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Volunteers Receive Top Awards

Volunteers Receive Top Awards
More than 3,666 people proudly call themselves Palmetto SC Region volunteers.

Volunteers are the back bone of the American Red Cross making up 96% of the Red Cross’ work force. More than 3,666 people proudly call themselves Palmetto SC Region volunteers. The following volunteers have been recognized this year for their exemplary service.

Jerry George has been the Disaster Action Team (DAT) leader for the Aiken Chapter for almost three years. Jerry effectively adapts to change and works well under pressure while maintaining a positive attitude. He has the exceptional ability to provide compassion toward those affected by disasters. Almost daily he goes beyond the call of duty by continually seeking out and following through with additional responsibilities and contributing frequently to chapter events. He has also been the catalyst for the Red Cross’ growth in Aiken’s surrounding counties. He attends fire department meetings and recently helped trained the Bamberg County fire departments to respond to DAT calls for the Red Cross. Jerry is an active listener, managers his time well, and demonstrates exceptional professionalism and conscientiousness about quality of work. Additionally Jerry is a volunteer that not only wants to be involved in his community, but also wants to make an impact for his s tate and division. Jerry stood ready this summer to be deployed at a moment’s notice.

Gary Tuntland had proved to be indispensable to the emergency services office at the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter. He is responsible for the tracking of financial documents and completing the paperwork necessary for disaster volunteer deployments. He also researches and creates reports on the status of disaster volunteers. Because of fire and other urgent need calls, it is imperative to know the office is covered, and Gary makes sure it is covered with the best of his ability. Gary is the person that answers the many phone calls to the disaster services office. When he receives a non-disaster related call he diligently tracks down the right person to help the caller. His skills in covering the office has provided tremendous support and earned him the chapter’s Volunteer of the Year award. Gary was also named Volunteer of the Year for RSVP (Retired Services Volunteer Program) sponsored by the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter.

Bob Penick has been a volunteer with the Central SC Chapter for eight years and has served on 21 Red Cross disaster relief operations. Bob’s fellow volunteers have described his positive attitude and willingness to actively support the Disaster Services Team (DST) mission as Bob’s greatest asset. Bob is a dedicated volunteer who is always willing to assist, teach and take the lead on projects for the Red Cross where ever he is needed. His service earned him the American Red Cross Clara Barton Award from the chapter which is the highest Red Cross volunteer award given at the local level.

Beth Fletcher has served in several volunteer leadership positions with the Coastal SC Chapter. She has served as Disaster Committee Deputy, Mass Care Lead, Shelter Lead and volunteer partner for Mass Care preparedness. She has even started a Palmetto Regional Mass Care Feeding Team. She has developed a plan and is working with others to get the plan completed and implemented, putting this region in a great position as we respond to hurricanes and other disasters. Beth is also considered a subject matter expert. She has been called to headquarters in Washington, DC to fill in for others during disasters. She has deployed to numerous disaster areas, teaches disaster classes and is the only Mass Care Manager in our region and the only Mass Care Generalist in the state of SC. Beth has worked extensively with the National Shelter System to help respond to disasters and make sure our regional information is updated and correct. Beth takes on tasks and follows through with ef ficiency and laughter. She will straighten you out in a second, but she will also give you kudos for doing a great job. Beth has a nursing background, and her training in helping people comes through in every task she tackles. Her service has earned her the Red Cross Clara Barton award from the chapter which is the highest Red Cross volunteer award given at the local level.

Donnie Beer, a volunteer with the Palmetto Service Center, first became involved with the Red Cross in 1961 when her husband was in France with the Air National Gaurd and the Red Cross helped bring him home when she needed him. She started taking disaster classes in 1998. For the past 5 years, she’s been an active member of the Disaster Services Team (DAT) serving as DAT Coordinator and responding to most of the Beaufort fire calls. She is a member of the Disaster Leadership team and the Palmetto Service Center Advisory committee. The South Carolina State Firefighter Association awarded Donnie their Citizenship Award for her assistance to clients on behalf of the Red Cross. Donnie deployed to Super Storm Sandy serving in New York as a Government Liaison Supervisor. She is a team player, a leader, and an inspiration.

Grover Fincher is known as a humble and caring volunteer at the Pee Dee Chapter and in the community. His dependability makes him a wonderful asset to the chapter and his attitude and personality make him a joy to work with. The chapter has received many calls from both donors and clients who express their appreciation for the warmth they receive from Grover. He takes his job receiving calls for the Red Cross very seriously. His love for automobiles makes him the perfect person to maintain the emergency response vehicle (ERV) and keep it ready to go. He is always there when we ask him to help and he does it with a smile. His service earned him the chapter’s Volunteer of the Year award.

Peggy Kubala has been a Red Cross volunteers for 45 years and serves the Sandhills as an expert in health and safety and specifically water safety. As a military spouse and Red Cross volunteer she has shared her skills with people around the world including places like Okinawa, Japan, Germany, California and Texas. Throughout Peggy’s travels she always served the Red Cross. Locally she has been awarded the Bill Carroll Health & Safety Award. She has held leadership positions such as Health & Safety Chairman and was awarded the Clara Barton Award for her leadership and service to Red Cross. Peggy served many years on the State Health & Safety Council for the State of South Carolina representing the Central South Carolina Chapter. She is the Red Cross representative on the Sumter Safe Kids Council. Peggy has created partnerships with local organizations such as the City of Sumter, Sumter School District and Sumter Safe Kids in order to educate children ages 14 and under on water safety. In the last few years as part of the Lipscomb Family Foundation Learn to Swim Program, Peggy has trained 16,000 children about being safe in the water. Her services earned her the chapter’s Exceptional Volunteer Award.

Margaret Childs has been a dedicated volunteer for the Upper Palmetto Chapter as well as a regional volunteer since 2001. Margaret works a regular weekly shift at the Upper Palmetto Disaster Desk, serves on the Disaster Action Team (DAT), and has deployed nationally, most recently to Super Storm Sandy. She serves as a Community Outreach Resiliency Education (CORE) team member giving presentations on disaster preparedness to community groups her favorite of which is the Boy Scouts. Margaret dedicates much of her time to Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) in both casework and outreach. New volunteers are in good hands with Margaret. She often helps people decide what service areas they would like to volunteer in as part of the Upper Palmetto Volunteer Management Team. Her service earned her a Volunteer of the Year award from the chapter.