Friday, June 1, 2018

The 2018 Hurricane Season Has Arrived; Now is the Time to Prepare

Believe it or not: hurricane season has arrived. After a record-breaking season last year, the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross is prepared for whatever storms come South Carolina’s way this season. The Red Cross wants families to begin preparing now for the season.

A Red Cross volunteer hands meals to
a resident of Florida after Hurricane Irma made landfall.
“Our volunteers and staff members have been training throughout the year to be ready to jump into action immediately should a storm make its way to our state,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO. “We urge all South Carolinians, even those away from the coast, to follow the tips below so they can stay safe and prepared this hurricane season.”


  • Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store at
  • Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • Be informed. Learn about the community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets. Take a First Aid and CPR/AED course ( so you know what to do in case emergency help is delayed.
  • Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to select up to 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts on their mobile device. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. The app can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross, texting ‘EMERGENCY’ to 90999, or by going to
If someone already has a disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If they already have an emergency plan for their household, they should talk about it again with family members, so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.

HELP FOR BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, ORGANIZATIONS The Red Cross Ready Rating™ program helps businesses, schools and other organizations prepare for emergencies that can disrupt daily operations. Ready Rating™ offers specific steps that organizations can take to be better prepared. It includes a planning tool to help their employees or members know what their roles are in the early hours of an emergency, what their next steps are, and a resource center with tools that help businesses, employees and students develop and practice preparedness plans. More information about this valuable program can be found at

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

American Red Cross Reminds South Carolinians to Stay Weather Aware

As the threat of heavy rains and the potential for flash flooding comes to South Carolina this Memorial Day weekend, the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross is reminding everyone to stay weather aware.

It is important for everyone to listen closely to local weather forecasts. The Red Cross urges everyone to follow the tips below.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of thunderstorms, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

  •          Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  •          Stay away from floodwaters.
  •          Turn around, don’t drown. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  •          Keep children out of the water.
  •          Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

  •          If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
  •          As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.
  •          If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces at conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
  •          If you are inside a home, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
  •          If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, or tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Red Cross and Partners Install 1122 Smoke Alarms During Sound the Alarm Event in Charleston

Together with its local fire department partners and volunteers, the American Red Cross of Lowcountry SC installed 1,122 smoke alarms during the Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event this past Saturday. The event was held in four communities throughout Charleston County. That number exceeds the goal of 1,000 smoke alarms installed.

Mt. Pleasant resident, Genevieve Habersham, receives a home
fire escape plan from a Red Cross volunteer, Emily.
In addition to installing free smoke alarms, the Red Cross and its partners also replaced batteries in existing alarms and helped families create escape plans. The sponsors included Bank of America, State Farm, G and P Trucking, Elliott Davis, LLC, SC Realtor’s Association, and South of the Border. The Red Cross thanks them all for their participation.

“I am so thankful for our staff members, volunteers and partners who made Saturday’s event incredibly successful,” said Amanda Baldwin, executive director of the Lowcountry SC Chapter. “Throughout the day, I talked to many appreciative residents whose homes are now safer because of the efforts from the Red Cross.”

So far this year in the Lowcountry SC chapter, the Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to 478 people and helped 158 families after a home fire. On average, the Red Cross responds to as many as six home fires every day in South Carolina.

North Charleston resident, Linda Frasier, listens as a Red Cross volunteer from Boeing 
explains the importance of having two ways to exit every room in her home.
Working smoke alarms in a home cut the risk of death by half, and having an escape plan further improves the odds of survival. The Red Cross wants to end these tragedies and save lives, the reason why the organization launched the Home Fire Campaign in 2014.

Across the state, the Campaign is making a difference. As of May 14, the Palmetto SC Region of the Red Cross and its partners across the state have saved at 53 lives.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Ebony Deloach

Ebony Deloach was looking for something more. After graduating from college, she was excited to give back to the community she calls home.

“The most impactful thing for me is helping others,” Deloach said.

So, she began calling around to area non-profits. She found some opportunities but wanted to do more. That’s when she found the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross. For the last five years, Deloach has been a virtual volunteer with Service to the Armed Forces and Disaster Services. 

Ebony is all smiles while talking to Red Crossers
about her passion for the organization.
One of her main responsibilities is to work with families after they experience a disaster, such as a home fire or hurricane.

