expect from her book.
Bringing Hope isn’t exactly a memoir because much of the book is Debbie’s journals from her time in the field helping with disaster relief. I think that made the book even better. She does a little looking back on her experiences over 30+ years with the Red Cross, but most of the book is her daily journals while working in the moment, so it’s very real.
I knew that the Red Cross responded to disasters, and I knew that many people donated money, but beyond the initial incident, I wasn’t exactly sure what was done to help the victims or families of victims (in the case of 9/11) or how the money was used. Debbie worked as a case worker for 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, floods in New Jersey, and Hurricane Sandy. She helped clients obtain money for basic needs, find places to stay, arrange funerals for loved ones, etc. in the weeks and months following these horrific events.
Debbie also worked on a smaller scale as a disaster relief responder for local house fires and other smaller disasters in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She started on the night shift, while working full time in college financial offices. And then she expanded to organizing an entire disaster relief branch of the Red Cross in a more rural county of Wisconsin after moving out of the city.
I learned a lot reading this book, and I think her experiences will inspire many others to get involved. If you enjoy stories of real-life heroes, I recommended Debbie’s book. It’s a fairly quick read that is quite enlightening.
Rating: 3 Stars
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not in any way impact my thoughts/feelings about the book.