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Adams County Volunteer Team Retires Together

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“It might sound silly, I enjoyed handing a teddy bear to a kid and seeing them smile."

Two volunteers from Corning, Iowa reflected on the time they spent with the American Red Cross in Adams County. Nancy Robards and Kathy Ennis recently retired from the Red Cross, but had been disaster service volunteers in Adams County and helped many people who experienced disasters such as house fires or tornados. 

Ennis and Robards preferred to respond to disasters calls together. Ennis said that if Robards was not able to join her on a call, Kathy Ennis’ husband, Tim, who has been a volunteer since 2009, would usually join her. Fortunately, Adams County did not have too many disasters during their time with Red Cross, but the pair enjoyed being sent to other counties, such as Taylor, to help those in need.

Robards went to great lengths to help serve not only her community, but also surrounding counties, especially after a tornado.  In May of 2015, Robards helped serve meals to tornado victims. Robards called it rewarding to be able to help others find shelter and clothes or food when disaster struck like a house fire.  

“It might sound silly,” Robards said. “But, I enjoyed handing a teddy bear to a kid and seeing them smile.”

Ennis had been a volunteer for nearly 10 years in Iowa’s smallest county. She said that it was very rewarding to comfort and help those who had been through a disaster.  Although she would get phone calls in the middle of the night on occasion, Ennis enjoyed working with people in her community like the fire chief while helping local families. 

“If the Red Cross wasn’t there to help them in case of a fire or flood, they would have had a really hard time.” Ennis said floods and fires were the main things that they helped with in Adams County during their time in the Red Cross.

Susan Ryon, a Casework Manager at the Des Moines office of the American Red Cross, was the person who got Robards and Ennis involved through recruitment in disaster services after moving back to Adams County. Ryon said that Ennis and Robards were the only recruits that stayed with the Red Cross for a significant amount of time in that area. 

“[Kathy and Nancy] were fantastic,” Ryon said, “They were always there and able to go out and help. They knew all the right resources and had good rapport with the community and since it was their hometown, they cared very much for it.”

When asked what they most enjoyed about being part of the Red Cross, Robards and Ennis both said that it was the satisfaction of helping others. 

The Red Cross appreciates all the time and energy Robards and Ennis gave to helping those in their community.

The Red Cross in Adams County is looking for more volunteers to help with respond to disasters. You can sign up to volunteer by going online to or calling the Central Iowa Chapter at (515) 243-7681. 

The work of the Red Cross is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.