Super Storm Sandy was one of the largest disasters the American Red Cross has seen in five years. The disaster needs called for the mobilization of assistance items, emergency response vehicles, warm food, and volunteer support to help the victims impacted. Thousands of Red Cross trained volunteers were touched by images they saw on television after Super Storm Sandy hit the East Coast. Among them was Rollie & Janet Newman who returned from New York City.
Both are avid RV travelers who joined the American Red Cross a year ago by becoming a part of Disaster Operation Volunteer Escapees (DOVE). Through DOVE they help the Red Cross chapter carry out its local mission but are able to deploy to Disaster Relief Operations in their RV whenever and wherever they are needed.
After seeing what people were going through they decided to go the extra mile. Janet says “We have always been donors of financial assistance, but now we have time and decided to help on a national level.”
The couple deployed for an amazing three weeks with separate duties assigned to each. Rollie loves technology and has helped the local Red Cross test its communications satellite monthly and during hurricane season twice a month. For assisting in New York City, his interest was to deploy as Disaster Services Technology (DST) helping set up electronics for incoming volunteers.
Janet helps at the Red Cross with clerical activities such as answering phones, sorting cards and other activities, but her retired career job of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) allowed Janet to be deployed as a Staff Wellness worker. Her duties included taking ill Red Cross volunteers to the hospital, ensuring kitchens had proper employee hand washing procedures, and checking facility air quality, to reduce infections and the spread of germs. Her role is important in the overall picture Janet says “Some volunteers are so focused on helping others they often forget about themselves, so that’s where I come in. The more healthy volunteers we have the more people they can help.”
They returned with radiating enthusiasm and excitement from helping during times of need, but they say volunteer support is greatly needed and it’s great for all walks of life. Janet says “The Red Cross is a non-profit doing a lot of good, anyone with any kind of experience can find a spot to give a little or a lot of time.”