Monday, July 6, 2015

Why I Help (WIH)

By Sharon Alfred and Monique Gooch, Red Cross Volunteer Journalists

Bert Copeland, American Red Cross Nashville Area of Chapter of the Tennessee Region, Nashville, TN
If you’re in the greater Nashville area, and need to be nursed back to health, there is someone special you can call: Bert Copeland, a volunteer with the American Red Cross. He is a long-time volunteer and a licensed registered nurse. He makes sure disaster victims have a quiet place to rest and recover. Copeland works closely with the Gage Cobb, the Red Cross’ regional disaster program manager, to renew shelter agreements and meet with emergency response leaders in the surrounding counties when disaster strikes.

Copeland added that when emergency shelters are opened, he helps to assign health care volunteers to man those shelters. And he knows what needs to be done in emergency situations, because he has personal experience working in intensive care units, as well as Level 1 trauma centers. Additionally, as an on-call Disaster Action Team (DAT) nurse at the Nashville, Tennessee chapter, Copeland “helps victims of disaster get their replacement medications and durable medical equipment that they may have lost.”

He also has an active role in the Red Cross Staff Wellness program. The program makes sure that assigned volunteers are working and staying in a safe place as they fulfill their disaster relief missions. Copeland’s Staff Wellness position involves reviewing health-status records of the local volunteers before they deploy. If he has a few spare minutes, amazingly, he also teaches CPR/First Aid/AED to novice and professional responders.

Copeland has been volunteering with the Red Cross for the past five years. But, Copeland has been a volunteer or a recipient of Red Cross services several times in the distant past too. He recalled that when he was still stationed at an Armed Forces Boot Camp, it was a Red Cross program that allowed him to go back home and be with his family during the trying times brought on by his father’s sudden death and funeral.

Copeland likes to volunteer with the Red Cross organization because he feels that “it is the only national organization that can help people on so many levels.” This type of help is in direct agreement with his personal motto - “When I help you, I am helping myself, and the way I treat you is the way I expect God to treat me.”

Copeland summed it up best when he stated when he volunteers; it seems as though he receives more back than what he initially puts in. He asked rhetorically, “And, what is wrong with that? Who could ask for more?”

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