Thursday, January 12, 2017

Southeast Tennessee Volunteers of the Month, Jan and Larry Turner - December 2016

Jan and Larry Turner were our December Volunteers of the Month.  The Turners have been American Red Cross volunteers in Southeast TN for six years and have worked with multiple positions including, Disaster Assessment, Sheltering, and most recently, Disaster Action Team. Disaster Assessment has become their favorite GAP because they are able to go into disaster affected areas and really see what the clients have gone through.

When asked why they volunteer Jan said “I have had a very blessed life, from my childhood, to my marriage, to my daughter- I felt like I have a lot of payback to do.” She went on to say that she really appreciates how group oriented the chapter in Southeast TN is and enjoys the team effort.

Jan and Larry have deployed three times, with their most recent deployment to Gatlinburg, TN for sheltering during the wildfires. They received a call at 10:00 p.m. the night the fires occurred and started to head that way immediately. After a long night of unloading trailers and preparing shelters Jan and Larry continued to work through the next day. By evening all hotels in the immediate area had filled up, so they ended sleeping in a shelter that night.  Jan was very thankful for the experience of not having housing for her first evening of the deployment. She said that being able to walk into a shelter and know what other families were going through really put into perspective why they volunteer with the American Red Cross.

The Turner’s have met some incredible volunteers along the way and have had great experiences both in the chapter and while deployed. When asked what their favorite memory with the Red Cross is, they shared about a deployment in Florida when they had stopped at a restaurant to get food and the people around them started applauding. Jan and Larry didn’t initially know the applause was meant for them and the work they were doing for Hurricane Matthew until someone told them. This showed them how much the community cared about the work they were there to do.

Jan and Larry Turner are quick to respond if needed without a second thought. We appreciate their flexibility, warm approach to any situation, and willingness to help in all circumstances.

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