“It’s important to be able to have them know that I’m going to be there for them as a caseworker to help them through the whole process,” said Deloach.

She has recently been brought on to work with the Red Cross as a full-time employee. It’s a full circle experience, she said. In addition to being a passionate member of the Red Cross team, she is also a champion for those who have disabilities. Deloach must use a wheelchair to get around, but, that’s not stopping her. In addition to working 40 hours a week, she wants to volunteer for 2,000 hours this year.

“It’s important for me to let other people with disabilities know that volunteering with the American Red Cross is possible,” she said. “I have one of the best teams in South Carolina that’s been supporting me for these last five years.”

Deloach is one of the more than 3,000 people who call themselves Red Cross volunteers in South Carolina. More than 90-percent of the Red Cross’ workforce is made up of volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering, go to or call your local Red Cross office.

“It’s the best decision I ever made,” Deloach said. “Whether you have 30 minutes or three hours to give, it’s important to give back.”

Monday, April 30, 2018

Red Cross and Partners Install 1143 Smoke Alarms During Sound the Alarm Event in Greenville

Together with its local fire department partners and volunteers, the American Red Cross of Upstate SC installed 1143 smoke alarms, making more than 350 homes safer during the Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event this past Saturday. The event was held in five areas throughout Greenville. That number exceeds the goal of 1,000 smoke alarms installed.

In addition to installing free smoke alarms, the Red Cross and its partners also replaced batteries in existing alarms and helped families create escape plans. The sponsors included Bank of America, State Farm, G and P Trucking, Elliott Davis, LLC, SC Realtor’s Association, and South of the Border. The Red Cross thanks them all for their participation.

A Red Cross volunteer from Duke Energy explains a fire escape
plan with Greenville resident, Evelyn.
It was incredibly encouraging to see how many people were willing to step in and help out their neighbors this weekend,” said Lisa Colby, executive director for the Upstate SC chapter. “The day was a big success and an important step in educating people about how to stay safe in the event they experience a home fire.”

This community-driven effort comes at a time when the number of people who need assistance from the Upstate SC chapter of the Red Cross after a home fire has increased by 26-percent, compared to the same time period last year (Jan. 1-April 26). So far this year in the Upstate, 765 people have needed assistance from the Red Cross after a home fire.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, the majority of which are home fires. Working smoke alarms in a home cut the risk of death by half, and having an escape plan further improves the odds of survival. The Red Cross wants to end these tragedies and save lives, the reason why the organization launched the Home Fire Campaign in 2014.

A Red Cross volunteer looks on as a firefighter from the
Parker District installs an alarm in the Kasper household.

Across the state, the Campaign is making a difference. As of April 27th, the Palmetto SC Region of the Red Cross and its partners across the state have saved at 51 lives.

To learn more about the Home Fire Campaign, visit Please help us Sound the Alarm by volunteering to install smoke alarms, making a financial contribution, or taking steps to protect your own family from home fires.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Tiffany Circle Hall Legacy: The Snowdens

Nancy Snowden, one of the founding lifetime members of Lowcountry Tiffany Circle, graciously joined our Tiffany Circle Hall along with her daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Sophia.  The Snowden family donated $450,000 not only to honor three generations of Snowden women, but to recognize and support the mission of the American Red Cross (ARC). Inspired by a biography her Mother gave her of Clara Barton and her considerable contributions in establishing the American arm of the Red Cross. There were several notable Clara Barton focus quotes including:

“You must never so much think as whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it.”

“Offering a hand up is not a hand-out.”

“It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I cannot afford the luxury of a closed mind….I have faith in the possibility of something better.”

 “I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.” A woman before her time!

Nancy Snowden

Nancy is an established leader, not only in the Lowcountry, but a leader in her field of clinical research across the U.S. A native of Florence, she became a nurse and served the Red Cross for four years in the late 70’s. She is now the President and Chief Executive Officer of NCGS, a contract research organization which was established in 1984.  Nancy founded NCGS with the mission of impacting health care for the future through the development of new drugs, novel diagnostics and devices.  NCGS’s philosophy is, “the research conducted on these study individuals will impact health care for the future.  These future consumers may not be anonymous; they could just as easily be your parent, sibling or yourself.”  NCGS has contributed to the approval of 58 new products primarily to fight cancer, infectious disease and CNS disorders.

