“When you’ve lived a good life—a wonderful life—it’s good to give something back.” So says Alan Sheets, a Red Cross disaster relief volunteer from Knoxville, Tenn. “I looked for an organization where I could help people, do the most good, and do things I like to do. The Red Cross was a perfect match.”
There aren’t too many people as dedicated as Alan—who, say those who meet him, is a humble, positive, and funny man. Since August 20th, he’s been making magic when it comes to the logistics of getting supplies, procuring special items, running a warehouse, and providing security. He hasn’t left the premises but once—eating his meals in the canteen and sleeping next to his desk.
Sheets joined the Red Cross some dozen years ago and, for the last decade, has been deployed about 50 times to disaster-stricken areas. In the early years, he drove an emergency response vehicle to deliver meals and clean-up kits to affected residents. On one deployment, he was involved in an accident, breaking several bones. It would be 18 months before he would return to the Red Cross to serve. He soon found himself working in the shelters and it wasn’t long before Alan found his way to logistics—a natural fit for a former construction company owner.
“I get to volunteer with the most wonderful people—the Red Cross is my family,” Sheets said, when asked why he does what he does and why he loves it so. “Working in logistics is like operating a little Red Cross town. I help the helpers.” With a twinkle in his eye, he concluded, “We don’t make any money. We gotta get something out of it.”