Mom called to tell us that she is off to Mississippi tomorrow to set up in advance of Hurricane Gustav. She is flying into Jackson and then driving to Hattisburg to wait and see where she will be needed. The intrepid traveler is off on her last big disaster adventure with the American Red Cross.
For those of you that don't know about her community spirit -- Ella, the matriarch of The FamiLee Jewels, is a volunteer disaster coordinator.
She has been flying into areas devastated by flood, fire and storm for the last 20 years. Ella has served in Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes like Andrew and Katrina. She has assisted Floridians and Californians evacuating from wild fires, and Midwest states each year as the Mississippi reaches flood level and levees are breached. She has shared the heartache of those in Oklahoma City and New York after terror struck our country in those places.
Mom is retiring after this job. At 76 she is willing to admit that 3-6 weeks of 10-12 hour days in less than ideal living situations is getting to be too much.
Her strong opinions and quiet activism have always been a part of my life. You see my Mom is a doer. Never mind delegating and hoping that someone else will carry your ideas through. Just tell her what needs to be done and get out of her way.
She is strong, organized, and committed to what she knows is the right thing to do.
She was a single parent to 4 children for most of our young lives.
She worked very hard and took night classes to better her education yet we never felt deprived.
She attended every game we ever played, every concert we ever sang in, all of our graduations and milestones...she still is.... for her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.
She is a remarkable woman and an amazing role model for her family, her friends and her community.
People occasionally ask me "Don't you do enough already?" or "Why are you starting another project?" or Isn't that good enough the way it is?".
I only have to think of what Mom would do to know the answer to those questions.
When I grow up I want to be just like her.