By Dani Mallis
The American Red Cross through the years has adapted to the needs of our communities and created Mental Health Services in 1992. Jan Jordan of West Des Moines, Iowa, is a Mental Health Volunteer and has served for four years. She has gone above and beyond as a volunteer to care for her community and her peers.
“There is something for everyone's skills and talents. Every small action is a contribution,’’ said Jordan. Jordan’s motivation to volunteer came from what she saw on television. “I was very struck watching the Hurricane Katrina aftermath on TV and Red Cross involvement. I tried to volunteer while I was still employed. My job was so consuming that I could not make it work. So, I had to wait until I was retired and had stopped doing contract work.”
Jordan continues her Red Cross work because "there are so many interesting jobs in the American Red Cross,” she said. “I started out doing Disaster Action Team. Then I did casework for three years. I learned to drive the Emergency Response Vehicle and did feeding out of it with my husband at Hurricane Florence. For the past two-plus years, I've been very focused on Disaster Mental Health and making the team accessible.”
One of Jordan’s favorite memories as a volunteer is her last in-person deployment in the fall of 2019 at Tropical Storm Imelda. “I did Disaster Mental Health in a district, and I got to do a little of everything we do in Disaster Mental Health: shelter support, Integrated Condolence Care Team, supporting the kitchen and feeding and working a Multi-Agency Resource Center,” Jordan said. “It was great to experience the variety of our work, and I was on a great small team with a mentoring supervisor.”
During that deployment, she was assigned to do Integrated Condolence Care Team outreach, along with a Local Spiritual Care volunteer. “We met with a family whose son had drowned in the storm when trying to take care of his horse,” she said. “Although they were immersed in their grief, they were appreciative of the Red Cross support. It was a very humbling experience going into their home and talking with them.”
If you would like to be like Jan or learn more about the Red Cross you can visit, www.redcross.org/volunteer