Editor’s Note: Each year, the Red Cross of Southeastern Ohio honors local residents and groups as part of the Hometown Heroes program. Our 2019 series continues today.
This story appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 25 newspaper on Page A1.
Rebecca Newman was there to help others, but before long it was her needing to be rescued.
This was two years ago, when Newman was deployed to Texas as part of a Red Cross volunteer team aiding those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The flooding worsened to the point that her team was evacuated by the National Guard.
Just two weeks later, though, Newman made her way to Florida — this time to help with Hurricane Irma relief. A year later, she was back in Florida for Hurricane Florence. Within the past few months, she’s traveled to Dayton to assist in the aftermath of a tornado outbreak and deadly shooting in town.
“I like helping people in crisis,” Newman said.
The Nelsonville resident is being recognized for her contributions as a Red Cross volunteer. Newman is this year’s recipient of the Sharon Horel Memorial Award, named after a longtime volunteer who died in 2018.
Horel wore many hats with Red Cross during her years of service — she was a caseworker, board member, fundraiser and even cleaned the office when needed. Her family wished to honor her legacy by sponsoring a namesake award.
Newman is a Trimble High School who works as a counselor for Hocking Behavioral Health in Logan. She earned a degree in social work from Ohio University and began working for Red Cross as an intern. She said Horel was someone all volunteers looked up to in the office.
Many people know the visible aspects of Red Cross aid — blankets and water provided to natural disaster victims, for example.
There are other aspects of help the organization provides. When she travels to crisis sites, Newman is part of a team that offers physical and mental health services, casework guidance and a chaplain. Newman specifically works with affected families to find new housing and other long-term needs.
“It’s a life-changing thing,” Newman said of her Red Cross work. “It really is.”
Newman and eight other Hometown Heroes will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, Oct. 3 at Christ Community Wesleyan Church, Albany. Tickets are available through Sept. 30 at the Athens chapter office (100 S. May Ave.).