Letter to the Editor

Published 1:45 pm Sunday, December 19, 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, we look back on yet another devastating hurricane season amid a pandemic and we hope that the New Year will deliver us new fortune – or at least an extended respite.

However, lessons learned and years of experience have taught us that while we may hope for fair winds, we need to prepare for stormy seas.

Louisianans are remarkably resilient, standing strong again and again in the face of adversity and thankfully, there’s a lot of people ready to help, too. Because of the frequency of disasters, the State has a robust support network – of which the American Red Cross is a part – which ably cares for people living through some of the most difficult moments of their life.

It is in this context that the Red Cross of Louisiana has identified the urgent need to grow its volunteer ranks – specifically the trained Disaster Action Team service associates who are among the first to show up to a disaster site. Of 40 such openings across the state, four are here in the Bayou and River parishes.

Service associates are crucial to our ability to respond reliably and compassionately to disasters ranging from devastating hurricanes such as Ida to the little-noticed home fires that regularly rage throughout our state.

Our associates address survivors’ immediate needs, which may include financial assistance that can help pay for a deposit on a new apartment, replace lost clothing or other belongings, cover transportation expenses or address any other urgent need.

While taking care of others, our volunteers also find fulfillment – the pride from helping someone in crisis have a better day; the triumph from deploying newly learned skills; the gratification from meeting new people and exploring new places.

The Red Cross has honed its volunteer program over 140 years. It teaches life-saving and real-world professional skills, rewards participation and honors outstanding achievements. It maximizes one’s natural gifts and learned skills for the betterment of the larger community. Our volunteers are known for giving back, but there is also ample opportunity for self-improvement through our program.

We’d be honored if you join us and humbly ask that you resolve to volunteer this holiday season. We’re hoping for the best next year, and your help will make it better – no matter what comes our way.

To sign up, email LouisianaVolunteers@redcross.org. Learn more at RedCross.org/Louisiana.

 

Kelly King
Interim Regional Executive Officer
American Red Cross | Louisiana Region