The event was a time for fellowship for those affiliated with the chapter as well as those who were interested in volunteering with the Red Cross.
“It takes everybody to do the Red Cross and this is just a sample of what we do and who we are,” said Peggy Mann, community chapter executive of the Talladega-St. Clair chapter of the Red Cross.
The office was adorned with Christmas decorations and various dishes brought in from Talladega-St. Clair chapter employees.
Kathy Capps had a special presentation that involved donating a vintage Red Cross nurse’s uniform that belonged to her Aunt Elizabeth to the chapter.
Capps pulled out an old folded Sept. 10, 1966 edition of The Daily Home newspaper that she said her aunt used to keep her hat in shape.
“I think you all are a marvelous, wonderful organization,” Capps said. “I wanted to donate this to the Red Cross because she was one of their most devoted Red Cross volunteers.
“She was most devoted and most influential and loved the Red Cross the most. I can’t think of a safer more beautiful place for her uniform to be than the place that she loved the most.”
The event also honored Gerald Mortz, volunteer coordinator for the Talladega-St. Clair chapter, who had just returned from being dispatched to New York City to aide in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Mortz was dispatched to New York City on Thursday, Nov. 15 and returned Sunday.
“It was devastating, but it was a learning experience,” Mortz said. “You hear a lot of stories of New Yorkers but they are nice people.”
Mortz said that a plethora of Red Cross chapters were represented in New York helping with relief efforts and that he was able to build relationships with those other chapters as well as make really good friends.
“You meet everyone from different states and different walks of life,” Mortz said.
While there, Mortz said that he was able to take a new training course called “Collaboration Essentials,” and brush up on another course called “Psychological First Aid.”
Mortz first started volunteering with the Red Cross in the mid-70s until 1992 where he said he backed away from doing it for a while until the 2011 tornadoes made their way through Alabama.
He said that he has been heavily involved in the Red Cross ever since.
Mortz said that while dispatched in New York City, it wasn’t just their police department getting involved, but their fire department, and citizens that also wanted to help.
“The biggest impression I got was when I met a New York City police officer that when she got off work went to help volunteers, then she’d go back to work again. She did this everyday,” Mortz said.
“It wasn’t like she wasn’t doing her job everyday as a police officer, she wanted to do more.”
Mortz said that if he could sum up his experience in one word, he simply said: “Awesome. We don’t give up; we’re fighting to get back what’s ours.
“Sandy didn’t whip us.”
Contact Aziza Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.