Retired college professor and Glenridge on Palmer Ranch resident Mary Rainey, 75, spent part of August helping flood victims at a shelter for 1,000 people in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was her 25th disaster relief assignment for the American Red Cross since she first answered the call to help after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “Being able to comfort people when they’re at their most vulnerable is a wonderful feeling,” she says.
“The vulnerability of everyone when a disaster hits makes for such a sense of community. Thirty thousand volunteers helped us out after [Hurricane] Charley; they poured in from everywhere. I love it when Americans come together and hold each other up.”
“When I’m not in the field, I’ve taught classes in areas such as how to collaborate with other partners and how to open, run and close a shelter, and I’ve served on our local chapter advisory board and on our regional board in Tampa. I’ve also given disaster preparedness talks to neighborhood associations.”
“I was in the Peace Corps in the 1960s. I taught English as a second language to second and third graders and their teachers in the Philippines; they all came away with [my] Chicago accent.”