Nancy’s passion for that mission burns as brightly today as it did 33 years ago. She constantly drives home the understanding that every piece of data is critical to the success of a trial, and the data NCGS collects can and will change healthcare for the future.  As respected executive, Nancy’s passion for South Carolinians, Americans and the mission of the American Red Cross is obvious. She truly puts others above herself. Most importantly, she lives her Mother’s legacy of responsibility to share with others and teach the next generation(s) to pick up the banner of giving and helping. Her Mother’s favorite phrase, “to those who are blessed, much is expected.”

Jennifer Snowden
As mentioned, Nancy’s generous donation also honors two other generations in the Snowden family. Her daughter, Jennifer, was born in Charleston and is a proud mother of James Ascher. He is also the namesake of her successful clothing boutique and is a partner in one of the family businesses, NCGS Properties. Jennifer contributed her portion from the profits of this family business. In addition, Jennifer has a massive following on social media, with more than 80,000 followers on Instagram. Prior to Ascher’s birth you could also see her on Bravo’s hit show, Southern Charm.

Sophia Snowden is a third grader at Charleston Collegiate and enjoys spending time with her family and playing with her friends.  Her favorite activities include gymnastics, ice skating and hiking. She appears to be emerging as a talented artist like her father. Though her Dad, Nancy’s son, cannot be part of the Tiffany Circle, he contributed his daughter’s portion of the contribution from profits of the family’s main research company NCGS, Inc. Doug is a partner in that firm.

Sophia Snowden

A final quote from Clara Barton which says it all about supporting the Red Cross and digging deeper within your own soul to be a part of it and attempting to be the example to friend’s family and colleagues to have a Clara Barton kind of heart.  Clara lived to be 90 and was head of the ARC up to her early 80’s. Impressive legacy.

“Although its growth may seem to have been slow, it is to be remembered that it is not a shrub, or plant, to shoot up in the summer and wither in the frosts. The Red Cross is a part of us--it has come to stay--and like the sturdy oak, its spreading branches shall yet encompass and shelter the relief of the nation.”

“Please join my family in supporting the American Red Cross.”: Nancy C. G. Snowden 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

New Red Cross Survey Shows Many Americans Overconfident and Under-prepared for Home Fires

According to a new survey by the American Red Cross, many people overestimate their ability to react to a home fire and miss critical steps to keep their loved ones safe.

Forty percent of people believe they are more likely to win the lottery or get struck by lightning than experience a home fire. Yet, home fires are the most common disaster in this country – the majority of the nearly 64,000 disasters the Red Cross responds to every year across the country.

With comfort kits in hand,
Red Cross disaster workers help a man after his
Sumter home caught fire. 
Throughout South Carolina this year, already more than 2500 people have been impacted by a home fire.

 According to the survey:

·      More than three-fourths (80 percent) of people surveyed believe everyone in their household knows what to do when a smoke alarm goes off. But less than half have a home fire escape plan in place. And only half of the families that do have a plan have actually practiced it.
  • Home fire experts say that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home. However, the survey showed nearly 60 percent of people mistakenly believe they have much more time than is realistic.
  • Even though many admit to actions that could contribute to a home fire, only one out of four (27 percent) people think that they are likely to experience a home fire in their lifetime.
·         About 40 percent of people have forgotten to turn off a stove or oven, even though cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries
·         More than one-third (34 percent) of people have used a stove, kerosene lantern or space heater to warm their home. The fact is that heating equipment is involved in one of every five home fire deaths.
·         Some progress is being made. More people are replacing batteries (a 9 percent increase vs. 2015) and testing to make sure their smoke alarms are working (an 11 percent increase vs. 2015).

Americans overwhelmingly believe that smoke alarms can save lives, yet one out of ten (12 percent) people have had to give up buying other essentials for their families to purchase a smoke alarm. This highlights just how critical the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is. Launched in 2014, the Red Cross and campaign partners have already installed more than 1.1 million free smoke alarms and reached 1 million children through preparedness programs. These efforts are already credited with helping to save 381 lives. Learn more.

SOUND THE ALARM This spring, the Palmetto SC region will Sound the Alarm against home fires on May 12 throughout Charleston County, teaching residents about home fire safety and installing free smoke alarms.

