Friday, May 29, 2015

Enriching One’s Life by Enriching Others

by Michele Maki, volunteer contributor

“Folks think that when you help others, you’re enriching their life, and in many ways, you are.  But I believe that the one who’s life is most enriched, is your own.”  

This remarkable philosophy of life comes from Red Cross volunteer Carolyn Newkirk.  Newkirk, and her husband, Richard, also a Red Cross volunteer, are from the Greater Iowa Region of the American Red Cross and are helping in the flood relief and recovery effort in the Wichita Falls area.

While visiting a shelter in the area, I found the Newkirks comforting an elder gentleman, huddled in a blanket, who was in great distress.  Blind, frail and alone, this gentleman shared his fears and confusion with the Newkirks.  

Mrs. Newkirk confided, “This gentle soul needed a voice. He needed someone to listen to him and care.  He felt so alone--so forgotten.” 
Photo by: Michele Maki

I had watched this husband and wife Red Cross team comfort this gentleman and listen intently as he shared his feelings and fears.  It became obvious by the gentlest of hugs that these two volunteers cared deeply for this stranger they had just met.  I then watched them for several  more minutes and later asked Mrs. Newkirk about their relationship with this man. Surely, he was someone they knew.

“No, no…..we’re from Iowa and we’re here in Wichita County to help in the flood relief effort.  I saw this elder man who was alone and very upset.”  Mrs. Newkirk added, “I just felt he needed someone to comfort him and listen to whatever it was that was causing him so much distress. In taking some time to listen to him, I found out he was in frail health, blind and hadn’t eaten in quite some time.  My husband and I made sure he got a good hot lunch and will follow up with our Red Cross nurses to try and get some social services for him in the future.  

"You know, my belief is this, some folks think that when you help someone, you’re enriching their life, but today, it was my life that was enriched and I’m so very thankful."

Relief and recovery efforts continue throughout the state of Texas. These efforts are made possible by the generosity of  the American people.  You can help the American Red Cross by donating to RedCross.org/Donate.

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