Early this week, I got the following email from Libby, the Crew & Volunteer Coordinator for the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day:
“You have probably heard by now that Atlanta was hit with a fast moving, low producing snow storm this past Tuesday. While most of the country would not blink at a mere 3 inches of snow, it launched a chain of events in Atlanta that has left the city reeling. Even days later.
“As the snow started to fall, schools quickly dismissed and parents hit the roads to go pick up their children. There were lots of factors involved, but the short story is that Atlanta was not prepared. The roads had not been salted and trucks that were on the road were quickly stuck in gridlock traffic. Over the next 30 HOURS, thousands of people where stuck in their cars. The school system shut down its transportation and kids that were on buses were sent back to school. Thousands of children were stranded at school, with parents not able to get to them. I will let you look up all of the gory details but the magic that came from the storm was amazing. People walked in groups for miles to get home. People took in strangers to spend the night and have a place to shelter. Men with 4-wheel-drive vehicles spent all night rescuing cars in ditches on the side of the roads. All while teachers and administrators took care of over 5,000 children left in Atlanta schools to spend the night.”
It was a grim and frightening recap of events, a first-hand account which I had seen versions of on the news for days. But Libby was bringing all of this up to spotlight an email exchange she had with Eileen S., a 10-year crew member/crew captain on the Atlanta 3-Day. Eileen, who works at an Atlanta hospital, had shared with Libby her experience with the storm, saying, “There were so many horror stories of people stuck for 8+ hours. It was actually okay here [at the hospital]. Almost a 3-Day experience since we all pitched in wherever we were needed. I’m in charge of the laboratory information systems, but that didn’t stop me from moving recliners (for visitors, patient families, etc.), doing bed counts and working the hot food line in the cafeteria. Sometimes, I think the 3-Day prepares you for any emergency. I took it all in stride.”
I got in touch with Eileen and asked her to elaborate on how her 3-Day Crew background helped her last week, and she shared, “Whether it’s the 3-Day or my position [at work], I’m of the mind that you do whatever is needed to help. I knew when I started working in a healthcare facility (many years ago) that people don’t fall ill Monday–Friday, 9-5 on sunny days only. So, you do what you need to do. Same thing for the 3-Day. My responsibility is to do whatever is needed to support the walkers, the crew, the event staff and to make it a safe and unforgettable experience.
“The bottom line is whether I’m crewing or at work, I’m service-oriented. My friends thought I was doing something special. I thought it was just part of what I do.”
Libby agreed, “Eileen is right. The 3-Day is a place where we ask crew members to go above and beyond. To show kindness in everything they do. To work long hours and get little sleep. To work together, with strangers, for the good of the cause. And to be ready for anything. I am thankful for the 3-Day and people like Eileen.”
We are too.