By Caitlin Hurley
With floodwaters still rising in some parts of Missouri and the Greater St. Louisa-area, dedicated American Red Cross volunteers working around the clock to care for those forced from their homes.
Wednesday night at the Red Cross shelter at Hope Lutheran Church in Granite City, Illinois, Tom Ollie and Dawne Miller dished up dinner to the more than half-a-dozen people who sought refuge from the rising floodwaters. Both volunteers have been partnered together for three days, working tirelessly from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. when the next team of volunteers arrived to oversee the shelter and provide a safe place for those displaced by the flooding. Ollie and Miller both say the long hours are worth it.
“I love it,” Miller, a Red Cross volunteer for more than three years, said. “It’s giving without expecting anything back.”
“Getting people fed, safe, and secure is important,” said Ollie. But for Ollie, who began his Red Cross service in March, volunteering is about fulfilling a promise. “I promised my mom I’d do one year of service to the Red Cross… She volunteered [with the Red Cross] for 50 years.”
Staffing shelters during disasters is just one way Red Cross volunteers serve their community. In all, volunteers carry out 90% of the Red Cross’ humanitarian work, including disaster relief, blood donations, and aiding the armed services. If you would like to see the volunteer opportunities available in the St. Louis area, go to redcross.org/volunteer.