Evans focuses on ability to help others
It doesn’t take long to make a huge difference in peoples lives. Just ask George Evans, who volunteers with the local Red Cross in Linden. Evans has been volunteering for only a few months and has already won an award for his services.
Evans was recognized for his volunteer efforts during Hurricane Ivan and the period following. Evans said the award was great and he was just happy to be able to work with people.
“I was very grateful for the award,” Evans said. “It has been very rewarding. Sometimes it can be very tiring because there are a lot of people who need help. It is worth it though.”
Evans service was not planned. In fact, Evans came in to seek help himself before he decided he could make a difference.
“I actually came in here one day to find out about getting some help with my power bill and they started talking to me,” Evans said. “I said to myself I don’t have a lot of things going on right now and I might be able to help.”
Local Red Cross Director Brenda Weaver said she saw something special about George that day and decided to talk to him about helping.
“The first time George came in the office we started talking,” Weaver said. “I looked at him and asked him if he had ever thought of volunteering. He said he didn’t know because he was handicapped.
I told him there was still plenty he could do around the office.”
Weaver said shortly after George came on to work for them he showed just how valuable he could be. She said she had always known he would make a big difference, but in the wake of the hurricane he proved to be more valuable than ever imagined.
“He has such a caring nature and I knew he would be a big help, but after the hurricane we really saw it,” Weaver said. “He knew everybody that came through the office in need of help. It didn’t matter where they lived he knew who their neighbors were and who their families were. There wasn’t anything he didn’t know about the people.”
The relief teams that came from other areas soon found out how valuable George was as well. Weaver said after a short time George became the most valuable asset of all to the workers.
“We had our natural disaster team that came in and George met them and they called and asked if someone could go out in the county and help them find out what was going on. I told them everything they needed was spelled G-E-O-R-G-E,” Weaver said. “He went with the disaster teams out surveying and showing them around and from that time on they would call and ask for George. Any time they needed some information they would call for him.”
Evans said he knew he could help out with his knowledge of the area and when the time came he was glad to step up and even supplied some of his own possessions to the relief effort.
“They were down here helping in the area and I went out with them and helped them find some of the houses in the area,” Evans said. “I know a pretty good bit about the area and it can be tough for someone who is not from here to come out and have to try to find their way around. I rode through the areas with them and helped as much as I could.”
Evans said the work they do is so important because it is needed all the time. Evans said in this business you don’t punch a clock. You have to be ready at all times.
“This kind of work doesn’t have a time limit on it because you may start the day with nothing and then before it is over with a house can burn down or there could be some other kind of disaster,” Evans said. “For a long time during the hurricane people didn’t have water and things like that so we couldn’t quit. I had some stuff of my own e ended up passing out because they were less fortunate. It just goes on and on. It is not an hourly or daily thing.”
When he is not busy helping the rest of the community George is taking care of his family. He has three children Terikh, who is seven years old, Kinetra, 12, and Terrell, 16, Evans said when the work is done at the office it is time for the chores at home.
“That is included in my duties of after coming here,” Evans said. “I see about them too. I go home and cook and go meet the school bus and the same things all the other people do.”
Through it all Evans said he has learned that we all have a purpose in life and there is something everyone can to do make a contribution.
“Don’t ever say you can’t do something,” Evans said. “I have been down. I was paralyzed at one time and I have been down. You just have to pick yourself back up and move on. I thank God I am able to do these things to help other people.”
Both Weaver and Evans agreed that the Red Cross is a total team effort and it takes all parts to make things click.