WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Mary Thrower is encouraging people to join the Red Cross to serve others in need this holiday season and through the new year.
For the last 9 years, she has worked as a volunteer to continue the organization’s mission to offer assistance to people who may be dealing with a tragedy.
“You get the opportunity of learning so much, and help others that are in need during what sometimes is the worst time of their life,” says Thrower.
Part of her journey with the organization led her to Robins Air Force Base where she has served in a number of roles including a disaster assessment team member, and fire team captain. Thrower says she works with the organization to make sure new military members on the base have everything they need.
“It’s like a welcoming to get them familiar with what the Warner Robins area and Middle Georgia has to offer for them,” says Thrower.
The group also has a space inside the Information Center where they get to talk with military members.
“We make sure our military members get to know us before they need us,” says Thrower.
Most recently, Thrower worked with other volunteers to send holiday care packages to 59 deployed airmen from Robins.
“It makes you feel good. As a person who has been overseas, when you get some USA products, it’s like a taste of home,” says Thrower.
Right now, Thrower is part of a team that makes sure the family of military members are notified of any problems through the 24 hour emergency communications service line.
“If the family needs another family member to be notified of a serious illness or death in the family, they may need to come home,” says Thrower.
Thrower says it’s important that military members provide pertinent information about family members. She knows what it’s like to receive a call from the organization regarding a loved one.
“The Red Cross verified my information when my brother had been killed and we were in Saudi Arabia. So I know what it was like being on that side and it was good that we had all of the information for the Red Cross to verify,” says Thrower.
She is the spouse of a military member and has lived overseas. She says that packing travel items for our troops, like socks, razors, and shaving cream, was truly rewarding.
“It’s something to hopefully bring a smile to their face. It lets them know that home is wishing them all the best, and thanking them for what they are doing for our country and our freedom,” says Thrower.
The group also sent holiday cards written by children and their families to the servicemen and servicewomen.
“We don’t get to see the people most of the time, but we feel so good doing it for them,” says Thrower.
Thrower says volunteering with the organization has also help to lift her up during times where she has found herself going through some difficulty.
“It helps me through my time of loss and grieving, it’s a win-win situation,” says Thrower.
Thrower says working with other volunteers feels like you’re around family.
“We care about each other, we support each other, we cheer each other on, we are there for each other, and we call and check on each other. We are a team. Together everyone achieves more,” says Thrower.
There are moments when Thrower says she is reminded of why volunteering is so important.
“Especially when you give a bear or a Disney character to a child who has just lost everything in their home. There’s a sparkle in their eye, and they are excited to have that to comfort them through their loss,” says Thrower.
Thrower says this is her opportunity to pay it forward.
“It’s giving yourself to others whether they are down and out or they’ve been hit with a tragedy,” says Thrower.
She says there’s something at the Red Cross for all type of people.
“Whether you’re shy, or reserved, outgoing, energetic, prefer behind the scenes or not, the opportunities are there for you,” says Thrower.
If you’re interested with volunteering for the Red Cross click here.