Monday, November 21, 2016

Meet Red Cross Volunteer, Rose Ella Smith

Rose Ella Smith started volunteering for the Bluegrass Chapter of the Kentucky Red Cross after losing her husband of 57 years in June of 2015. As one can imagine, after raising five children and working in several factories for over 20 years, all the while caring for her ailing husband whose health issues spanned decades, Rose was lost. At 79, after a lifetime of working and taking care of others, she quickly realized she was not the type to sit back and finally enjoy some “me time”. No, not for Rose; she is a doer and a giver! One of her daughters suggested that she look into volunteering for the Red Cross. She did, and Rose found a new life.

She began by volunteering with the Home Fire Campaign which provides and installs free smoke alarms for those in need. She and another volunteer began traveling around the state and found she enjoyed the travel and being of service to the community.

Her next assignment was to help firefighters who were battling wildfires in Eastern Kentucky. She worked with a team that provided breakfast, packed a sack lunch for the field, and served them a hot supper at the end of the day. She and the team also provided clean towels, bedding and toiletries for the shelter where the firefighters were temporarily housed. She enjoyed this assignment even more because by helping folks through a disaster, she could feel she was making a real difference. Rose is on standby at the moment to return to Eastern Kentucky where the fires are still not contained. Should these fires impact families and their homes, she will begin helping families who have been displaced by these fires - setting up shelters and providing food and amenities for them. She is eager for the opportunity.

Talking to Rose, one can feel her enthusiasm for helping others, and the joy that it brings her. In the Red Cross where there are endless opportunities to turn one’s compassion into action, Rose feels she has found a new purpose.

You inspire us, Rose! Thank you for your service to the Red Cross.

If you would like to find out more about joining the Red Cross as a volunteer, please visit

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