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Why I Help - Nancy Llinet, Virginia Capital Region of the American Red Cross, Richmond, Virginia

Volunteering to serve is such a rewarding experience that I will continue as long as I am physically able

Nancy Llinet, a volunteer in the Virginia Capital Region, joined the ranks of American Red Cross volunteers in 2010. After experiencing firsthand the compassionate humanitarian services provided by the Red Cross to those in distress, and prompted by the urge to repay the kindness she personally experienced, Llinet immediately started volunteering for her local Red Cross.

The event that initiated her connection with the Red Cross was gut-wrenching. Some time ago, Llinet, like many, was a mother with a son serving in Iraq. In 2010, just before her son was due to return to the United States, he told her that he would be taking the next flight out of Iraq. He assured Llinet that he would be home soon.

Then, a mother's nightmare began. Llinet said, “The flight that he said he was to be on got shot down, and I thought I had lost my son for good.” She continued, “I called around for days, but could not get any information. Later, I was advised to call Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces." Service to the Armed Forces is provided by the American Red Cross to link members of the U.S. Armed Forces with their families during a crisis. A Red Cross representative reached her son, and asked him to call home because his mother was very distraught. Within a few days, Llinet's son called her.

Now a Red Cross volunteer, Llinet is a member of a Disaster Action Team. Her team responds to fire calls, or goes out with the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and serves meals to people who need them. In addition, she helps clean the ERV and related items, or works on whatever needs to be done. She emphasized the fulfillment and satisfaction she felt from the smiles and the heartfelt thank you(s) received from those getting aid. “Volunteering to serve is such a rewarding experience that I will continue as long as I am physically able,” Llinet declared.

Recently during the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, Llinet deployed to help serve meals to other volunteer relief workers. She described her encounter with a young boy, who was volunteering with his parents. Llinet recalled, “I was moved and impressed all at once when he told me that his father taught him that if a person is able to help another, he should do it because you never know when you will need help.” A philosophy that Llinet could easily agree with and understand.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.