American Red Cross of Mid-South

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.

Amanda Gilbert: “An e-mail changed my life.”

Amanda GilbertEarlier this year Amanda Gilbert was at a difficult stage in her life. She had been laid off from her job, she was feeling an overwhelming need for useful work, and after taking a close look at her life she was suffering a profound sense of emptiness. Gilbert was feeling a strong urge, a real need, to reach out and be of service.

In the midst of that low point Gilbert received e-mail from the Southern Thunder Harley Davidson dealership in Southaven, Mississippi. It was their monthly calendar of events. Amongst the many motorcycle-oriented offerings was one describing a Super-Saturday Training Program to be put on by the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross. Gilbert responded, received a note of encouragement from Wanda Doyle, Volunteer Coordinator at the Mid-South Chapter, and before she knew it was enrolled in the introductory course for Red Cross volunteers, Disaster Services Overview.

Today, Gilbert is a dedicated and valuable volunteer for the Mid-South Red Cross. She serves as a Captain of a Disaster Action Team (DAT) and also as a Volunteer Intake and Staffing Manager. “Working with the Red Cross has been wonderful. They saved me,” said Gilbert.

As a DAT Captain Gilbert is on call over a weekend once a month to respond to local disasters. Most often this involves a house or apartment fire where persons have been displaced. Her team responds be it night or day, assesses the damage, and provides for the immediate needs of persons displaced by the fire, including housing, emotional care, and resources to provide for needed food, clothing, and medicine that has been lost in the fire.

Gilbert and another Red Cross DAT Captain, Kenneth Brown, recently responded to a multi-unit apartment fire where they had to use all of their training skills to calm the many people affected by the fire to keep the situation from getting out of hand. Then they were effective in assessing and providing for their immediate needs. “We made a good team,” said Gilbert.

In her volunteer job as an Intake and Staffing Manager, Gilbert encourages new Red Cross volunteers to complete the application and training process to become active volunteers and helps them find their most effective and rewarding niche.

Gilbert is a resident of Southaven, Mississippi where she has lived for 24 years. She is a graduate of Southaven High School and the University of Southern Mississippi where she obtained degrees in Criminal Justice and Business. “I now have a wonderful job as a Human Resource Specialist at Hino Motors in Marion, Arkansas,” said Gilbert.

When not working at her job or volunteering for the Mid-South Red Cross, Gilbert enjoys being “cat-mom” to her two felines, Ann and Andy, and tries to find some time to rest. She tells friends who want to know more about her newfound passion as a Red Cross volunteer, “If you want your life to be better, help a complete stranger and don’t wait around for a thank you.”

Profile posted 9/10/2013

Story credit: Robert W. Wallace/American Red Cross

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