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Lucy Morris will celebrate her 75th birthday Saturday. You’d think that after 57 years of marriage to her husband, Ben, 45 years with Springs Industries, two sons and eight grandchildren, she’d be ready to slow down.
But not Morris; she’s just getting started.
“There’s still a lot of life in us old folks,” she said laughing. “Volunteering is a good way to stay busy."
Morris has been a critical cog of the local Red Cross volunteer network since 2004.
“I’d been giving blood for a long time,” Morris said. “My sister, Sue Carter, worked for the Red Cross during World War II and I liked the idea of helping out, too.”
Morris is part of the volunteer army that’s easy to miss. While she is disaster action team (DAT) trained, Morris prefers to work behind the scenes.
From helping at health fairs and serving snacks at blood drives to answering phones and filing paperwork, Morris is content.
“It just makes you feel good to help someone who’s in a dire situation at the time,” she said.
Morris is also a local Red Cross ambassador, which she enjoys the most. She said that means being ready to answer questions like this week when a physical therapist asked about the Red Cross shirt she was wearing.
“You’d be surprised,” Morris said. “I had to explain what all we do to him. He didn’t know about the fires and army part of it.”
The “fire part” refers to assisting the 39 local families (129 people) last year whose homes burned down in Lancaster County. The “army part” refers to Red Cross military assistance including emergency communication, access to emergency financial assistance, counseling, some veterans services and information and referrals to Armed Forces Emergency Services.
“We even refer local folks to Christian Services and HOPE,” Morris said. “A lot of people don’t know those agencies until they need help. It happens all the time. People are looking to us for help.”
Morris, who volunteers at the Red Cross at least eight hours each week, said there are plenty of opportunities for other seniors to help the agency.
“Young people so have much to do between jobs, raising children and soccer games and the like,” she said.
Morris said the only three qualities the job requires are dedication, a knack for meeting people and compassion.
“Oh yes,” she said of the latter. “You’ve got to have a big heart.”