Volunteer of the Month – Sanya Baillie

Congratulations, Sanya Baillie the June 2016 Volunteer of the Month!
Sanya joined the Red Cross in July of 2013, seeking to find an organization that would support her efforts to directly help people affected by disaster. Previously, Sanya and her husband had been Foster Parents for fourteen years and had helped many children even adopting three wonderful children of their own.  So, when they decided not to renew their Foster Care License, Sanya began to feel a void in her life, “I have always had the desire to help others,” she explained. Looking for a new way to reach others in need, she traveled on two separate occasions on tornado relief trips under no organization affiliation. Sanya explained, “We just packed our car with donations from friends and family and headed out. It was such a moving and humbling experience.” During her time in Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma for those relief trips Sanya befriended many Red Cross volunteers, learned more about the Red Cross mission and knew she needed to become a Red Cross volunteer.
Sanya currently volunteers in the Disaster Services department of the Red Cross as a Disaster Action Team (DAT) leader. Nick Cluppert, the Disaster Program Manager shared, “Sanya is an extremely supportive, warm person who works well with all clients. She has an approachable and calming demeanor that is greatly admired and considered a huge asset to the team during big and small responses alike”.  Sanya is an exceptional volunteer and has become someone that can be relied on to respond in any number of situations. She has provided canteening services to area response workers including firefighters, assisted families displaced from fire and managed Direct Client casework, a process used to give supportive resources to people who need them after a disaster.  “My favorite part of volunteering is all the different people I meet and the moments when I can help them. When someone is affected by a home fire or larger disaster we often meet them at such a scary and vulnerable moment in their life, if I can be there for them and help to brighten their day, even if it’s just a little I know I’ve helped,” Sanya explains.

Her most memorable Red Cross moment was one marked by unrealized community connections. Sanya responded to a single family home fire just down the road from her own house. The house was a total loss and although everyone escaped the fire safely, they were all very shaken up. The family set up in a neighbor’s house who turned out to be a friend of Sanya’s husband from work. When talking to the family of the house fire she realized their daughters were friends with her own and went to the same Church Youth Group together. And later, when she went out to feed the Firefighters that were working the fire she realized her Uncle, who is a Volunteer Firefighter in that area, was there working the fire. Sanya emphasized, “What was a really great moment, amidst such a tragedy was realizing that we have so many wonderful people all around us who we a connection with in our community to lean on and to get through it”.

Sanya encourages others to join the Red Cross mission, “Volunteering for Red Cross has been one of the most rewarding things I have done. I never imagined how much fun volunteering would be. The relationships I have made and memories I have experienced are the best rewards I could ever receive. It’s a special thing to be there for someone who is at one of their most vulnerable and most frightening times in their life. Putting a smile on someone’s face, just to listen to them or to lend a shoulder to cry on is an amazing thing to experience. At some point in life everyone needs help, I hope we can be there for each other and continue to lend a hand to those in need.”

Thank you, Sanya for proudly representing the Red Cross in your community, we are so grateful for your continued support and work within Disaster Services!
To learn more, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer

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