Atmore resident receives Red Cross award
Special to the Advance
Sandy Zuiderhoek of Atmore was awarded the American Red Cross Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Leadership from the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter during the chapter's annual meeting and volunteer recognition ceremony.
The Clara Barton award is an award given to a volunteer who has exemplified the mission of the Red Cross: to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.
"Sandy is a volunteer who is totally committed to the Red Cross, she thinks nothing of leaving her home for weeks at a time and working 24/7 to help people through disasters," said Virginia Liles, Chairman of the Board of Directors, AL Gulf Coast Chapter. "Even when she is at home, she is ready day or night to go out to the scene of a house fire to help a family who has lost everything."
This prestigious award is presented once a year to a volunteer who has been nominated by the chapter for their continued service and outstanding volunteer work they have given to American Red Cross.
"I am so humbled, it's just something you never expect," said Sandy Zuiderhoek, "It's rewarding enough to just go out and be able to help others and get to train other people to go out and do the same thing."
"I want to be able to pass on the legacy of helping others, I want to make people realize how important it is to volunteer and be out their helping people in their time of need, It only takes one person to make a difference no matter who they are, how young or old they are, or where they come from, as long as they are helping," said Zuiderhoek.
Zuiderhoek began volunteering for the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999. Since then she has not only responded to help the victims of disaster locally during floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and house fires but has also gone near and far to help victims all over the United States.
Zuiderhoek has traveled to help victims of the California wildfires, the Florida Hurricanes, and spent over nine weeks in New York during September 11th and her latest disaster assignment included Hurricane Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
She has served in many capacities, whether it is logistics, family services, training, or her most famous role as a Red Cross volunteer, In-Kind Services. This role requires handling all of the aspects of getting bulk supplies of products donated from various companies during a disaster to supply the clients with what they need to help sustain them after the disaster and help them begin on their way to recovery.
Zuiderhoek also serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter and is currently the Chair of the Disaster Committee, which is responsible for coordinating and overseeing the disaster response of the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter in its five county service area.
If you are interested in joining Zuiderhoek as a Red Cross volunteer please contact the American Red Cross Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter at (251) 438-2571 or visit us online at www.redcrossalcoast.org