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Emporia Volunteerism – Judy Conway Shines

Judy stepped up to help with the Disaster Action Team without any hesitation. She responded to her first fire without any previous experience and did a great job.

Dino Ingram is a Red Cross volunteer and contributing writer.

Judy is fifty-eight years young with one daughter and a passel of four grandchildren. Staying active is very important to Judy. She walks, runs, gardens, cooks and reads. Another part of her active lifestyle is her nine years of employment at Emporia State University, where she functions as a Public Service Administrator in the marketing and media relations department.

Judy is an active volunteer in many areas and really loves the lifestyle. She serves as a hospice volunteer, supervises a soup kitchen at Abundant Harvest and is on the Board of Directors for the Topeka Farmers Market.

Her new endeavor as a Red Cross volunteer is just beginning and she is approaching it with zeal. She joined the volunteer ranks in December of 2013, diving in without hesitation, immediately getting plugged in to the weekly rotation as an active member of the Disaster Action Team (DAT). Judy talked about her motivation to get involved with the Red Cross as a volunteer. "I have always loved to volunteer, and I believe that the American Red Cross is an amazing organization."

Lisa Biggs, Disaster Program Manager, added, "Judy stepped up to help with the Disaster Action Team without any hesitation. She responded to her first fire without any previous experience and did a great job…"

In January, the Red Cross participated in the national Martin Luther King Day of Caring, handing out Fire Prevention Door Hangers across the Kansas Capital Area Chapter service area. Judy was in on the action in Emporia. Deb Tucker, Volunteer Coordinator shared this observation about Judy.

"She has an amazing way of taking a new project and making it happen. Shortly after becoming a Red Cross volunteer she was asked to help with the MLK event. This young lady tackled the project and even invited her daughter to join in the canvassing."

There are many personal rewards and growth opportunities for Red Cross volunteers. Judy definitely recognizes and benefits from them. When I asked her what was most fulfilling about being a Red Cross volunteer, she told me the following:

"Being a Red Cross volunteer has allowed me to get into new situations and new environments that I might not otherwise be exposed to. You have the opportunity to learn about total strangers in a very short period of time. That creates a very special bond. It is so fulfilling, giving back to my community. If we want a better world to live in, it starts with you and me and our communities.”

My final task was asking her to share something that would encourage YOU to volunteer. She told me this. "Being a Red Cross volunteer allows you to make new discoveries about yourself and others. It lets you feel the special bond that comes from interacting with people, and strengthening your community at the same time."

Judy, you're doing a great job. You're an inspiration. Please keep it up!