Cris Minor and her husband, Gerry, were having dinner with Cris’s father in early September of 2016 when Gerry’s cell phone rang.
The call was from 911 dispatch, saying there was a fire at Cris and Gerry’s home.
Cris, Gerry and her dad raced to the couple’s house.
By the time they arrived, the fire, which started somewhere in the kitchen, had destroyed their home’s interior. Firefighters were in the mop-up stage.
But the firefighters weren’t the only ones on the scene.
“I can’t say enough about them... They told us, ‘Here are your resources, and if you need help with anything, let us know.’”
“When we got there, I was just shocked that the Red Cross was already there,” says Cris, a customer service representative in our Rapid City office. “I can’t say enough about them. They updated us on what had happened and what would happen going forward. They told us, ‘Here are your resources, and if you need help with anything, let us know.’”
The Red Cross also helped the couple search for their four cats that had been in their home at the time of the fire. Fortunately, all of the animals survived unharmed.
The organization also extended its help to Cris’s dad.
“My dad’s 87-years-old, and he’s standing there with a cane,” she says. “They asked him if he needed anything and got him a lawn chair so he could sit down. And when he was ready to leave, they walked him back to his vehicle.”
And the Red Cross’s assistance didn’t end that night.
“The next morning, they had us come in to their office and set us up with a cash card so we could buy items like toothpaste and clothes,” Cris says.
Later, when the couple ran into difficulty getting their health insurance company to replace prescriptions they’d lost in the fire, the Red Cross stepped in again.
“They told us, ‘No problem. Who’s your pharmacy?’ They paid for the cost of the refill,” she says. “They just stepped in and took care of it. That took the pressure off me.”
Stories like Cris’s are why Black Hills Energy has been a leading giver to the United Way for decades.
United Way provides support to the Red Cross and hundreds of other agencies in all of the areas we serve. This year — between employee donations and a 25 percent match from the Black Hills Corporation Foundation — we’ve pledged more than $635,000 in support.
Cris has worked for Black Hills Energy for 30 years. For every one of those years, she’s donated to the United Way.
“Everything I’ve given over the years, it’s worth it,” she says.