Red Cross volunteer aids citizen in need of medical help

By Mark Mason


There are no ‘wrong turns’ on the road of life. Nobody knows that better than American Red Cross Volunteer Marian Green who recently came to the aid of a woman suspected of having a heart attack. Marian manages the Red Cross Donation Center in Lumberton, North Carolina.

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, after a busy morning of sorting out donations for the victims of Hurricane Matthew, Marion decided to make a lunch run for her staff.

“I took a wrong turn and got lost, so I pulled into a gas station to ask for directions and I noticed the attendant wasn’t looking very well,” said Marian, who is a retired Emergency Medical Technician. “I saw that she was having trouble breathing so I had her sit down. She had all the indications of someone having a heart attack… I asked her if I could call for help and she said, ‘OK.’ When the ambulance arrived, they evaluated her and immediately rushed her to the emergency room.”

After hearing the news of what had happened, Red Cross Volunteers at the donation center gave their supervisor a well-deserved standing ovation.


The Hospital was unable to comment on the victims condition.

Red Cross supports state fair amid storm recovery


While hundreds of Red Cross disaster relief volunteers helped residents of eastern North Carolina recover from Hurricane Matthew, several health and safety volunteers helped manage one of North Carolina’s most beloved traditions—the North Carolina State Fair.

Every year, thousands attend the North Carolina State Fair, a 10-day event, to celebrate the best of the Tar Heel state with unique food, carnival games, rides and live entertainment.

Red Cross health and safety volunteers play a key role at the fair. These volunteers help fair attendees who are suffering from minor and major medical conditions, including, but not limited to, heat exhaustion, dehydration, cuts, bruises, vomiting, asthma attacks and headaches.

For Larry Cockrell, a Red Cross veteran and volunteer shift supervisor, 2016 marks his 38th year volunteering at the fair. He said as shift supervisor, he helps with an array of situations.

“I help coordinate teams in the field, handle what’s going on in this building, mop, oversee paperwork, settle any disputes and prioritize who helps when,” Cockrell said.

Red Cross health and safety volunteers are trained in CPR and first aid courses that teach life-saving skills and help respond in an emergency situation. Some volunteers become health and safety volunteers because they have a medical background and want to serve their community.

“I was in EMS and looked for a way to use my skills,” said Carrie Franklin, a Red Cross volunteer of four years. “I’ve been a contributor to Red Cross for years, so when this opportunity for health and safety came up, it was a no-brainer.”

For some, this is their first time volunteering with the Red Cross. Lisa Hubbard, a rookie volunteer, said, “I hadn’t done it before but with all the storm stuff and increase talk about the Red Cross, I wanted to help. This is my first time [volunteering], and it has been great. Watching everyone come together, knowing everyone has other full-time jobs, to work on this, it’s very enjoyable.”

If you are interested in being a Red Cross volunteer, please visit

By Emma Kirkpatrick

PHOTO: Red Crosser Bill Koch volunteers at the fair. Courtesy Sharon Penn. 

Canadian Red Cross Worker Inspires Her Family to Volunteer

By Courtney Wilson, Canadian Red Cross Public Affairs


It can be difficult to work in a disaster situation. You meet people who have lost everything, and you see communities that have been completely devastated. The days are long and the work is hard, and when you get home it can be challenging for loved ones to truly understand what you have experienced.

Sarah Oberholzer, from the Canadian Red Cross was deployed to Goldsboro, North Carolina to support the American Red Cross response to Hurricane Matthew.

Having deployed multiple times to provide aid and relief to people that have been affected by a disaster or conflict, this time Sarah was able to share a bit of her experience with some of her family.

Sarah’s aunt and cousin, Renee and Lauren respectively, are from High Point, North Carolina, and travelled to the Red Cross disaster response headquarters in Goldsboro to see Sarah in action and to lend a hand to hurricane affected families.


Lauren, playing with children in a Red Cross supported shelter in North Carolina.

“It was really good to see how people can actually make a difference for others and be so selfless and contribute so much,” Lauren said of the experience. “It was good to see how much [Sarah] loves [her] job and how that should be a goal for my future.”

The feeling was mutual. “It was amazing to be able to share this with them and expose them to what I do in the field,” Sarah said.

The Red Cross would not be able to do the work we do if it wasn’t for so many dedicated volunteers. We are so grateful for all of our volunteers, including Lauren and Renee. If you are interested in volunteering please visit


Oldest Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle Driver Assisting in North Carolina

By Red Cross Public Affairs, Charlotte Rodriguez and Rich Woodruff


Bruce Travis, from Shawnee, Oklahoma, will soon be 90 years old, and is likely the oldest Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) driver at the Red Cross.   

After several disasters in their home state of Oklahoma, Bruce and his wife, Pam, wanted to help but felt that they needed training to properly assist.  “We wanted to have the knowledge needed to help,” Pam said.  “So we signed up to take Red Cross classes.”

