When Jim Ramsey meets people during his volunteer work, he'll often be there on one of the worst days of their life.
Ramsey, 69, of Marshalltown, volunteers for the American Red Cross Iowa Rivers Chapter as part of the Disaster Assistance Team. He'll often meet right away with families who have lost their home to a fire.
"I'm there for a little sympathy," Ramsey said. "I just tell them that I'm here to help them the best way I can."
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Jim Ramsey is a dedicated volunteer to the American Red Cross Iowa Rivers Chapter, providing assistance to local disaster victims.
Ramsey took Red Cross classes and was deployed to Texas for Hurricane Ike in 2008. Since then, he has volunteered at the Red Cross office as part of the local DAT team. He assists those displaced by disaster to find new places to live and other necessities.
March is American Red Cross month, where the agency spotlights what makes it successful - its dedicated people like Ramsey.
"This month is all about recognizing our volunteers and what we call our 'Everyday Heroes,'" said Tony Burke, Red Cross chapter support officer for central Iowa region that includes Marshalltown.
The local office went through some streamlining in recent years, which has made Ramsey's volunteer efforts all that more important.
"He's been a stalwart through this whole thing," Burke said of Ramsey's work.
Ramsey, a military veteran who dabbled in a few different jobs in his professional career, said he was drawn to Red Cross volunteerism to have an impact on people.
"I felt I wanted to do something to help people who are in dire need," Ramsey said. "I've stuck with it and kept going because there's always going to be somebody in need, unfortunately."
Ramsey and Karen Staker have volunteered to keep the local Red Cross office open one day a week - from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays - at the Fisher Community Center.
To donate to the Red Cross visit www.redcross.org.