By Jenny Farley
One of the California Gold Country Region’s newest Americorps members is anxiously awaiting word on whether she will deploy to Florida to help those impacted by Hurricane Ian.
It would be Ajaya Fullmore’s first deployment as she continues to settle into her new job working in Disaster Services.
“I want to be there to help everybody,” she said.
Losing two women in her life who meant everything to her inspired Ajaya to seek the assignment with the Red Cross. “Once you get into the American Red Cross you start to think, ‘I’m here for a mission.’ It’s changing my life already.”
Ajaya’s sister Mahogany died two years ago and her grandmother Brenda Ann died recently. “She has been a woman in my life that I look up to. She was into making a difference. She was a humanitarian.”
In that humanitarian spirit, the Red Cross has had more than a thousand workers and volunteers helping provide shelter, food and meals in states impacted by Ian.
Ajaya is ready to go but she’s asking herself a few questions. “I want to see the impact I can make. Can I be in these shelters and make these people comfortable? Can I do the things I am sent there to do?” she said.
Seeing media coverage of Hurricane Ian’s destruction makes Ajaya feel for those who have lost their homes and belongings. “My heart goes out to those people. These individuals have built their lives in their homes. For all that hard work to just disappear within a matter of hours or days, that’s a scary thing.”
More than a hundred people lost their lives in Hurricane Ian. If Ajaya deploys to Florida, memories of her grandmother and sister won’t be far away. “I do this to honor her. My grandma was the embodiment of love.”
Despite knowing the deployment may be challenging, Ajaya said she’s not worried about her own life. She wants to show people in Florida that it doesn’t matter where you are, the message is the same.
“Love is nationwide and I am here to spread it.”
To learn about volunteering with the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.