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Why I Help - Michael Lee, Georgia Three Rivers Chapter of the American Red Cross, LaGrange, GA

Michael Lee embodies the “charitable spirit” that resides within every volunteer. As early on as 2009, Lee signed on as a volunteer with the American Red Cross. He began regularly volunteering at the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter in Georgia, but his fervent dedication and dependability in the face of disasters was soon noticed by others.

Today, Lee is the Director of Disaster Services at the Georgia Three Rivers Chapter of the American Red Cross. Being a part of an organization formed to help others has always been a great source of pleasure and pride for Lee. He firmly asserted that “witnessing great acts of humanity is awe inspiring.”

He also fondly said, “I think I will always feel like a volunteer. I don't think that conviction ever leaves you.” Connie Hensler, Executive Director of the Georgia Three Rivers Chapter, stated “We were very impressed with Michael’s previous work as a volunteer with the Red Cross.” Hensler went on to say, “His commitment to our mission was evident and we knew that he would represent us well as Director of Disaster Services.”

For Lee, it really all began in 1994 when a big flood submerged parts of Georgia. He spontaneously left home to go to Albany, Georgia; though he had to slog through mud and debris, he remained undeterred in his clean-up work quest. Flooding still goes on today, and Lee still lends his (now-expert) help. Lee said he chose to begin volunteering at ARC because “[t]he ARC core principle is the same principle that I strive to live by; that is, its steadfast mission to help others in need without judgment.”

Whether talking with shocked victims of water-soaked homes and businesses from high-flood waters, or comforting tornado-stricken people from ravaged town areas, or interviewing forlorn families bereft of home and belongings due to a local apartment fire, Lee (and the rest of the Disaster Action Team) is there to offer help by arranging shelter agreements, delivering meals, conducting client casework, performing damage assessment, etc.

Lee finds his greatest satisfaction in aiding his fellow man. According to him: “Volunteering can be one of the greatest gifts to others and yourself. Every day I learn more about myself and how to transform that innate compassion into action.” Lee exhibits a zeal for his Red Cross work that is truly "awesome."