For Greenville, sign-up here:
For Charleston, sign-up here:

Join the Red Cross today by volunteering to install smoke alarms, making a financial contribution, or taking steps to protect your own family from home fires. Together, we can Sound the Alarm about fire safety and help save lives.

This work is made possible thanks to generous financial donations from national partners: Almost Family, Delta Air Lines and International Paper. The Red Cross has also received funding from FEMA through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Supplemental Information about Survey Methodology
The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross in August 2017 using the research firm Issues & Answers. The study was conducted among a national sample of 604 American adults. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 4 percent.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Number of South Carolinians Impacted by Home Fires Increased in March

March was another busy month for disaster-trained volunteers with the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross. 801 South Carolinians called on the Red Cross to help them after a home fire in March. That’s an increase of nearly 16-percent from last year.

The number of families impacted by home fires last month also increased by 24-percent to 285 cases. Every time the Red Cross responds to a fire, the organization provides emergency assistance and guides people through the recovery process.

A Lowcountry SC volunteer helps a woman after a fire
destroyed her home in Ravenel.
“As these numbers show, Red Cross disaster-trained volunteers continue to be very busy helping families recover from devastating home fires,” said Louise Welch Williams, Regional CEO for the Palmetto SC Region. “Families can have as little as two minutes to escape from a fire, which is why it’s so important they have working smoke alarms and a fire safety plan in place.”

The Red Cross remains committed to helping families in that effort. Sound the Alarm is a nation-wide event where volunteers and partners will work to install 100,000 smoke alarms in communities throughout the country. The Palmetto SC Red Cross is still looking for volunteers to help at two signature events in South Carolina: April 28th in Greenville County and May 12th in Charleston County. To sign-up to volunteer, go to

“By volunteering with the Red Cross, someone can truly make a difference in someone’s life,” Williams said. “Please join us and help Sound the Alarm by volunteering on April 28th or May 12th.”

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ed and Dolly Ballard: Love, Marriage and the Red Cross

For six years, Ed and Dolly Ballard have started their days at the American Red Cross of Lowcountry SC’s chapter. They arrive around 6:30 in the morning and spend several hours helping others. At the height of their time with the organization, they spent five days a week volunteering.  The couple, now in their mid-70s, continues to help prevent and alleviate human suffering.

Ed and Dolly Ballard
They don’t just spend time in the Palmetto state, they’ve been across the country to help others.

In fact, they deployed together six times over the last 18 months. They helped folks recover from flooding in Louisiana. They were in Georgia to help after a tornado touched down. They went to Texas twice to help people impacted by Hurricane Harvey and then headed to California. Most recently, they returned from Kentucky after flooding forced people from their homes.

While in the Bluegrass state, they helped throw a surprise 50th birthday party for a woman staying in one of the shelters. You can read that story here:

Deborah Bear hugs Ed after he helped
throw her surprise birthday party.
“It’s a good experience being deployed because you find out a lot of different things, meet a lot of different people,” said Dolly. “It gives you a good feeling that you know you can help these people get back into their own homes or finding a place to go.”

The couple began volunteering with the Red Cross once retirement knocked on their door. When they’re not deployed, they’re organizing shelter locations, teaching young children about fire safety through the Pillowcase Project, and working with survivors of home fires.

“Whatever needs to be done, I’ll do it,” said Ed. “As long as I’m qualified,” he added with a laugh.

Throughout their time with the Red Cross, this couple has helped hundreds, if not thousands of people. While deployments can be difficult, they said it’s all about giving back. It’s all about doing something to help others.

Dolly discusses disaster preparedness with a student
at Pepperhill Elementary.
“It’s gratifying,” Ed said. “Even if you don’t get thanked, you know the thanks is there. We do it because we want to do it.”

“I just don’t want to stay home and do nothing when I can help people,” added Dolly. “I like being out with the people, talking with them.”

If you want to join Ed and Dolly by volunteering with the Red Cross, go to 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Earl Woodberry: A Red Cross Full Circle

In just a matter of hours, Earl Woodberry went from jumping out of planes in the Central American jungle to sitting in Andrews Air Force base with nothing but his rucksack and peaches. Woodberry was a Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne in 1978. He was training in the jungle, when the news came.

