Red Cross volunteer lends hand to needy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Her face and name are probably synonymous with disaster - but for all the right reasons.

Through flood, fire and the occasional ice storm, Annabelle Jenkins is a friend, volunteer, neighbor and soothing presence in time of need.

Jenkins began as county coordinator for the American Red Cross in 1995.

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"My husband and I are amateur radio operators," Jenkins said. "A lady who at that time was over the Red Cross wanted to get radio operators involved in the Red Cross so she could have the help of the radio operators during disasters. She came to one of our meetings and asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to take the classes. Larry Jewell (Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency deputy director) and I volunteered."

In an emergency, she is likely one of the first to be called and one of the last to leave. Her work often keeps her connected to disaster victims for months afterwards, offering moral support as well as Red Cross services.

"These victims need a little TLC sometimes," Jenkins said. "Some more than 'sign this, sign this and have a nice life.'"

Her service to the community does not end there -

she is also a volunteer firefighter with the Elizabeth Township Volunteer Fire Department. Jenkins volunteered with 4-H clubs

and scout troops when her children were young and still volunteers at Slab Fork United Methodist Church, where she is a member.

One of the by-products of Jenkins' volunteer work is

the spirit of community service her example has inspired in her children: all of them are involved in some way with community service.

Her daughter, Sarah Jordan, is a volunteer firefighter, her son Matt is president of

the Decatur Township Volunteer Fire Department, and her son Luke is a Coal Grove police officer. All are Red Cross trained.

Jenkins said the rewards of volunteering far outweigh the nights of interrupted sleep, long hours and hard work.

"The best thing about volunteer work is the feeling you get when you know that you've helped somebody," Jenkins said.