TALLAHASSEE, FL (October 17, 2018) – Emotional and spiritual care is a unique and valued component of The Salvation Army’s emergency response. In times of crisis, The Salvation Army utilizes trained personnel to provide comfort to rescue workers and disaster survivors.
The Salvation Army is partnering with Therapy Dogs International (TDI) to support serving people impacted by Hurricane Michael, including displaced families and first responders from the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) in Tallahassee.
Dr. Elizabeth Blount is a local veterinarian in Tallahassee as well as a volunteer with TDI, which is a volunteer-based organization that provides therapy dogs to individuals in vulnerable situations such as disasters, hospitals, and nursing homes.
After receiving an email requesting therapy dogs to support The Salvation Army’s Incident Command service area for Tallahassee, Dr. Blount had a personal incentive to support this emergency response with her therapy dogs, golden retrievers Gabriel and Molly.
Dr. Blount was one of the many individuals who lost her home after Hurricane Irma devastated the Florida Keys last year. The Category 4 hurricane flooded her home with over 3 feet of water, roofs were torn off, and buildings were demolished. While Dr. Blount and her neighbors were outside rummaging through the debris for their personal belongings, a Salvation Army mobile feeding unit made its way through the wreckage.
“The mobile unit came down the street and stopped at every single house, greeted us, handed us a hot meal, and told us they loved us. It was literally enough to make us cry,” said Dr. Blount. “Not only were we desperate for a meal and water but just for somebody to say hey, we care…it made all the difference.”
Solace can come from a hot meal, a hug from a furry friend, or the caring presence of The Salvation Army’s staff and volunteers. As of October 16, The Salvation Army has provided emotional and spiritual care to 7,000 survivors and first responders impacted by Hurricane Michael in Florida.