Once a Hero, Always a Hero

By Gwen Powell


As Red Cross volunteers, Al and Rena Agnew are heroes, recently helping to open a shelter in Bucksport during Hurricane Matthew.  

And like most people they have a Red Cross story and Al’s begins as a Prisoner of War (POW) in Vietnam.

From the day Al Agnew enlisted in the United States Navy in 1961 until the present, Al has never
Red Cross volunteers and heroes Al and Rena Agnew
faltered from his commitment to his country, his family and his community.

A United States Navy Commander, Al served two tours in Vietnam. On his second tour, his plane was shot down. Stranded in the countryside, he was captured and became a POW. One day, he received a Red Cross package containing toiletries, personal items and some hard candy and a couple of books became his connection. It was his first contact with his previous life.

While Al had known that his aunt was with the Red Cross during World War II, he actually had no first-hand experience with the Red Cross until the day he received that Red Cross package. 

After being released as a POW, continued to serve in the Navy.

After retiring, Al and his wife, Rena, continued to raise their family in his hometown of Mullins, SC. They soon became Red Cross volunteers. From teaching CPR classes and driving emergency response vehicles, their Red Cross story continues today. 

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