Actions, not words
The caring and concern for others by eastern North Carolina folks extends 3,000 miles to California.
This week, six area residents left the comfort of their homes and lives to help victims of wildfires on the West Coast. It’s only natural that some folks in this area responded to calls to help people in distress elsewhere. People in northeastern North Carolina know about such responses. Over the years, people from across the United States answered the call when our folks needed help after devastating hurricanes left ruin and wreckage behind them.
Now, six of our folks are repaying part of those debts.
Tom Fenn, Bruce Jarvah, Rose and Jim Andrew, Cynthia Swarner and LaVerne Buck are serving as American Red Cross volunteers in Southern California. While serving there, they are, figuratively, carrying the banner of the Beaufort County chapter of the American Red Cross.
They aren’t staying in a nice hotel or even an average motel while in Southern California. The volunteers will be residing in a high-school auditorium. They are sharing those accommodations with approximately 300 evacuees.
Some of the volunteers are used to such living conditions.
This past spring, Fenn and Jarvah helped tornado victims in Florida. Also this year, Fenn assisted flood victims in Minnesota. Two years ago, Jarvah and Fenn helped victims of Hurricane Katrina.
While in California, the volunteers won’t be paid for their efforts. Any compensation they receive will come in the form of smiles on the faces of people who have lost loved ones and property because of the wildfires. They will be rewarded when a wildfire victim offers a heart-felt “thank you” for giving that victim a cup of water, a hot meal or encouragement.
As they labor 3,000 miles from home, the volunteers are doing more than helping wildfire victims. They are helping others by providing outstanding examples of strangers caring for strangers.
Don’t forget these local Red Cross volunteers are some of the same people who help area families when they lose their homes to fires. The volunteers are some of the same people who conduct blood-donation drives in the area. They are same volunteers who help organize and support CPR and first-aid classes.
These are the folks who also respond to disasters at home. They are the ones who helped area residents in the wakes of hurricanes Bertha, Fran and Floyd in the late 1990s.
This week, a Red Cross spokesman in Southern California has noted that Red Cross volunteers offering help to victims are receiving help from the communities they are serving.
That’s the lesson that Red Cross volunteers have taught for years — helping others results in more and more people helping others.
Red Cross volunteers have done more than learn that lesson. They’ve put what they’ve learned into practice. Actions speak louder than words.
Beaufort County’s Red Cross volunteers are letting their actions speak for them. Those actions send a simple but meaningful message: Someone cares.