Red Cross in Central Texas celebrates 100 years of service

Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Kendall

Red Cross leaders held a 100-year birthday party in honor of the organization's role in Central and South Texas.

“We helped out with the Bastrop fires, the two floodings here in Austin, we've gone to Smithville for the fires and we went to New York for Hurricane Sandy,” said Linda Billetter who has been volunteering with the Red Cross for five years.  

Everything from food and water, shelter, medical or mental health support is provided to victims of all kinds of disasters, but sometimes what victims need the most is a shoulder to lean on.

“I'm the one who will hold their hand and hug them and just let them know someone really cares about them,” Billetter said. 

Sometimes help is needed in the middle of the night, far from home in the middle of a dangerous disaster.

“We respond to every kind of disaster. From home fires all the way up to major hurricanes and large disasters that you see all across the media, we always provide food, comfort, shelter, medical assistance, mental health support and it’s done through the help of volunteers and the generous donations of our fellow citizens,” said CEO of the American Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas Marty McKellips.

Red Cross volunteers give up the comforts of home to provide comfort to someone who may have lost everything, but they say it's worth it to make a difference for their community.

“I just feel like I have a purpose. Like I'm where I need to be,” Billetter said. 

Every night, week and year is different, but after a century of serving Central Texas, volunteers are ready for anything.

“2015 was actually our busiest year ever in this chapter. We had nine major relief operations ranging from several floods and another fire in Bastrop all the way to oil leaks in West Texas. So it was a very busy year this recent year,” McKellips said. 

Saturday, the organization celebrated the people who make it all possible.

“The most important message on this 100-year anniversary is that we look forward to the next 100 years and we need more volunteers to help us keep going with our important mission,” said McKellips.

The Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas is in need of additional volunteers. To sign up stop by their office or visit