Red Cross seeking local volunteers

Published 2:11 pm Monday, September 28, 2015

The American Red Cross is low on volunteers in Chilton County and is hoping to build up the volunteer base.

“Right now, we have one amazing volunteer in Chilton County,” Volunteer Associate for Central and East Alabama Lauren White said. “Whenever there is a disaster in Chilton County, this is the volunteer that goes out and meets with the victims of the disaster. If he is not available then volunteers from other counties have to drive to Chilton County to respond to the disaster. This means that people have to wait for assistance for hours or sometimes days. By having more volunteers in Chilton County, we can get people the help they need faster.”

White said the American Red Cross responds to 70,000 disasters in the country including home fires, hurricanes and floods.

“When a disaster strikes, American Red Cross volunteers respond to the scene of a disaster to help individuals find their immediate disaster-caused needs,” White said. “This typically includes assisting victims with finding shelter and providing funds for food. Nurses and mental health professionals that volunteer with the American Red Cross can also provide first aid, psychological first aid and help disaster victims obtain their prescriptions that they normally take.”

Michael Williams has been the sole volunteer for Chilton County when he started volunteering more than a year ago.

“I had previously volunteered for the Red Cross when I lived in Columbus, Ga., and then I moved to Chilton County and decided to volunteer in this community,” Williams said. “I am retired and disabled, and I was looking for something to do where I could help people.”

Although there is no typical day for Williams, he often spends his days assisting people in need.

“If someone’s house catches on fire, I am there to help them with making sure they have everything they need like a place to stay, clothing and food,” Williams said.

Williams said as a volunteer, he enjoys helping individuals, which is one of the main reasons he loves his job.

“You get a good feeling when you do something to help other people,” Williams said. “As a Christian, I also feel that God wants me to reach out and help who I can.”

Williams works out of an office in Chilton County located behind BB&T bank in Clanton and near the Chilton County Extension Office.

White said volunteering with the American Red Cross is flexible, and volunteers can work when their schedule allows.

Most of the training required for a volunteer is completed online, but some is hands-on. All volunteers must be 18 years or older.

“I think a lot of people work and don’t really know for sure if they would have time to do it,” Williams said. “We are always needing people, though, and it would be great to have more volunteers.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can visit and fill out an online application, or call White at (334) 260-4023.