The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Will Alton is our January 2018 volunteer of the month for the Mid-South Red Cross.
Why do you serve?
“I believe in being one of the first people to help pick someone up when they fall, and the Red Cross provides me with the ability to be there for my community.”
What is your first memory of the American Red Cross? Do you have a personal connection to the organization?
“My first memory was in a Red Cross CPR/AED course when the instructor passed out information on volunteering. Not long after, Hurricane Matthew struck, and my interest [in the Red Cross] spiked. I didn’t get in [my application] in time to deploy for Matthew, but I was able to join the DAT team…and I have been serving since.”
As it relates to the ARC, of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?
“I am most proud of being able to become one of the Chapter’s youngest members of volunteer leadership, assuming volunteer leadership of Logistics at age 19 in August of 2016. Also, I’m very proud of my efforts during the back to back disasters, starting with the Tree Storm in May 2017, to the 3 evacuation supports in the summer of 2017, from operating shelters to running Logistics while Alex was deployed in Georgia.”
What has surprised you most about working with the ARC?
“What has surprised me most is the sheer amount of disasters the Red Cross responds to on a daily basis. “
Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?
“Of course. My girlfriend Hannah, who is also a Red Cross volunteer, has been a huge supporter in my service, along with my father, my mother, and my stepmother, who have all been extremely supportive of my actions. Outside of family, my Red Cross family has been extremely helpful and supportive of my journey.”
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
[laughing] “What tends to surprise most people is that I’m only 20 years old!”
Do you have an anecdote about the organization that really moved you?
“I have quite a few, but my favorite is back in the Tree Storm of 2017. I was working an overnight shift in the shelter at the Orange Mound Community Center. This was my first true disaster experience outside of house fires. Watching members of my community telling me stories about how the storm affected them, seeing the appreciation people showed for our help, and knowing that my actions were making a difference in my hometown really stuck with me.”
What might you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?
“If you want your actions to make a real difference, even if only to a family or two at a time, join the Red Cross.”