American Red Cross in Greater New York Podcast

Through the Fire

November 6, 2019

Imagine arriving at work one morning greeted by the sight of smoke, and embers falling from the sky. Imagine a situation that deteriorates very quickly, one that forces your entire workplace, and your entire town to evacuate. Imagine escaping town in your vehicle and seeing nothing but smoke and fire all around you. And, finally imagine a six-hour drive to safety knowing that your home is probably destroyed.

These circumstances were very real for the residents of Paradise, California where, on November 8, 2018, a massive wildfire devastated this tightknit community. 

Abigail Gerspacher-Davis and Mary Petersen Ludwig, teachers from Paradise, were among the many heroes who helped save lives that day. Driven by school bus driver Kevin McKay, Abigail and Mary helped evacuate a group of 22 young students from Ponderosa Elementary School and accompanied them on a long and terrifying ride to safety.

On October 16, 2019, Kevin, Mary and Abigail were recognized for their courage and compassion at the 2019 American Red Cross in Greater NY Heroes Among Us Gala.

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Producer: Craig Cooper
Editor: Chi Kong Lui
Host: Michael de Vulpillieres

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