The East Georgia Chapter reached out to Gail Daly, a volunteer from Jackson County, about her experience with the Red Cross.
Jackson County is located about an hour from Atlanta. It is home to Chateau Elan Winery and Resort, great shopping at the Tanger Outlets and more. The county also hosts several festivals, most notably the Daisy Festival and Mule Days during the month of May.
What originally inspired you to join the Red Cross?
While living in Connecticut I was a volunteer certified EMT. However, I soon realized that I could not use that skill in Georgia as a volunteer since all EMTs are paid staff (Plus they preferred paramedics). I decided that the best way to continue serving my community was as a Red Cross volunteer.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had volunteering for the Red Cross?
Shortly after completing basic classes there was an actual bomb threat at Jackson County High School. Law enforcement and EMS personnel, both local, state GBI and FBI arrived, and before long were ready for hot coffee, food, etc. The chapter set up a canteen outside the school at a safe distance. In addition, the school was evacuated and all students bussed to the Jefferson Civic Center. Each was interviewed separately so parents could not pick up their children until after the interviews. Regina and I ferried food – mostly pizza – to the Civic Center, in addition to obtaining food for the canteen. Traffic was a nightmare as roads through Jefferson at that time were one lane and narrow with no left turn lanes. Virtually every business cooperated by donating food, hot coffee, water, juice, whatever we asked for. It was a miserable, rainy, cold April day and the canteen did not shut down until about 8 p.m. It was certainly a memorable experience!
What is your favorite thing to do in Jackson County?
My husband and I attend the monthly auction in Jefferson and the one in Commerce. There’s also shopping at Tanger Outlets.
What impact do you believe the East Georgia Red Cross has had on Jackson County?
We have numerous fire departments in the county and each chief knows that we will respond to an emergency when called. When I go to a scene, for the most part the incident commander knows who I am without even seeing any ID. Clients receive us warmly and cannot thank us enough. The word gets out.
What would your advice be for anyone in Jackson County who is considering getting involved with the Red Cross?
I would tell anyone that there’s no greater satisfaction than making a difference in the lives of those who have lost everything. And I mean everything. Classes are time consuming, it’s true, but well worth it in the end.
Photo courtesy of Chateau Elan.