Bruce and Pam took every disaster training course the Red Cross had to offer in their area; from sheltering, to feeding, and even case work.  It was after they took Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) training that they knew they found their calling. That was 17 years ago, and they are still driving an ERV and volunteering for the Red Cross until this day.


Deploying is not new to the hard-working couple, as they have assisted in approximately twenty other disasters across the United States.  Most recently, they flew to Missouri to drive an ERV to North Carolina to help with the impacts of Hurricane Matthew.

Four years ago, Bruce suffered a heart attack, but it has not slowed him down.  According to Bruce, “My good health is a result of healthy eating, exercise, and faith in God.”   Pam agrees that he is “healthy as a horse!”  The couple have no plans to slow down and look forward to helping again, wherever and whenever needed.

Red Cross Welcomes Beautiful Baby Boy

By Courtney Wilson, Canadian Red Cross Public Affairs

Fleeing your home due to an impending disaster would be difficult for anyone, but for Yanci Flores and her family it was particularly scary, as she was almost 40 weeks pregnant.

Yanci, her husband, and their five children were forced to flee their home in Princeville, North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew hit the coast causing devastating flooding. That was over two weeks ago, and since then the family has been staying in a Red Cross supported shelter in Pitt County.

“The Red Cross workers have all been very good,” Yanci says of the shelter staff. “Especially Nolan.” Nolan is a Red Cross nurse that has been working in the shelter and caring for Yanci. He was able to track down a medical cot for her so that she would be more comfortable in the shelter until she gave birth.

Yesterday morning, Yanci and her husband welcomed Jacob, a beautiful and healthy baby boy, to the world. Both mom and baby are still in the hospital, and are doing very well. They are expected to be released on Saturday.

“Yanci’s biggest worry right now is where they will go once they are discharged from the hospital,” explains Rod Cook, a Red Cross leader who has been closely working with the Flores family.

Rod and his team put together a gift basket for Yanci and Jacob, with donations from the community including, diapers, baby wipes, nursing pads and other essentials. “We want to make sure they are as comfortable as they can be, and have everything they need,” says Rod.


When Rod delivers it to Yanci her face lights up and tears well up in her eyes. “Gracias,” she says to Rod. The gift basket was a sigh of relief for the new parents. With all of their preparation for Jacob’s arrival, they were worried about how they would get newborn essentials.

Red Cross is working with community partners to figure out a long-term solution for the family and their new bundle of joy.


Volunteering Spans Generations for Arizona Family

Grandfather, Grandson in North Carolina Helping with Hurricane Response

Alejandro Reynoso is trying to teach his grandson a lesson. His classroom is a Red Cross emergency response vehicle.

Mr. Reynoso and his grandson, 18-year old Dominic drove the ERV from Arizona to North Carolina to help people affected by Hurricane Matthew.


“I think we should all take some time to contribute to society,” Mr. Reynoso says.  “It’s more of a duty.”

Dominic just graduated from high school, and isn’t sure what he wants to do in the future.  But for the present, he and his grandfather are busy dishing out bratwurst and baked beans, canned pears and potato chips to North Carolina residents impacted by flooding and other storm damage.

They make a good team.

“That lady told me she hadn’t eaten in three days,” Dominic says of one Whiteville resident, who received food prepared by the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization.  He gave her two meals and a case of bottled water.  “She said she has no water either.”img_2663

Mr. Reynoso is a Vietnam veteran who left his engineering firm to volunteer in North Carolina.  “That’s the price you pay.  It’s unconditional.  The reward is being asked to come back.”

That is the lesson he hopes to impart on his grandson.

If you would like to volunteer for the Red Cross, log onto



“Mama Queen” Helps the Red Cross Feed a Neighborhood

When the Red Cross emergency response vehicle pulled into the parking lot of the Kent Place Apartment complex in Whiteville, North Carolina, Carrie Jessup took charge.


Carrie Jessup of Whiteville, North Carolina

“Park over there, in the shade,” she commanded.

“They call me Mama Queen.  I just take care of them.”

Carrie was referring to her neighbors, most of them parents with young children.  “Mama Queen” helped distribute the lunches the Red Cross crew was there to deliver.

The bratwurst, baked beans, peaches and potato chips were prepared by the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief operation, in the mobile kitchen they assembled at the Western Prong Baptist Church.


As of Monday, October 17, the Red Cross and community partners had served more than 346,000 meals and snacks to the people of North Carolina who have been affected by flooding and other damage done by Hurricane Matthew.  5 kitchens and 111 emergency response vehicles have been mobilized, along with about 1,300 Red Cross workers.

80 meals were served at the Kent Place Apartments Tuesday afternoon.

“We appreciate your being here,” Carrie said.

The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief during disasters You can help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Photos and story: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross