Friday, April 11, 2014

Volunteer Charles Wilson Has Been Everywhere and Seen Everything

by Kassidy Ketron, Intern

Charles Wilson is 78 years old and, through his volunteer work at the American Red Cross, has traveled all across the country.

Since he began volunteering in 2005, he has done just about everything and been everywhere.

“I’ve been all over the United States,” Wilson said. “I’ve been to Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, up there in Indiana, Chicago. Let’s see, New Jersey, Oregon, California. I’ve just about been all over.”

Volunteering with the Red Cross can take you
all over. Just ask Charles Wilson.
In 2004, he retired as a locksmith supervisor at Texas Christian University and began volunteering with Meals on Wheels, but that only took about 45 minutes per week.

“I had retired and I didn’t have anything else to do,” Wilson said, “so I started doing Meals on Wheels, but that didn’t take but 45 minutes a week. And then after [Hurricane] Katrina, I decided to check with the Red Cross. I went down there and volunteered and I had something to do.”

He has done everything from client casework, to being a member of the disaster action team and to driving emergency response vehicles, which is his favorite.

Wilson said he enjoys traveling and helping people, which is a perfect combination with the American Red Cross.

One of his disaster responses that took him on the road to Arkansas left him with a funny memory.

“They had a tornado come through there and they’ve got a lot of chicken farms down there. That tornado had came and then it had sucked the feathers off a lot of these chickens,” Wilson said laughing. “That was the funniest thing I had ever seen, you know? A chicken with no feathers.”

Although, he has a few light-hearted memories during disaster responses, some of them have affected him more than others.

One time in particular, he said, was during a flood in Haltom City at a trailer park.

“This lady was trying to hold on to the kids, but the water was so strong that it pulled the kids out of her,” Wilson said. “And I don’t know if she ever caught them, but she had scratch marks on her arms where the baby was trying to hold on to her.”

Regardless of the disaster, he said volunteering for the Red Cross and helping people that are glad to see you makes it all worth it.

“[It’s rewarding] helping people in need,” Wilson said. “People that have lost everything that you can go in and help, just a little bit. That’s rewarding to me.

This National Volunteer Week, we salute volunteers like Charles, who make up more than 90 percent of the Red Cross and are the reason we can work toward our mission every day. To learn about volunteer opportunities, visit redcross.org to start your Red Cross story today.  

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