By Verna Morris, Communications Volunteer
The Greater Chesapeake Region’s Delmarva Chapter has a real-life super volunteer among its ranks. When disaster strikes, Delmarva’s Ed Scarborough is often at the forefront of the recovery.
Since November 2016, Ed has deployed 17 times to disaster relief efforts throughout the United States. Assignments typically run three to five weeks. As of this report, Ed had deployed 139 days this year and 163 days in 2018. The Delmarva Chapter awarded him a special citation for exceptional service, affectionately dubbing him “the chronic ‘deployer.”
Raised in Delaware, Ed earned his degree from North Carolina Wesleyan College. A teacher for 33 years, he also spent six years with the North Carolina Board of Education improving low performing schools. Ed was selected Teacher of the Year twice, and was also selected one of 30 Best Teachers in North Carolina.
After retirement in 2006, Ed cared for his parents. He moved back to Delaware in 2012 and volunteered with homeless causes. In 2016, he encountered a stranger wearing a Red Cross t-shirt and asked how he could volunteer. She pointed him to redcross.org.
Now Ed manages teams that provide financial assistance to people impacted by disasters. “You’re sitting there with them,” he said. “They’ve lost everything. Sometimes they’ve lost family members. It’s not a lot of money, but at that point they know somebody else cares about them.”
Ed describes his motivation to volunteer as his heart of compassion, which he attributes to his mother. He seeks to understand those he serves by asking, how would I feel if that happened to me? Or how would I feel if it were one of my family members? “It gets very emotional,” he added.
Ed has encountered numerous heart wrenching experiences during his Red Cross tenure. Among his most emotional moments was in March 2019 when he spent 4 weeks in eastern Alabama after tornadoes struck. Ed witnessed devastation that resulted in 23 deaths. “It was really tough,” he said. “I cried along with them.”
Ed found an emotional coping strategy when he came across a red teddy bear in May 2017. He adopted the bear as a travel companion, naming him “Eddie the Red Cross Teddy.” Teddy Eddie brings smiles to both disaster survivors and fellow volunteers. Even airline personnel and travelers meet and greet Eddie. And of course the children love Teddy Eddie!
One of Ed’s happiest memories occurred in August 2017. Asked to assist the Canadian government in the aftermath of wildfires, Ed travelled seven hours across Glacier National Park, which spans the Montana and Canadian border, to help residents. When one gentleman met Ed, he exclaimed, “I’m looking for my angel!” After a five-week stay in the area, Ed arrived home to find a card from the gentleman, who wrote, “You have Canadian friends to visit anytime.”
Although Ed choked up as he retold this story, he encourages others to become a Red Cross volunteer.
“You will have experiences you will never forget,” he said. “We truly make a difference. I truly believe that when we’re born we’re put on this earth to help others. I will do this until I can’t anymore.”
Regardless of your skillset, the American Red Cross can use your expertise and is always in need of volunteers. To learn how you can serve your community as a Red Cross Volunteer go to: https://rdcrss.org/2Rgm6xq or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.