By MaryJane Mudd, American Red Cross
Becky Ledford stood up straight and looked into the camera. “Once the trucks pull out of Southeast Texas and the guts and glory and all the bells and whistles are gone, the American Red Cross will still be here,” said the Orange, Texas resident. “Let’s rally around each other and volunteer because flood recovery will go on for a long time.
Ledford, an administrator for CHRISTUS Southeast Texas, has also been a longtime Red Cross volunteer. Becky’s sister, Tina Wise, a hair stylist at Magic Touch Salon and also a dedicated volunteer, stood beside her at the Red Cross Orange County warehouse and reinforced the point.
“Volunteers are needed here all year long,” said Wise, a Mauriceville, Texas resident. “Beyond the long-term flood recovery, there are multi-family fires where volunteers comfort people who’ve lost their homes. There are opportunities to help veterans who have served our country. There are important fundraising events like our August Golf Tournament, too. There’s something for everyone.”
Both sisters were busy at the warehouse managing the delivery of items like hygiene kits, food and clean-up kits to flood victims. When they learned the Red Cross was creating a short video to recruit local volunteers, they made time to participate. “We can take a few moments for this,” Becky said. “It’s so important.”
Volunteering is personal for Becky. Hurricane Rita damaged her home in 2005 and left her family without electricity for three weeks. In 2008 Hurricane Ike destroyed her daughter’s home with six feet of water. The Red Cross was there each time, serving hot meals and distributing clean-up items.
“That made a big impact on my life, to know that someone was coming to help us; that people were there for us,” she said. This in turn encouraged her to follow in the footsteps of Tina, who had been volunteering for quite a while.
Today, Tina and Becky are known throughout the Southeast and Deep East Chapter of the American Red Cross for their compassion and dedication to helping others.
Before returning to their tasks at the warehouse, both sisters expressed their gratitude for out-of-state Red Cross volunteers who dropped everything to aid their community. Even so, their eyes are on the future.
“We are a community,” said Becky. “We need to work together to stay strong, now and throughout the year. The need is ongoing and the work is rewarding. I hope citizens right here in Orange and surrounding counties will join us and be Red Cross volunteers.”
See Becky and Tina share their story here: Sisters Give Back (Video by Roberto Baltodano, American Red Cross)
If you would like to be a Red Cross volunteer, please go to redcross.org and apply today.