Volunteer profile: Jaime Follett Holds Down the Fort in Eastern Oregon

Our Volunteer Profile series, written by communications volunteer Patrick Wilson, offers a weekly glimpse at some of the incredible people who help to deliver our mission. We are grateful for their compassion and commitment.

is the volunteer receptionist in our Red Cross office in  Pendleton; she’s
a disaster action team captain, an instructor for many of the Red Cross classes
and a frequent guest presenter for community organizations. She joined the Red
Cross in Portland in 1992 with a desire to serve her community and a hope that
it would allow her to spend more time with her husband, Doug, who was already
very involved with the Red Cross. (Jamie reports her plan has worked out pretty
well.) Besides Jamie and her husband, all three of their children have been or
are active Red Cross volunteers. They moved to Pendleton in 1998 where she
energetically performs all her very public roles in spite of the fact that
standing in front of groups is a struggle. 
When questioned about why she does something that makes her
uncomfortable, she quickly explains the community benefits outweigh her
discomfort.  “It’s important to let the
community know we are here for them and to be able to help them become better
prepared to face any disaster that might come their way,” says Jaime.
Jaime juggles a variety of Red Cross activities in eastern Oregon.

as a receptionist at the Red Cross office includes a diverse set of duties, but
the essence is ensuring the office operates smoothly. She makes certain all
callers, guests and visitors are warmly welcomed, and are given the needed
information and direction. A negative experience with the Red Cross is out of
the question for Jamie. In a small office there are few support personnel, so
staff needs frequently fall on Jamie. This all keeps her hopping. While
juggling a diverse range of assignments, Jamie takes very personally all her
roles in the organization. As Jamie says, “I want to ensure visitors and people
in the community really appreciate the values of the Red Cross and that we are
dedicated to serving their needs.  I want
donors to feel like they are providing the funds that enable us to offer all
the services and support so badly needed in our community.” As if this wasn’t
enough, Jamie, being a of the disaster action team captain and one of the
people needing to be respond at most local disasters, works hard to ensure that
disaster services are compassionately and effectively delivered.
example of how vital Jamie, her family, and other volunteers are to the
community is the role they played during the bus accident that occurred near
Pendleton last December. She was summoned to the local convention center to
open a shelter for the people who were on the bus. Simultaneously, Jamie began
alerting other Red Cross volunteers. Before they could even begin providing
assistance, it was necessary to locate a few qualified translators, because of
some anticipated language challenges. Once all the pieces were in place, Jamie
and the other volunteers began collecting case histories. While securing the
translators was challenging, ensuring the accurate completion of the needed
forms was critical to the mission of the Red Cross and care of the clients.
After three days of
hard work, Jamie and the team were tired but left feeling like they had done
the best job possible for those affected by the terrible accident. The
operation had been a success thanks to the dedication of the local volunteers,
the community, the spontaneous donors and the specialized support received from
chapter offices in Portland.