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Local volunteers making a difference

Dennis and JoAnne Tolliver of Lennox began working as Red Cross volunteers about a year ago, once Dennis retired from his job at the EROS Data Center. JoAnne had already begun to explore volunteer opportunities as a retired Lennox teacher, but had been waiting for her husband to join her on the biggest mutual volunteer undertaking, working to help disaster victims.

The couple is part of a disaster action team that meets monthly in Sioux Falls. “It’s a good time to connect with the other volunteers and compare notes on any recent calls we’ve attended,” Dennis said.

The Tollivers and fellow volunteers are deployed to disaster situations like house fires, tornadoes and floods, if the on-scene commander puts a call in to the Red Cross for assistance. Once the volunteers are dispatched, they do whatever they can to provide temporary assistance to those in need by offering basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter to disaster victims. For smaller scale incidents such as a single house fire, the occupants would be provided with hotel vouchers for a few days. In larger scale scenarios, like a tornado, the Red Cross will likely set up a shelter on site.

“It’s been a great experience” volunteering with the Red Cross, Dennis said. “They make it very easy and you can complete a lot of the training online.”

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