Helping the Helper: Reflections from a Gold Country Volunteer After Fire Takes Her Home

Volunteer Lucy DeMaris sees her service with the American Red Cross Gold Country Region as payback after one of her two brothers was killed in an accident while serving in the military

(Left to right) NEC volunteers Lucy DeMaris , Marilyn Bernathand Rose Nobili

The Red Cross’ response to her brother’s death helped shape her attitude toward volunteering. “You do what you can and return the favor.”

DeMaris, a retired teacher, has been a volunteer with the Red Cross for five years as an instructor for the Pillowcase Project. During the recent wildfires in Northern California, she was helping open a Red Cross shelter when she got word that her home of 11 years in Junction City burned to the ground. “You’re always serving others. And then when the tables turn, it’s a completely different feeling.”

DeMaris said it was out of character for her to have to accept help from the Red Cross when her home was destroyed. “The staff was completely conscious of my needs.”

DeMaris and her husband are planning on rebuilding where their home once stood. In the meantime, she continues to volunteer with the Pillowcase Project and reminds donors to keep giving to the Red Cross. “We need all the help we can get,” she said.