Going The Extra Mile

Our Red Cross volunteers are special in so many ways. Their big hearts and selfless acts of service are what our organization appreciates most. One among these special volunteers is Elaine Luke. Elaine is a Disaster Action Team volunteer in Laurel, MS who has volunteered numerous hours of service to the mission of the Red Cross. Elaine is a highly dedicated volunteer who plays a vital part within the Mississippi team. She is most known for going over and beyond in her support to other volunteers throughout the state. “Elaine is always one of the first people to jump in and support however she can,” said Erin Madigan, Disaster Program Manager (DPM). “Whether it’s calling other volunteers, opening shelters, driving Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV), and countless other things, Elaine is always there.”

Elaine’s level of commitment is easily shown having documented over 11,000 hours in multiple roles, from Pillowcase Project presenter to DPM Volunteer Partner. She has also donated 3,600 hours to 23 different Disaster Response Operations (DRO). On those DRO’s she has been assigned to various positions including damage assessment, recovery, sheltering, feeding, and operations management.

Elaine started with the Red Cross in 2014 as an Event-Based Volunteer during a disaster response in Laurel, MS. In 2017, Elaine took on a leadership role as Disaster Program Manager Volunteer Partner for four counties within the Southeast Mississippi Chapter in which she was responsible for new volunteer onboarding, mass care readiness, all preparedness programs, and being the point of contact for local Emergency Management Agencies. Recently promoted to the role of Regional ERV Administrator, Elaine works directly with our National Headquarters (NHQ) Team to coordinate deployment, upkeep, and repairs of all regional ERV’s.

While all of this is an incredible dedication by itself, Elaine has done all of this while battling multiple medical issues. Her dedication to serving clients shines through everything she does, she is a strong advocate not only for the Red Cross client but also for fellow volunteers. She is a trusted Red Cross representative that our partners turn to for information and assistance. “Elaine exemplifies the heart of our volunteers in everything she does, and her spirit and compassion inspire everyone around her,” stated Angie Grajeda, Disaster Workforce Engagement Manager. “I continue to be honored to serve by her side and have great respect for Elaine as a person and for the work she does to serve her community through the Red Cross.”

Friends Who Volunteer Together, Stay Together.

North Alabama volunteers, Kasey Naves and Susan Butler deliver food to people displaced by March 25 tornadoes.

The dedication and compassion of our volunteers is undeniable! �⛑

Volunteer, Kasey Naves rescheduled a medical procedure so that she could be on the ground providing emergency aide to people affected by the tornadoes.

Kasey enlisted the help of her longtime friend and new volunteer, Susan Butler. This is Susan’s first deployment! On Tuesday, Susan and Kasey spent the day driving around to various hotels, delivering hot meals to families who we’ve been able to give emergency shelter to.

“It’s always rewarding because we help so many people. People love the hugs, and we love to hug them (prior to COVID restrictions)”, Naves made the decision to become a Red Cross volunteer after receiving gastric bypass surgery a few years ago. To further her weight loss goals, she joined the Red Cross thinking that she would find plenty of opportunities for getting the recommended amount of exercise and activity she needed.

6 years later, Naves has nearly reached her goal weight and has enjoyed giving back to her community at the same time. �

Nearly 110 trained disaster workers are helping in communities across Alabama; helping people find their new normal as they begin to recover from a disaster.

It’s easy to make a difference…
�Give blood.
⛑Become a volunteer.
� Make a donation.

Visit RedCross.org or RedCrossBlood.org to learn more.