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Why I Help - Betty Nelson

Betty Nelson is a volunteer for the West Delta Chapter of the American Red Cross in Greenville, Mississippi. What makes her so special is the fact that she has been an avid supporter of Red Cross relief efforts for decades. Nelson believes that the large non-profit organization known as the American Red Cross is synonymous with selfless service. "The Red Cross means help in times of disasters," she stated.

For Nelson, it all started in 1927, when Greenville and many places in the Delta were overrun by the flood waters from the mighty Mississippi River. Nelson recalled that "it was the American Red Cross who assisted my family when so many were left homeless." From that personal experience, she observed up close and personal, the vital importance of the work of the volunteers, donors, and funders, whose time, resources and efforts ensure the humanitarian work is available for those in need.

Alan Byrn - "B-y-r-n", the West Chapter Executive Officer, affirmed that Betty Nelson "is a wonderful volunteer." He described her as a long-time board member of the chapter, who has been superlatively serving the Deltan community for the past 26 years. Byrn added that "Betty's contributions to our chapter go far beyond greeting people who visit our office," she also performs a variety of roles ensuring a successful dinner theater fundraiser. She attends dinner theater planning sessions, ensures wide-spread patron knowledge of the event, and assists with event raffle sales. Her "forever-young approach never leaves a request or task unattended," he noted.

The dinner theater event has been a significant, major fundraiser for this chapter's operations since 1995. It has become a highlight of Greenville's yearly entertainment scene. It involves a full-scale production of a musical presentation in conjunction with a delicious catfish dinner for all attending supporters of the West Delta chapter. The behind-the-scenes work, aside from adequate preparation of the food, includes the rehearsals of orchestra and chorus, the creation of costumes and decorations, the construction of the set and stage, and the acquisition of professional lighting and sound.

When disaster struck close to home, as it did during Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, Betty's office work expanded to include assisting evacuees with completing needed paperwork and registration forms. In the spirit of the Red Cross organization that she volunteers for, Betty strives to do whatever work must be done.