If disaster struck in your own back yard, you could be excused for wanting to hunker down, stay put, and put the scattered pieces of your life back together. Sorting her own life out was the last thing on Julie Daigle’s mind after Sandy hit. A Red Cross volunteer Disaster Assistance Team leader and IT project manager for IBM, Julie jumped in to volunteer her time and expertise to help her neighbors, even though she herself had property damage and was living without electricity.
Before Sandy even made landfall, Julie worked at a frenetic pace for two days to help set up the Red Cross disaster response headquarters in North Brunswick, NJ. As if that wasn’t enough, she then managed a shelter for families who evacuated in anticipation of the storm. Stuck there when Sandy hit, she rode out the storm in the shelter she was running, and stayed for two days. Finally, she made herself invaluable to the public affairs team, using her photography skills to tell stories about Sandy-affected families and communities, helping the Red Cross to advocate for them.
Julie continues her work helping others as she has with the Red Cross for more than 14 years. This past weekend, Julie rushed out to Perth Amboy to comfort and assist families whose homes and belongings were destroyed by fire.
For all her hard work, Julie has only one piece of advice. “Volunteer now and do something for your neighbors. Help is always needed,” she said.