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Meet Jackie

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“The favorite part of my job. It’s like volunteers are my extra added family."

If Jackie Wade had her druthers, she would probably be on a concert stage doing what she loves – singing! The Air Force veteran and former military brat sings gospel, jazz and various types of music saying, “I have had opportunity to sing the national anthem for Red Cross events including the Centennial Luncheon, and at two SAF Volunteer Luncheons at NAS Jax.”

Jackie, who will celebrate her 11th year in September at the North Florida American Red Cross, spends much of her off time bringing joy to others through her ministry of song; in particular, through the Genesis Community Choir, a multi-racial and multi-denominational group which she founded over a year ago. 

“We [Genesis Community Choir] are linked to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Genesis Devotional Program. The choir was founded on the same principle as Gladys Knight’s proposal some years ago to LDS’ outreach program to African Americans. Gladys’ pattern is to ‘soul up’ hymns with the purpose of the choir members to share their culture and their love of music,” explains Jackie. “The Genesis Community Choir celebrated our first-year anniversary on June 25 hosting an impressive number of singers from around the area including a choir with 83 singers and four musicians all sharing their love of music!”

Jackie is also a Deaconess at First Jordan Grove Baptist Church in Brunswick, GA where she sings in the choir and participates on the praise team. She is also involved with The Heirs, a family musical trio.  “Along with the harmony of my two cousins, I bring the soprano and alto.” 

But in the meantime, and between all her singing, Jackie says she still has a job to do with the Red Cross as the Senior Volunteer Services Specialist. Before landing in the Jacksonville office, Jackie worked at the Camden, Charlton and Kings Bay Service Center as an administrative assistant juggling responsibilities. “Before the service center downsized, I provided assistance to Disaster, SAF, Health & Safety and any other piece of the Red Cross that needed my help. Now my duties are a little different but I still assist anyone who needs me and I don’t mind responding when it is ‘ask Jackie’ time.”

In her current position of Senior Volunteer Services Specialist for Capital Area and Northwest Florida chapters, Jackie is the Engagement Lead for the region, but loves working with data, and is known to have great attention to detail, according to Liz Lawrence, Regional Volunteer Services Officer. Jackie is the systems administrator for Volunteer Connection and EDGE, adding, “There are many pieces of the puzzle now, especially working with the volunteers, as compared to when I first started here. Originally, the application process for volunteers was a paper process and the majority of volunteers were for disaster. Now volunteer intake has become a separate entity with various facets.”

Jackie continues, “Oftentimes, the volunteer meets a client at their darkest moment ... house fire, flood, or hurricane. The volunteer is their light, and is also the voice and face of the Red Cross. The volunteers give selflessly to help anyone who is in need, and at any time, because disaster can strike at any given moment.”

Jackie says getting to know volunteers is “the favorite part of my job. It’s like volunteers are my extra added family. The volunteers were there for me when my mom died and during other personal tragedies. My Red Cross experience has been very good!”

Fulfilling a promise that Jackie made to her parents to complete her undergrad degree is high on her agenda. “I would be closer to realizing that promise if the course curriculum had not changed and had the funds not run out. But I intend to receive my B.S. degree in network management, hopefully, within the next year.”

Change is a key word for Jackie, a former radio DJ, who knows that life is fluid. “Words of wisdom that I live by – sometimes things have to happen the way they happen to make things change. I find myself saying, Lord did it have to be like this? And His answer is, yes.”