In celebration of Red Cross Month, one Vermont woman who got on board as a volunteer shares her story after initially getting a helping hand from the organization just over a decade ago during Hurricane Irene.

Sharon Rae Quinn knows what it’s like to get caught in a natural disaster and remembers all too well the floodwaters rising in her home during Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011.

“And I was trapped many hours in my home, just a mile out of Montpelier where I lived,” said Sharon. “And Colchester rescue came and got me by boat.”

Sharon went to a Red Cross shelter that night where she received necessities to see her through. “Because we were drenched, we just left with the clothes on our back and I had my cat in the carrier, and they gave some funds out to help us for food and clothing. I only stayed one night but many had to stay a lot longer.”

Sharon had lost her home, but not her hope. With strong faith and a philosophy of ‘it’s better to give than receive’, she not only got back on her feet but then turned to help others, becoming a Red Cross volunteer. During the holidays of 2012, Sharon was deployed to New York City during Hurricane Sandy. She thought her lived experience might land her in a volunteer role in a shelter, but ended up in a more hands-on role.

“They actually needed drivers for the budget and Penske trucks, and that’s what I did during my two weeks, load, drive, and unload supplies, and people just were in tears and clapping when we approached.”

Sharon still serves on the Red Cross’s Disaster Action Team assisting people left homeless by fires or impacted by ice storms. This Red Cross Month, she urges others to step up in any capacity. “I will just never forget those memories. The Red Cross is a phenomenal organization, they are just tireless about helping people in need.”

The Red Cross is always seeking volunteers to help respond at the local and national level.