It may be evident, but it can’t be said enough: Our volunteers are amazing. With their selflessness, compassion, and dedication, they are a perpetual source of inspiration. When it comes to house fires, which is the most frequent disaster to which the American Red Cross responds, our volunteers take action immediately to reach out to those in need. It is their selflessness that gets them out of bed at 3 am to respond to a house fire. It is their compassion that makes a personal difference in the lives of those who have suffered the disaster. And it is their dedication that truly makes our organization exceptional and reliable. Which is why we want to commend a few of our extraordinary Disaster Services Volunteers.
In the early morning of June 12th, Albert and Linda Van Helden awoke to respond to a house fire in Jackson County, Georgia. At the site of the fire, they assisted four adults and one child, doing everything they could to help. This is just one of many instances where the couple has been a significant source of strength for those in need. One evening, the couple had just arrived home from vacation when they were asked to respond to a house fire. With their suitcases still in the car, they rushed to the scene. Albert won the Red Cross’s Disaster Volunteer of the Year Award at our recent Volunteer Recognition Dinner for having responded to several other fire calls in one night, being deployed multiple times to disaster relief operations, and demonstrating leadership while on relief operations. Thanks to Albert and Linda for your service!
On this same Wednesday, East Georgia Red Cross Disaster Volunteers, Paul Brown and Ron Lemke tended to a family of five who had just experienced a house fire in Barrow County. While most of East Georgia was sleeping, Paul and Ron were awake and exerting all of their effort to alleviate the family’s hardship. It is reassuring to know that no matter the time, we can always count on our Red Cross volunteers to help those affected by house fires. Thanks Paul Brown and Ron Lemke.
The next day, when a tree fell on a house in Clarke County, it was Michael Reilly who made himself available to aid a family of four in this distressing situation. This isn’t the only case where he has met the needs of others. Michael is a 20-year old UGA student and Disaster Services volunteer who has been responding to crises since January. He is also an involved member of the UGA Red Cross Club as its Committee Chair of Disaster Services, as well as an intern at our office. Keep up the great work Michael. We appreciate your efforts.
Ron Lemke was also very busy on June 14th; not only did he assist a total of four people in two apartment fires in Barrow County in the morning, he additionally aided a family of two in another house fire with his wife Carol. On June 18th at the Volunteer Recognition Dinner, Ron and Carol were honored with the Red Cross’s Maxine Harper Award of Excellence. Throughout their many years with the East Georgia Chapter, they have given thousands of hours of volunteer work, served as Disaster Action Team members, served on the Disaster Action Team Steering committee, opened doors for the Red Cross in their community, trained new volunteers, provided in-kind donations, and supported the Red Cross financially. The duo is very reliable and responds to emergencies with urgency and care. Thanks Ron and Carol for your great volunteer spirits.