Virginia Ranville, better known as Ginny, lives in Quincy and just retired not long ago. After moving on from her job, she found herself wanting to give back, but not doing just anything to fill time. She yearned for work that was meaningful to others and herself. “I’ve been given a lot of breaks over the course of my life and I wanted to pay back, so I started looking around.” She says, “I’d been involved with Red Cross in a slight way and investigated further deciding to train and go on deployments. I’ve been on eight deployments in a year and a half.”
Ginny says she’s learned a few things in that time:
1 – Even if your life seems bad, it can always be worse.
2 – People are people – wherever you go.
3 – When you feel like you want to payback, go ahead and do it – because the rewards come back to your pocket.
Ginny says she didn’t expect to get so much personal gratification out of it. “I went in happy to be able to help others and I didn’t expect it to be powerful for me, too.” She says, “I’ve had women in my arms crying wanting to make sure their children and, in one specific case, a little boy had something besides bread and peanut butter for supper. That’s when I was out in the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and she came out crying saying please just give me something for my little boy. I don’t need anything for me. Of course, we fed the whole family. That was a joyful occasion.”
What would Ginny say to someone who wants to volunteer with Red Cross, but just hasn’t done it yet? “My mom gave me a piece of advice when I was younger,” Ginny says thoughtfully. “She said just jump in with both feet and come out fighting. That’s kind of what I did. I just jumped in the middle of it and I didn’t come out fighting for me, but I do fight for the ones who are in trouble.”
What’s next for Ginny a year-and-a-half into her volunteerism with American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois is more deployments which she won’t hesitate to accept when the time comes. “I keep a bag packed by the back door and any time they call me – I’m ready to go.”
Thank you, Ginny. You are one bright light.