My Red Cross Story(3) Daisuke Obara

My Red Cross Story:Communicating the Red Cross spirit to my Eldest Son"
By: Daisuke Obara,Niigata Chapter, Japanese Red Cross Society

It all happened when I was preparing to go home as usual after finishing a training course in community first-aid response at the Japanese Red Cross.
The branch office building suddenly began shaking fiercely.
It was the Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake, which occurred on October 23, 2004.

I knew that Nagaoka City had been badly damaged and I immediately headed out there in an emergency vehicle.
While I was driving the vehicle, however, the thought of my first son, Hiroto, who had just turned one year old, crossed my mind.
I could not help but think whether he was not under a closet, or whether he was all right on his bed.

Finally, a few hours later, I managed to get in touch with my wife, and I felt relieved to know that my son was safe.
At the same time, I had to tell my wife that I would be engaged in relief activities in disaster-stricken areas in the days ahead, and that I did not know when I would get back home.
I finally got home five days later.

On July 16, 2007, nearly three years after the earthquake, a new earthquake occurred. This time I was at home.
It was the Niigataken Chuetsu-oki Earthquake.
I was about to leave the house to head for the branch office.
Hiroto, who was now four years old, blocked the front door of the house by extending both his arms with his eyes full of tears.

My son said that the earthquake experienced at the age of 1 year old had scared him to death, and I had not been beside him nor been there for some days, and my son had been really worried for me.

I did not know how to reply to him momentarily.
Still, I opened the front door as if breaking free of my little son, and talked to him.
“Please understand, my son. I have to protect people’s lives. You must take care of your mother and Riku (our second son).”
There was no reply from him, but I felt that I had communicated with my son when our eyes met.

My son and I

My son and I

Now at age 5, in kindergarten, my son tells his teacher that his dream is to “become a Red Cross worker like my? father”.

And now, the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami occurred.
Each of my two sons gave me their respective “good luck charms”.
I attached the charms to my first-aid bag and headed for the disaster-stricken areas, accompanied by their deeply felt thoughts.

* The original text was compiled in a book "Watashi no nakano Sekijyuji " published by PHP Institute. Translation and editing for English text was conducted by the Japanese Red Cross.