By: Greater Carolinas Volunteer Bruce Jenks
Flying across the world and putting your life on pause can seem daunting, but that’s exactly what Greater Carolinas Red Cross Volunteer Jerry Hanson is about to do. In a life committed to helping others, he focuses on the benefits.
“It’s not only fulfilling to the clients but also self-fulfillment – you get a lot out of it yourself” said Jerry.
More than a week after Typhoon Mawar hit Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina islands, many residents are still without power and water, and it could be weeks before these systems are fully restored on the western Pacific islands. Jerry will be deploying as part of the Red Cross Shelter Resident Transition team, helping people get into more sustainable living arrangements after losing their homes. While the task ahead is challenging, he has years of experience helping others facing disasters.
Jerry has been a volunteer firefighter at his local fire department since he was fifteen years old. After retiring a little over a year ago, he’s chosen to continue volunteering and helping people by joining the Red Cross. Shortly after starting, he was deployed to Pine Island, Florida, a small agricultural community cut off from the mainland for three days by Hurricane Ian.
During his deployment at Pine Island, Jerry worked closely with the Latino Engagement Team to provide services to the Hispanic community. Delivering immediate short-term financial assistance was one of the duties Jerry performed during his deployment. Conducting this outreach was a very moving experience for Jerry and the Latino Engagement Team; as residents received their assistance, many would “… just break down in tears and give you a big hug” said Jerry.