By Monique Knight and Lena Morris, Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteers
Roy and June Bergeron have been volunteering with the Red Cross for 13 and 12 years, respectively. The retired couple from Baton Rouge, LA, spends much of their time travelling to assist with relief efforts during national disasters. In fact, they have been on 32 Red Cross deployments across the country and have provided assistance in nearly every type of natural disaster – flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire and snow storm.
It was a hurricane in Florida that called them to action. “We saw an article in the newspaper, asking for volunteers to help with the Red Cross,” June explains. “Roy responded then, and I joined a year later.”
The couple volunteers primarily in shelter settings. “We find it very rewarding,” said Roy. “We get to meet a lot of people, and they are all very thankful for our presence.”
Both said that they have enjoyed a good clientele through the Red Cross shelters. “We get to know them and develop friendships, sharing laughs and tears,” said June. “We’ve had people who cry when they leave the shelter because they don’t want to go.”
June and Roy say that volunteers just have to relax and have fun, because the clients have a lot going on. Roy added that you just have to be flexible. “Sometimes we start doing mobile feeding and bulk distribution, then open shelters,” Roy said.
The couple says they have met lifelong friends through their Red Cross experience. In fact, they travel to Minnesota to visit another Red Cross husband-wife team every year. It’s the human connection that keeps them coming back year after year.