Raybo Frank, a dedicated volunteer for the American Red Cross Southern Gulf Chapter, is being honored for his continued efforts benefiting the Fort Myers community through active participation in disaster and emergency preparedness.
Raybo has volunteered multiple times a week over the course of this year and has participated in three Sound The Alarm events, installing roughly 50 alarms himself. In addition to volunteering for Sound The Alarm, he also serves on the Disaster Action Team, is a trained shelter volunteer and supports community disaster education initiatives.
The reason for Raybo’s dedication to the Red Cross is personal – he and his family were victims of a home fire while living in Arkansas and unfortunately lost everything. Raybo believes that the Red Cross was the reason he was able to recover as quickly as he did with arrangements for temporary housing and seed funds to get back on his feet. He says,
I was left feeling empty and alone after the fire. Therefore, I just couldn’t possibly let another person feel that way.
This is evident in his deployments where he not only aims to help the victims of a disaster, but also does all that he can to alleviate their sadness, the same sadness he experienced.
To date, his most memorable experience as a volunteer was during the Estero Floods last year. As always, he not only helped the people directly affected by the floods, but also did everything possible to help everyone make it through with ease. He entertained the kids, talked to grandmothers, mentored families and more importantly, he took the time to listen to the individual stories of the victims. When the disaster had ended and shelters were being closed, the children whom Raybo had entertained surrounded him with cheers and hugs, shouting, “We are going to miss your Mr. Rainbow.” Raybo tells the story with emotion as he notes that this was the moment when he realized that his volunteer work really mattered and made a difference.
If it weren’t for volunteers like Raybo Frank, the Red Cross would be unable to fulfill its mission of providing relief and comfort to victims of disaster. Learn more about volunteering at the Red Cross by visiting redcross.org/volunteer.
Written by Matthew Dulin