Story told by Mandy McMahon
"I decided to become a Red Cross volunteer because I really wanted to give back to the community," said Versie Page, an American Red Cross volunteer from Sellers, SC. "I've seen how traumatic it can be when someone experiences a home fire, and I wanted to be the person who jumps in and lets them know that relief is on the way."
Versie is a member of the Eastern SC Chapter Disaster Action Team (DAT), assisting families in the aftermath of local disasters, most of which are home fires. Every day, the Red Cross of South Carolina responds to an average of six home fires. Trained DAT volunteers, like Versie, are ready to respond to these emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
"When I go to a DAT response, I'm meeting somebody who's lost almost everything they had, and it's like I'm an angel to them," said Versie on what the Red Cross symbol means to someone experiencing one of the worst days of their life. "I'm coming to help and let them know this is not the end of the road for them. It just feels good giving back."
From offering a shoulder to cry on to meeting any immediate needs for shelter or supplies to connecting people with long-term recovery services, Red Cross volunteers ensure that families don't face tough times alone.
"I met with this guy, and he was disabled and living by himself. Talking to him and learning what he went through," Versie recalls a recent DAT call she responded to. "He'd lost everything; he didn't even have a toothbrush. I got him a care package and a blanket, and it really touched his heart to know that somebody cared about him and he wasn't alone."
Trained volunteers are needed throughout South Carolina, especially in rural parts of the state, to ensure we can respond whenever and wherever disaster strikes. DAT volunteers are trained to provide compassionate care, emotional support, financial assistance, and information to help families begin the recovery process.
"I don't mind if they call me in the middle of the night. I'm the kind of person who wants to jump up and help," said Versie on why she volunteers. "It's a blessing to be a part of something that impacts so many people's lives."
Many disaster action team volunteers share Versie's passion for helping others. Whether they've experienced a disaster themselves or simply want to help their neighbors in times of crisis, Red Cross volunteers with the Red Cross is a great way to make a difference.
"I've received blood products at MUSC. I received blood in 2005 while I was three months pregnant at the time," said Versie, a survivor of breast, ovarian, and brain cancer. "I'm not just a volunteer; the Red Cross has impacted me as a blood recipient."
This holiday season, you can give the gift of time. Learn more about urgently needed volunteer positions in your area.
"If you love people, give back," said Versie. "Join the Red Cross and give them a helping hand—you won't regret it."