Myra Cole took an interesting path to becoming a Red Cross volunteer who criss-crosses the country when disaster hits. Sas was raised on Long Island, attended Washington University in St. Louis then settled in Chappaqua with her husband, working as a social worker for more than twenty years before the events of September 11th inspired her to get involved.
“After 9/11, I decided to get back into the things so I took a job with Habitat for Humanity in Westchester,” Cole said. “Then Hurricane Katrina happened and there was just too much devastation that I felt I couldn’t sit and look at it anymore. I had to do something about it.”
Later Cole got an e-mail from her social work organization asking for volunteers with social work skills to call and volunteer their services to the American Red Cross. She took that leap and has been on the go ever since.
“It’s been an interesting road but I’m glad I’ve been able to do this, to be able to go for two weeks and do something really good,” Cole said.
Cole admitted that it can be trying at times to be in such devastated areas where the residents are displaced, despondent and missing hope.
“It’s really more gratifying when you come back,” Cole said. “When you’re there, you’re just tired and sad and you need to keep yourself focused and remember why you’re there.”
Once near the disaster area, Cole often provided people with food, shelter, important information as well as their necessary medications.
“Information is a very powerful tool, more so than money at times, Cole said.”
Cole has volunteered in Hurricane Katrina, the wildfires in San Diego, tornadoes in Tuscaloosa as well as local disasters like the fire at a Con Edison substation in Yonkers and the deadly bus crash on the Bronx-Westchester border this March.
If you’re interested in volunteering with the Red Cross, please contact Myra Cole at 914-946-6500 ext.302 or at email@example.com.