In 2011, Maya Agger suddenly found herself in the midst of a disaster when an apartment fire in Winston-Salem destroyed her home, along with the homes of many of her neighbors. As she struggled to pick up the pieces and plot her next move in the hours and days after the blaze, Agger received some much-needed help.
“The Red Cross showed up early in the morning, and they helped keep me from sleeping in the car with my dogs for three days,” she says. “They helped me out so much I decided I wanted to do the same for others.”
A few months after the fire, Agger began volunteering for the Red Cross’ disaster relief arm, assisting victims of everything from fires to hurricanes. She does it all in her own community, particularly over the past few years as the occurrence of natural disasters touching our area has been on an uptick.
“People generally only think of disaster when it’s in relation to a large scale disaster — they don’t think of these smaller ones which make up the majority of the some 70,000 disasters the Red Cross respond to each year,” she says. “Locally I’ve worked on the Greensboro tornado, Hurricane Florence, fires. Some of our other volunteers deploy, but we still need people to take care of the home front.”
Agger previously worked as an EMT, and though she had to leave that role for medical reasons, she wanted to continue to help people facing emergencies. Her volunteer work with the Red Cross allows her to fulfill that desire to make a difference.
“It made me realize I was born for public service, and this was a way for me to stay involved,” Agger says. “I love being there when people need me and I get to help. I think I was born for that.”
Last year, she was selected as a recipient of a Forsyth County Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for her service and leadership.
“[The honor] means everything to me because this is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing,” she says. “I get to meet so many people, and a lot of the time it’s on one of the worst days of their lives, and if I can make it even a little bit better, it’s such a sense of satisfaction and completeness.”
For more information about volunteer opportunities with your local chapter of the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org.