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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Volunteer Profile: Disaster Action Team Captain Jason Heddings


In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck, Jason Heddings wanted to assist those in need. “When there is a big event you want jump in and help, but the people that have been trained are already there,” said Heddings. He decided that next time something happened, he would be ready.

Jason Heddings,
Adams County
Disaster Action Team Captain
For the last eight years Jason has been ready, volunteering as a Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) captain for Adams County. “Whenever there is an emergency where people are displaced, the DAT volunteers are the first boots on the ground, so to speak, for the Red Cross,” said Jason. He and his team assess client needs at local emergencies ranging from single family fires that affect one family at a time, to apartment fires and floods that displace dozens of people. They meet families’ immediate needs by providing a warm, safe place to stay and help for things like food, clothing, baby formula, coats and shoes. They also connect clients with Red Cross resources such as health services to help replace lost medications and disaster mental health services to help process loss.

Jason still remembers his first disaster call -- a single family home fire, late at night and freezing cold, at a house belonging to a husband and wife pregnant with their first baby. Jason and the Disasters Action Team were able to arrange for a Red Cross feeding vehicle to come support the family and the first responders. “You don’t know what their situation is or why there was a fire, but you can see their gratitude and have the feeling that you are really helping,” said Jason.

Volunteers offer assistance at a home fire.
Another experience that sticks out for Jason was an unusual call, a home fire where the family had thousands of snakes in the basement. Jason and two other DAT volunteers transported crates of critters out of the basement and to the family’s barn, helping save the family’s snake-breeding business.

Working with clients is the most rewarding part for Jason. “It is 2 a.m. and the phone rings while you are asleep or you are in the middle of dinner, but as soon as you get to meet the clients face to face, it makes it worthwhile,” Jason said, adding, “I don't know that I truly realized what it meant to be part of a fully humanitarian organization until I joined the Red Cross. … At every turn we are there for someone else.”

If you would like to learn more about becoming an Adams County Disaster Action Team volunteer, join us on Dec. 12 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Thornton Community Center to speak with current volunteers like Jason.

Event Information
Adams County Red Cross Social: Meet some current volunteers and learn more about our open positions while enjoying some hot chocolate.

December 12, Noon - 2 p.m.
Thornton Community Center
2141 E.95th Ave Thornton, CO 80229

For more info email- jessica.pate@redcross.org.






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