Volunteer Stories: Why They Give Back

North Carolina Residents Help Neighbors Following Hurricane Matthew

Leween and James McIntosh joined hands with members of a family who had taken refuge from Hurricane Matthew inside a shelter at Burgaw Middle School, and said grace.  The Red Cross volunteers then joined the family for a Sunday dinner of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and beans, prepared by school cafeteria workers.

It will be some time before the family of India Davis will have a home cooked meal.  Their Pender County home was destroyed by a tree that fell during the storm.

“It’s a miracle no one was hurt,” said the grandmother of two rambunctious boys.

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The McIntoshes are Red Cross caseworkers who helped the Davis family obtain initial assistance, and who will help them develop a plan for recovering from the losses they suffered.  They have been Red Cross volunteers for just over a year.

Following Sunday supper, Red Cross volunteers Luis Diaz and his son Eric got busy assembling cots for the night ahead, while Luis’ wife Anabela completed required paperwork.  The Diaz family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina from New York several years ago, for the lower cost-of-living and better schools. Luis says he began volunteering with the Red Cross 10 years ago.  He started as a community relations liaison, and now helps people during disasters.

“I wanted to give back to the community.”

It wasn’t long before Anabela began to volunteer as well. She, too wanted to give back.

“I liked the activities, what he was doing, and what he was giving to the community.”

Their son Eric became a volunteer when he turned 18.

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Volunteers like the McIntosh and Diaz families are essential to the mission of the American Red Cross. More than 90% of the Red Cross workforce is comprised of volunteers, people who, like the McIntosh and Diaz family help their neighbors when disaster strikes.

Log onto redcross.org to learn more about becoming a volunteer.

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

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