Two Wauwatosa residents will celebrate this Valentine's Day in love, preparing for their wedding next October. How they found each other is a story of commitment and compassion.
Bob Wade felt a call to serve others but didn’t know how. One day, in 2009, while browsing local news sites, Bob stumbled across an American Red Cross ad that prompted him to join the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team. As a disaster responder, Bob takes on call shifts, mostly overnight, to provide emergency services to victims of disaster all while maintaining his full time job.
During a brutal storm in the summer of 2009, Bob and his new trainee, Beth Tambornino, also of Wauwatosa, responded to multiple calls for help, according to a press release from the American Red Cross of Southeastern Wisconsin. Their first fire response was not too far from the Red Cross offices on Wisconsin Avenue.
Milwaukee streets flooded and cars floated passed Miller Park. Lightning strikes triggered house fires. Bob called it bedlam. It felt like Mother Nature had the city under attack.
“If you saw what we saw, you saw Milwaukee coming apart at the seams. We were driving from fire to flood. Lightning non-stop,” Bob recalled.
Beth was impressed with her trainer's response to people's hardship during the storm. Over time, mutual respect turned to love.
“He really was compassionate towards people and I always wanted that,” said Beth. “The way he treats others is the way he’s going to treat you, probably.”
Throughout the past year, both Bob and Beth have had plenty of experiences as the American Red Cross in Southeastern Wisconsin responded to over 415 incidents and continues to respond every day and night.
Looking back on all of the emergencies, disasters and calls they have been on, Bob can only say, “Sometimes good comes from bad."
In October 2014, Bob and Beth plan to marry at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Milwaukee.
About the American Red Cross:
The Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter serves eight counties with a goal to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact any of our local offices or go online to redcross.org/sewisconsin or visit our blog redcrosssewiblog.org.