Anniston native shares the importance of volunteering

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By Mary Elizabeth Dial
Staff Correspondent

KeShawn Long is a 41-year-old from Anniston. He got involved with the Red Cross as a student at Jacksonville State University, and before long he had become the first name on anyone’s mind when asked, “Who embodies the spirit of volunteering?”

Long first got involved with his local chapter of the Red Cross through an emergency management internship. According to Disaster Program Specialist Janet Dick, Long was instrumental in planning a home fire preparedness campaign earlier this year. The program resulted in the installation of 75 new smoke detectors in local homes.

“The whole purpose of the Red Cross is to help people, and I love helping people,” Long said. 

In addition to serving his community through volunteering, Long is not the typical college student, but the retired Air Force veteran uses his past experiences to fuel and inform his efforts in helping his community.

“I believe in putting forth a maximum effort in all that I do.” 

Long also said that integrity, service and excellence, the three core values of the Air Force, “have stayed with me and I try to [apply] those values in every aspect of my life.”

The benefits of getting involved with the Red Cross in his own life, Long said, are not limited to the satisfaction of a job well done.

“My volunteer work has already helped me by connecting [me] to other agencies and, more importantly, connecting [me] with the people of this area. Volunteering has taught me the importance of community unity and relationship.”

At the end of the day, however, Long’s volunteer work is an essential part of who he is.

“I think volunteering is so important because it gives me a sense of serving a higher purpose,” he said. 

That sense is not going away any time soon; Long has completed his internship with the Red Cross and will be staying on as a volunteer. Even when participating in the production of this article, Long’s focus remains on public service. 

When asked if he has anything to share with the readers of The Messenger, Long said, “Become an American Red Cross volunteer and become a great help to this area.”

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