Red Cross volunteer offers helping hand in times of need

He is no stranger to the aftermath of mass destruction caused by emergencies or disasters. But Garry Jacobs carries on with his 20-year stint as a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross in Red Deer.

He is no stranger to the aftermath of mass destruction caused by emergencies or disasters.

But Garry Jacobs carries on with his 20-year stint as a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross in Red Deer.

The retired 61-year-old lends a hand in situations ranging from individual house fires to earthquakes or floods that disrupt entire regions.

Following a disaster, Jacobs provides vital assistance in providing people with basic needs, including shelter, clothing, food, family reunification, first aid and support.

“I saw the good work that the Red Cross does with helping people in a time of need and I sort of carried on from that,” he said.

“I took the courses and the training required and ended up being an emergency responder.”

The 1994 earthquakes in California, along with the 1998 hurricane that ripped through in Puerto Rico, are among a long list of events Jacobs has responded to.

“I put my name in and thought, ‘California, it will never happen’ but about 30 hours later I was on an airplane headed south for a three-week assignment,” Jacobs said.

More recently, and closer to home, Jacobs was a part of the first team that went to Slave Lake in order to register people who couldn’t be evaluated, such as fire fighters, police officers and forestry officials. He spent six weeks in Slave Lake, registering 16,000 people with other volunteers.

“It is nice to give back to the community,” Jacobs said.

“People are in their most vulnerable state and we can give them some hope and get them going toward the road to recovery.”

Red Deer has 27 disaster management volunteer responders. Last week 12 people attended a recruitment information session at the Red Cross office at 5301 43rd Street. Two volunteers were accepted to be a part of the team.

Leigh Baker, Red Cross disaster management co-ordinator, said new volunteers will be trained to do what is called disaster management level one training in order to become a part of the Personal Disaster Assistance Team.

“After that they become responders they will carry a cell phone two weeks, three times a year,” Baker said.

“They respond to personal disasters and help anyone been evacuated from their home due to fire, flood or maybe a gas leak. My team provides 72 hours worth of shelter, food, clothes and assistance.”

While officials admit that the Red Cross isn’t for everyone, they also say there is personal satisfaction knowing a difference can be made in the worst moments of someone’s life.

“When it is two in the morning and you’re standing on the sidewalk looking at what used to be your house, it is nice to have someone come along and give you a little comfort,” Jacobs said.

Eighty per cent of the Canadian Red Cross is volunteer-driven.

For more information visit

Just Posted

Alberta premier unhappy with Suzuki honorary degree but defends academic freedom

EDMONTON — Premier Rachel Notley says she does not agree with the… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake wants to create year-round tourist season

Public open house and workshops held May 10-12

Historical bylaws show a different Lacombe

Staff combed through records to find hundreds of outdated bylaws still on the books

Gravel companies facing fee increase

Red Deer County considering raising levy charged to gravel companies for road repairs

Excessive dog poop on Blackfalds ball diamonds frustrates town

Melting snow in Blackfalds uncovered ball diamonds full of dog poop, frustrating… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer students get active, healthy

Healthy Active Schools Symposium takes place in schools

Poll: Advocate readers support Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Red Deer Advocate readers want the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to be… Continue reading

Celebrate all women this Mother’s Day in Central Alberta

A breakfast fundraiser is scheduled May 12 in Lacombe

Photo: Poplar Ridge Grade 6 class learn about newspapers

Red Deer Advocate editor Crystal Rhyno visited the school on Wednesday

‘The Heat’ doc examines gender barriers for top female chefs

TORONTO — In making a documentary about top female chefs, Toronto filmmaker… Continue reading

Hank Azaria willing to stop voicing Apu on ‘The Simpsons’

NEW YORK — Hank Azaria is ready to stop voicing Kwik-E-Mart owner… Continue reading

US stocks mostly fall in wobbly trading as costs, rates rise

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are wobbling and trading mostly lower Wednesday… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month