Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Journey to the Summit

By Susan Poulter
Photos by Susan and Don Poulter

USS Yorktown was a highlight of the
Red Cross Mission Summit in Charleston, SC.
To reach the summit of a mountain sounds daunting…equally intimidating, is attending a Mission Summit for the American Red Cross as a new volunteer.  I wasn't sure if I had the necessary skills and talking points but my husband and I together, embraced everything and everyone in Charleston, South Carolina in September 2016.

The itinerary clearly stated that we would “experience all the lifesaving missions performed by the American Red Cross,” highlighting the active and compassionate Tiffany Circle members and the entire community in Charleston.  Hundreds of ladies and a strong, bold group of men from all over the country were taken on a journey that generated a level of excitement and for me, a renewed commitment to public service that will continue far beyond the expectations of the Summit.

Don Poulter (L) with other Summit attendees learn about
firefighting at the Charleston FD Training Center
Incredibly well organized with an equal amount of grace, our hosts had created a smorgasbord of activities, luncheons and guest speakers emphasizing the relationships between the American Red Cross and this astonishing community.  However, our experience was far beyond any typical informational seminar; donning firefighter equipment to fight a vehicular fire, practicing our knitting skills for blankets that can be used for disasters and manning computers as a way to map uncharted territory in Malawi, as the American Red Cross prepares to eradicate measles in an upcoming immunization program in 2017.

Officers escort Summit attendees as they tour the
USS Yorktown in Charlston, SC
Our access to the “Heroes of Charleston” extended well beyond the local and state government leaders, to the partnership with Red Heart, and the American military families, as well as the local blood collection center.  We had the privilege to meet with inspirational members of the Emanuel AME Church, and were presented with most beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace and the gracious words of the Pastor and local State Representative.  As we departed, we left knowing that the relationship between the American Red Cross and the Charleston community on that fateful day, stands as a true testament to love defeating hatred.

After three wonderful days at the Summit, we left with our stomachs and hearts full, sensing we all could do more! Regardless of my circumstances and my skill set, I could return home to my community and train for disasters, or participate in a fire safety program and even continue the mapping of Malawi from my own computer.  Relationships definitely matter…they have the power to lift up a community and restore hope and a path well beyond a Summit.

If you would like to learn more about the Red Cross Tiffany Circle, visit our  Tiffany Circle website. Here is a video about the 2016 Red Cross Mission Summit in Charleston, SC.

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