Desiree Schmidt Honored as Hometown Hero by Red Cross

Desiree Schmidt Honored as Hometown Hero by Red Cross

Desiree Schmidt struggles to hold back her emotions when being honored as a Hometown Hero by the American Red Cross.

Wenatchee School District congratulates Desiree Schmidt, second grade teacher at Lewis & Clark Elementary School, for being honored as a Hometown Hero by the American Red Cross. We are so proud of you, and honored to have you as a teacher in our district. Here’s the rest of the story . . .

Desiree Schmidt Honored as Hometown Hero
by Megan Snow, Executive Director of the American Red Cross, Greater Inland Northwest

It was an honor for us to recognize Desiree Schmidt at our 2016 American Red Cross Hometown Heroes Celebration on March 24th at the Wenatchee Convention Center. Desiree was one of eight local individuals recognized for their heroism or service to community during the past year. Desiree was nominated both by her husband, William, as well as by Captain Doug Jones of the Wenatchee Police Department. Here’s a bit of her story:

Desiree Schmidt was nominated for her leadership, kindness, and commitment to serving her neighborhood following the Sleepy Hollow fire.  In the pre-dawn hours on the Monday, June 29th, the Schmidts returned to their neighborhood with little hope of a standing structure to turn a key in to. When they saw that their home had been spared, an array of emotions swept through Desiree’s heart and mind.  Standing on the patio and looking down on the destruction of Maiden Lane, she felt that there was no choice for her but to see what the needs of her community were and get started meeting them.

Portrait of Desiree Schmidt

By 9:30am, Desiree was erecting a canopy, setting an ice chest filled with water and placing granola bars and cookies on a table in the neighborhood park.  For the next six weeks, from early morning to evening, Desiree manned a post at the tent and was a friendly face to neighbors and friends. She leaned heavily on her faith during the initial aftermath and invited the neighbors to join her for a small prayer gathering at noon.  Close to 100 people participated.  But, her actions did not stop with the canopy.  She washed towels and returned them with clean water in buckets for fire personnel, sifters and friends to cool down. She led evening walks and exercise opportunities weekly during the summer and when disaster struck in Chelan, she connected people wanting to help with folks in that area.

In his nomination, Captain Jones highlighted the importance of Desiree’s efforts in establishing a “Refuge Center” mid-way down on the most fire stricken block of the neighborhood.  This quickly became the place where groups including Disaster Chaplains met to share information and coordinate work parties to sift through rubble. The neighbors were appreciative of all the efforts of the volunteers who maintained the Refuge Center, expanding their services from cool refreshments and snacks to donated tools fire victims could use to tend to their property.  The Schmidt’s contributed significantly to the recovery efforts within the Broadview neighborhood in countless ways.  The Refuge Center was just one of the many efforts spearheaded by Desiree.