“All of a sudden a helicopter came in. A few minutes, the company commander and platoon leader came up and they said, ‘sorry to inform you but your father passed away last night,’” he remembered.

Immediately, Woodberry was on a helicopter and then a plane to North America. After several trips, 
Woodberry landed at Andrew’s AFB in the middle of the night, with no money.

“You didn’t need money in the jungle,” Woodberry said with a laugh.

He’d have to rely on his c-rations to get him by. To make matters more difficult, the only plane available to take him to Fort Bragg, NC was a C-130 Blackbird.  That would allow him travel on to Mullins, SC for his father’s funeral.  He didn’t have a security clearance, which meant no flight out until late the next morning.

That changed after a conversation with a General who stumbled upon Woodberry sitting by himself on his rucksack.

“A few minutes later, this lady in a Red Cross dress and uniform came up to me and said, ‘Sergeant, I understand that you don’t have any money. I have this check and need you to sign it. Then, I’ll cash it for you,’” he recollected.

In addition to getting him money immediately, the Red Cross and the General found a way to get Woodberry home on that C-130.

Fast forward 40 years -- Woodberry has found a new purpose: helping military families throughout Lowcountry. His Woodberry’s position is possible because of a grant through AmeriCorp’s Frontline Families program.  A retired school teacher from Berkeley County, he now briefs service members and their families about Red Cross services before they’re deployed.

Earl Woodberry stands next to a car full of American Girl
dolls to distribute to daughters of
deployed military men and women.
“Lots of times, we’ll see a service member deploy, and their spouses don’t know what to do when an emergency happens. We want them to get to know us before they need us.”

While it’s been forty years since he needed help, what remains a defining memory for Woodberry was the sight of that Red Cross uniform in the middle of the night.

“I remember it so well because it was like 3 o’clock in the morning, and the Red Cross was there, bright and early to help. It’s one of those things I’ve never forgotten,” he said.

 For more information on how the Red Cross helps service members, their families and veterans, go to

Monday, March 5, 2018

Kacky Elliott: Decades of Dedication

60 years.

That’s about how long Kacky Elliott has been volunteering with the American Red Cross. Back in 1957, Elliott took her first Water Safety Instructor course and has not stopped volunteering with the Red Cross since. She holds the distinction of being the longest serving American Red Cross volunteer in South Carolina. 

Elliott smiles alongside two of her students in June 2017.
After her training, Elliott started teaching Red Cross swim lessons at summer camps. During her time at one camp in 1958, Elliott realized what she wanted to be when she grew up.

“Most of the counselors were gals who were teachers, and so I thought, ‘Well they seem to be a happy lot, so I think that’s what I’ll head myself toward doing,’” she remembered.

Elliott would go on to teach for decades, retiring from Augusta Circle Elementary School in 1995. In addition to teaching, she continued to teach swimming lessons for both adults and children through the Red Cross. She has taught in Georgia, South Carolina and in New Jersey.
Elliott's Water Safety Instructor Card from 1957.

She particularly remembers her time in the Garden State, when her Southern accent proved a bit difficult for some children to understand as she explained not running around the pool.

“They all had these perplexed expressions on their faces, and I thought, ‘Am I not making myself clear?’ One little girl raised her hand and said, ‘What is a pool?’ They weren’t sure what I was talking about when I said pool with a Southern accent,” Elliott said with a laugh.

In addition to camps, Elliot also taught from time-to-time in neighborhood pools. When parents tried to pay her, Elliott wouldn’t have it.

Elliott at Furman University' in May 1999.
“I would either ask they donate the money to the Red Cross in my honor or whatever I collected, I would donate to the Red Cross,” she said. “I’ve been very pleased with the positive responses from the Red Cross here in Greenville County.”

Elliott has been honored by the Red Cross several times. She won the Clara Barton Award for Female Volunteer of the Year in 2001 and 2008. Her greatest joy nowadays is teaching children of her former students, while showing no sign of slowing down. 

“I’ll keep teaching swimming as long as I’m physically able and mentally capable,” Elliott said while laughing.

To find swimming classes near you, go to If you want to join Elliott as a volunteer, you can do so at

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

From Hiking to Houston: A Volunteer's Journey

Deb Logan looked out of a second-story window at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing: thousands of people left wondering if Hurricane Harvey spared their homes.

