Millie Douglas remembers the moment that changed her life so she could start changing the lives of others.
"I was watching the people in New Orleans with no water, no food and in the heat,'' she says. "and I was yelling, ‘do something.'‘'
Four days after seeing the first reports of Hurricane Katrina, Doulas was in an orientation class with the American Red Cross, learning what she would be doing more than fulltime for the next nine years.
"We go to the scene of the fire, we meet with the incident commander, he introduces us to the client,'' Douglas said of her work of responding to a variety of emergency situations. "They're distraught a lot of them. They don't know what they are going to do and it makes you feel good that you've helped someone.''
Douglas is the Savannah Red Cross chapter's lead client caseworker.
She covers 25 counties and works roughly 60 hours a week, as a volunteer. And that does not include the time she spends responding to fires and other emergencies at any time of the day or night.
"I did the sugar refinery,'' Douglas said. "And I've been deployed two or three times.''
And every time Douglas and her disaster action team are providing the first form of comfort for people who have lost everything.
"If you know anything about the Red Cross,'' Douglas says, "we're a bunch of huggers. We're always hugging. So it's always good, a client likes to be hugged. They just lost their house or their apartment, they may or may not have insurance.''
But a Red Cross client does have Douglas following up after a disaster, seeing to their needs, setting them back on the feet.
"Just the little amount we provide gives them hope,'' she says. "I love it, I love every minute of it. I'm always sad for the client when we got to a fire, but I'm so glad we're there and can help them.''
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