Stories from the Field


During the course of our work, we come across stories that illustrate the Red Cross’s impactful role in our local communities and across our nation. Here is one story about a volunteer from Idaho that we’d like to share with you.

JohnnieSue Elliott .jpgMaking Amazing Things Happen

Idaho Falls, ID—Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. With 11 major deployments behind her, JohnnieSue Elliott has a lot of experience to draw from. “When I first started volunteering for the Red Cross, I sometimes worried that we weren’t doing enough to help people who had lost everything in a disaster. The problems they faced seemed so daunting,” she explains. “But what I noticed was how the smallest gestures would often move someone from despair to hope.”

JohnnieSue remembers one instance that was particularly moving. “After Hurricane Isaac, I was helping to distribute clean-up kits to residents whose houses had been destroyed by flooding. They were trying to salvage what they could, but it looked pretty hopeless. I remember handing a shovel to a homeowner who looked dazed. He took the shovel quietly and, suddenly and very unexpectedly, broke down in tears.” She pauses. “Someone handing him a simple shovel, at that moment, meant the world to him. He realized that he was not alone.”

JohnnieSue grew up in a culture of service, so volunteering for the Red Cross comes naturally. “My parents believed that being of service to others was important—it’s in my DNA,” she says. “It what keeps me coming back for more, and what connects me to other volunteers. Red Crossers are awesome people. When you join with others who are all heart, amazing things happen.”

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