Deb had been volunteering with the American Red Cross of Upstate SC for just four months. Her first deployment was to Houston, five days after Harvey roared ashore.

“Just seeing all those people who couldn’t go home, it was heartbreaking,” she said.

Deb is a registered nurse. Her main responsibility in Houston was to take care of volunteers, some of whom walked 15 to 20 miles a day throughout the convention center. Even with blisters and cramps, Deb said the volunteers kept working. She called the dedication ‘overwhelming.’

She would be in Houston for several weeks. When she returned to her home in Clemson, Hurricane Irma knocked out her power and downed a large tree in her yard. But, just a few weeks after that, Deb was on a plane again. This time to Santa Rosa, California. Once again, she took care of volunteers who were sick and exhausted but kept going.

While Deb was driving around a devastated neighborhood one day, she saw a tattered American Flag. Perhaps it was weighted down with a layer of grief for what that area was going through. Still, though, that flag flew as best it could.

“I thought, ‘That really is what America is about: We are all here helping each other and we are going to take care of each other as a nation,’” she said.

She would return home only to fly out to California again. It was her third deployment in her eight-month tenure with the Red Cross. Deb was going to take some time off, but one night she saw video of flames devastating lives and destroying homes.

“I saw this fire, and I thought OK, I’ve got to go,” she remembered.

Why does she do it? Deb said earlier this year, she was enjoying retirement. She was training to hike the Appalachian Trail. It was strenuous, she said. And then she had a thought.

“I realized there’s not a lot of meaning in this other than a personal achievement. I was working really hard, and I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I work hard to help people?’”

While the deployments have not been easy, Deb said they’ve been rewarding. She’s one of nearly 200 disaster-workers from South Carolina who have deployed all over the country to help people recover from disasters since August. For Deb, it’s not about her fatigue. It’s about the people she’s helped.

“I just have a heart for these people who are going through such tragedy,” Deb said. “I get something back because it really gives me a purpose in my life and retirement.”

A purpose tied together with a mission of alleviating human suffering.

Nearly 90-percent of the Red Cross’ workforce is volunteer based. That’s why the Duke Energy Foundation has provided $45,000 to branches of the American Red Cross across South Carolina to support its efforts of recruiting and training volunteers, just like Deb. These funds enable the Red Cross to enhance its volunteer base in critical areas throughout the state to ensure that well-trained volunteers are always ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, click here

Monday, November 27, 2017

Give with Meaning this Giving Tuesday

November brings with it a chance for all of us to stop and give thanks. It’s a time to reflect upon the joys of life. And we want to use this time to give thanks for you. These last few months have been unprecedented, with three historic hurricanes, a mass shooting in Las Vegas, and wildfires in California.

We could not have responded without your help. We have realized just how generous South Carolina can be. Even young students have wanted to donate to our mission.

Earlier this month, we received a special donation and a heartfelt letter from the Junior Beta Club at Moultrie Middle School in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Over the last few weeks, the students held a donut fundraiser and sold Halloween Candy Grams to collect money for the Red Cross’ hurricane relief fund. At the end of the fundraiser, the students and faculty at Moultrie raised $850. We are honored they wanted to donate the money to the Red Cross. Their humility and desire to help have set such a fine example.
The Junior Beta Club raised $850!

Donations help the Red Cross meet its mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering. Here’s what that looks like:

Disaster-trained volunteers are in your neighborhood, helping people who’ve been impacted by a home fire or other disasters. In fact, volunteers respond to a home fire every 3.9 hours, on average. That’s as many as six fires a day. On Thanksgiving Day, the Palmetto SC region of the American Red Cross helped 23 people after home fires throughout the state.

And the work doesn’t end with home fires.

Across the state last year, the Red Cross trained more than 31,000 people in lifesaving skills such as first aid, CPR and water safety. Volunteers and staff were in contact with nearly 27,000 military personnel and family members. And volunteers were in communities installing more than 26,000 smoke alarms.

Your Red Cross is there every day and every night to provide hope, care, and comfort.

Today is Giving Tuesday - a time when the public gives so generously to non-profit organizations. Today, we urge you to give something that means something. Whether it’s a donation of your time, of money or of blood.

Join with the Red Cross and caring people around the globe to make an impact on #GivingTuesday. Every gift counts. Please joins to make a difference and #GiveWithMeaning. Click here to donate!