Joan Klimpl of Somerset was recognized at the event for the most deployments of the year from the region. Her unflappable energy and enthusiasm serves her well as a Shelter Supervisor on her deployments.
She faces 12 hour days with a smile, always wanting to help others in need. On her recent deployment to Gatlinburg, Tennessee she worked to help find homes for 150 people and pets who were displaced from wildfires.
“By the end, we closed the shelter and everyone had a place to go,” she said. It’s happy endings like that which keep her signing up for deployments.
Klimpl started her journey of deployments when she retired from teaching.
“I never had the next step ready but all of sudden it was there,” she said. Now she waits for the call of her next deployment, always bringing flexibility and a smile with her. When she is called for deployments she said, “I check the weather channel, pack for two weeks and go.”
“When you have time, you give back,” she said simply of her efforts.
Carol Lee Tieman
Within a five month span last year, Carol Lee Tieman of Oceanport traveled across the United States to help others in need. Her deployments took her from California to Louisiana to North Carolina, with little time in between. Tieman’s steadiness and adaptability allows her to fill many roles in her deployments from Shelter Supervisor, to running the shelter kitchens, to crunching numbers on the computer. Tieman brings with her a unique skill set she gathered in her previous work as the owner of a bed and breakfast. She credits her “good common sense” with allowing her to help fill the needs of the communities affected by disaster.
After returning home from a trip with her church and witnessing firsthand the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, Tieman became involved with the Red Cross. When she retired and sold her business, she became more involved in her work supporting families displaced by local home fires and deploying where the need is.
She loves helping and working with people of all ages. She said in many deployments she works with a range from infants to people in hospital beds.
“There is a need. If I can fill it, I serve,” she said.
After a family member suffered a house fire, Clare Rybczynski of Branchburg was so impressed with the Red Cross’ aid and response she vowed to become a volunteer. When her son left for college she seized her moment, took a class and has never looked back. With the support of her husband, she now happily volunteers full-time and deploys a few times a year.
“I love being able to give back. It’s a fulfillment in life you don’t get in any other way,” she said.
Although she has done casework and been a shelter supervisor on deployment, her favorite and most frequent job is emergency response vehicle driver. She loves being out on the road and often being the first eyes on the scene. And her favorite part is “the hugs and smiles as payment.”
She brings her past work experiences to the job of driver and said it’s been amazing to see her life experiences all coming together in her work with the Red Cross.
“Helping people in disasters is where my heart is,” she said.
Rybczynski also loves the camaraderie and friendships she has developed through her volunteer work with the Red Cross. She said she often runs into people from deployments in the airport and loves to reconnect with those she has deployed with previously.
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