Volunteers deserve a word of thanks

Published 5:26 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2017

This week is National Volunteer Week with the American Red Cross, and that means it’s a good time to recognize those who give their time and resources to the organization to help others in need.

Nearly 314,000 volunteers nationwide help to staff blood drives, volunteer at veterans hospitals, teach people first aid and CPR, respond to home fires and more, according to a press release from the Red Cross. In eastern North Carolina, more than 4,000 volunteers help out. Volunteers in this area also helped almost 5,000 families after Hurricane Matthew and the severe flooding in its wake, the release stated.

“They are the leaders in fulfilling our lifesaving mission every day, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for their service,” regional CEO Barry Porter said.

Porter has certainly hit the nail on the head.

Without these volunteers, thousands of families would be without the help they need in their darkest hour. Providing food, clothing and shelter to families after Hurricane Matthew was an indispensable act of kindness. Beaufort County residents were relatively lucky with the flooding that followed Matthew. There was some property damage and extensive crop damage, but many can remember the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irene in 2011, or Hurricane Floyd in 1999. There is nothing like a smiling face or a clean bottle of water during these times.

By the same token, thousands more volunteer their time to give blood donations to the Red Cross. This is another simple way to give back, and yes, it literally saves lives. It’s an easy process, and blood drives happen in the county all throughout each month.

Volunteers prove that there is still good in the world, and there are still good people, as well. Without them, disasters could be a different story.

For more information on how to become a volunteer, visit www.redcross.org.