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: http://bit.ly/2FOAjA4.
|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 redcross.org/volunteer