This winter, the East Georgia Red Cross will be putting a spotlight on each of the 14 counties it serves. This week, we asked two of our Walton County volunteers, Skip and Betty Matson, to tell us a little bit about their hometown and their involvement with the East Georgia Red Cross.
Walton county, named after George Walton, is located about 45 minutes east of Atlanta. There are twenty-seven sites in Walton County on the National Register of Historic Places. Nineteen of them are in Monroe, including nine historic districts, while the others are shared among some of the smaller towns.
1. What originally inspired you to join the Red Cross?
Skip’s mother was a Red Cross volunteer for many years. When we moved to Walton County in 1999, we decided that we would like to volunteer for an organization that helped folks and the Red Cross was our first choice.
2. What is the most memorable experience you’ve had volunteering for the Red Cross?
With responding to more fires than I can count over 14 years plus many national deployments, it is difficult to select the most memorable. Many memories are sad ones because our work most often begins when someone has suffered a disaster in their lives. But, one memory often comes to mind when someone asks about my most memorable experience. One cold, dark night we were called to a mobile home fire. A single man lived there with a small white dog that had recently shown up on his doorstep. The gentleman had tried to find the dog’s owner; but after looking for a while and no one claimed the dog, he decided to keep it. The mobile home had only one exit through the kitchen where the dog slept. The gentleman slept in the other end of the mobile home. The fire started in the kitchen during the night and had the dog not run into the bedroom and woken the gentleman, it is very likely that he would have never made it out of the fire. I am a Christian and believe sincerely that God sent that gentleman a small white angel to keep him safe.
3. What is your favorite thing to do in Walton County?
Enjoy the fellowship of family and friends.
4. What impact do you believe the East Georgia Red Cross has had on Walton County?
Thanks to Don and Edith Shedd, who volunteered their time for at least 25 years, Red Cross was active in Walton County many years before Walton merged into the East Georgia Chapter. As with all counties, I believe the Red Cross impact can be felt by all who suffer losses to fires and other disasters. And, that’s just on the disaster side. I am sure there are countless folks who have benefited from safety training and blood donations.
5. What would your advice be for anyone in Walton County who is considering getting involved with the Red Cross?
If you have a desire to assist others, volunteering with the American Red Cross is an excellent way to do that.
photo: Walton County Real Estate