Story and photo by Kate Meier
Jerry White, David Fitzgerald and Doris Moorman started volunteering with the American Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the local chapter in their hometown in Pascagoula, Miss.
Since then, the three have often deployed on disasters together, working to bring emergency relief to people affected by hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. They have formed a kinship that spawned nicknames that have a super-hero flair:
“Well, Jerry is the Toothless Wonder, David is the One-Armed Bandit, and I’m the Old Lady,” laughed Doris.
While they don’t consider themselves heroes – “We just do what we can,” Doris said – it’s hard not to think of them that way. The three are driving Emergency Response Vehicles in North Carolina, delivering food and water to people in areas where Hurricane Irene made a devastating footprint.
David, a former Marine with 20 years of service, lost his right arm during a tour in Nicaragua during the revolution. He said spending so much time with the Red Cross is worth it, especially when he gets the chance to make a difference with families who have experienced tragedy.
“It really means something to physcially experience disaster,” he said. “I found the Red Cross, and I found a home.”
Doris, who will turn 74 this year, doesn’t look her age. “Well, anytime you can do something to help others, you do it, and it keeps you young.”
Jerry, whose home had also taken thrashings from Hurricanes Frederick and Camille, said he was fortunate that the American Red Cross was there to help him.
“So now, I volunteer with the Red Cross to help other people who have been affected by hurricanes. I consider it payback,” he said with a toothless smile.
The three got word that Hurricane Irene was going to leave families without food, water and shelter, and that the Red Cross would be in need of volunteers who could lend a hand.
So off they went. The Toothless Wonder, the One-Armed Bandit and the Old Lady mounted their rides, fired up the engine, and flew to North Carolina to bring aid to those who need it.