“I love helping people,” said 30-year Red Cross volunteer Jerry Walker. “My heart is right here working with the Red Cross, doing what I can to pay back the goodness that people have blessed me with over my lifetime.”
A few weeks ago, Walker was busy driving an American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and helping the Minn-Kota Red Cross Chapter in Fargo, N.D., organize the loading and dispatching of seven ERVs that were serving flood response workers along the swollen Red River.
He first volunteered with the Red Cross when he lived in southern Missouri, and has lived in the Fargo area since 1987. He has done just about every job with the organization, but driving ERVs and doing disaster assessments are his favorite assignments, because they allow him to directly interact with the people who have been affected by disaster. Along with distributing food and water, Walker brings supportive, kind words to those who need it most.
“I also really enjoy working with the new volunteers who come to the Red Cross,” Walker said. “It gives me great satisfaction to show them the ropes, and hopefully some of my enthusiasm will rub off on them.”
Jay Beech and his son Adam wanted to help their community when the Red River began flooding this year, and they were some of the many who responded to the call. The Beeches traveled with Walker on ERV 2140, driving to neighborhoods in South Fargo where hundreds of students and neighbors were hard at work building sandbag dikes to protect homes from the rising waters.
Under Walker’s direction, the Beeches were soon dispensing hot coffee, water, sandwiches and snacks to crowds of flood workers. It was a long day, and hard work, but very satisfying.
“We’re not in this for the glory,” Walker said. “Just helping our neighbors through their tough times is all the satisfaction I need.”