By Sara Shager
Photos by Betsy Robertson
American Red Cross volunteers Linda Strong and Betty Jackson have been associated with the Greater Inland Northwest Chapter in Wenatchee for three years this fall. “It’s so heartwarming to help the people who have just lived through a disaster,” says Betty. “The volunteer work we do with the Red Cross is so rewarding.”
More than just teammates at the Red Cross, Linda and Betty have been best friends for the past 30 years. They retired from nursing careers at the same time and both then decided to become Red Cross volunteers. “Our strengths and weaknesses complement each other, that’s why we make such a good team,” says Linda.
Betty and Linda mostly work as members of the chapter’s Disaster Action Team (DAT). It is DAT members who respond to such disasters as home fires–providing the immediate on-scene assistance that victims of the disaster require.
Before their work with the DAT team, Linda and Betty tried volunteering in several other areas within the Red Cross. “There is something for everyone at the Red Cross,” says Linda.
In fact, there are five broad service areas within the Red Cross–giving volunteers an opportunity to focus on the area they finding most rewarding. The service areas are Disaster Relief, Blood Services, Training & Certification, International Services and Service to Military Families. “There are so many opportunities at the Red Cross, if one service isn’t a good fit, it’s easy to move to another,” says Linda.
What initially drew the to the Red Cross was the many years they spent in helping people as nurses. “We knew that the Red Cross would be a good fit for us, because we wanted to help people, Linda says. “That’s what the Red Cross is all about.”
If you are interested in volunteering with your local American Red Cross chapter visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer. There are seven local chapters within the Northwest Region,, which serves Washington and the Idaho panhandle. You will find addresses and phone numbers for all the regional chapters at that website.