Georgia's oldest Red Cross volunteer -- and, still going! - New York News

Georgia's oldest Red Cross volunteer -- and, still going!

ATLANTA -

When people's lives are devastated by tragedies and natural disasters around the world, the American Red Cross responds with help of all kinds.

But, the agency depends on well-trained volunteers to be ready to go whenever and wherever an emergency strikes. Those fall to the sturdy shoulders of dedicated volunteers like Atlanta's James Greason, Jr. He's 91 and shows no signs of stopping his good works.

After fighting for his country in World War II, in addition to working for the U.S. Postal Service for 42 years, it'd be easy to understand if James wanted to just kick back and relax in his retirement years.

"This is the comfort kits, and we have Mickey Mouse dolls for the children," James said.

But, no, he'd rather spend his time volunteering at the Red Cross. A modest man, James is the oldest Red Cross volunteer in Georgia. He's been answering the call since 1995, loading up in the red-and-white van to help families coping with disaster.

"It makes me feel good because I can see that the people are feeling good," James said. "Of course, if you've had a tragedy or some incident like that, it's just a good feeling to have someone come in and assist you -- whether you know them or not."

His calm and reassuring demeanor have comforted metro Atlanta residents during their most vulnerable times. He's covered everything from running a shelter during Hurricane Katrina to helping families who've lost everything they own in a fire.

Friends say it's James straightforward and personable manner that help calm clients in the face of loss.

"It's enjoyment for me. It's a pleasure for me. I feel like I'm making a contribution..
 James said. "My small contribution to mankind."

So, maybe his secret to eternal youth is simply helping others.

"Well, right now I plan to quit in 2040. (James laughs)"

And a good sense of humor doesn't hurt, either. Doing the math, James will turn 118 in 2040. Several of his friends say it wouldn't surprise them is he lived that long and continued to spent his time helping others.

The American Red Cross is looking for volunteers of all ages. James says it's a fulfilling experience and one that he encourages everyone to give a try. For more information on how you can make a difference by getting involved, visit the Red Cross Web site -- http://www.redcross.org/ga/atlanta/volunteer.

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