Al, a former technical writer with McDonald Douglas (Boeing), and Nancy, a former dental assistant, retired in Cadiz in 1990 after 35 years in St.Louis, where they are soon to return.
When they first arrived in Cadiz, the Trigg County Red Cross was in danger of closing due to lack of membership. They felt obliged to help.
Once you retire, “you feel like you need to be doing something,” Nancy said.
Al said they “didn’t hop right in” administrative roles, but first joined as emergency responders.
“They needed somebody who could go out to disasters,” he said.
Despite their many hours of training, their first disaster proved to be a learning experience.
“We weren’t prepared at all,” Nancy said. Al agreed.
“We needed someone to show us the ropes,” he said.
But they did learn the ropes, and responded to more than 10 disasters — Alabama floods, Georgia tornadoes, pre-Katrina flooding in New Orleans, Florida hurricanes.
Their responsibility was to drive emergency response vehicles through disaster-struck areas twice a day, delivering noon and evening meals.
“It was hard work and long hours,” Al said.
“But [it was also] very satisfying,” he said, “when you got out and met people, picking through rubble.”
“It’s nice to know you’ve done something worthwhile,” he said.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.