Watkins: ‘Helping is my passion’

Red Cross appoints county blood drive coordinator

By Kevin Spradlin

One day, Brandie Watkins is going to get paid. She’s an aspiring computer engineer and though she doesn’t yet know what she’ll do with the rest of her life, she knows technology will be in the thick of it.

For now, though, the 27-year-old Rockingham woman is perfectly content helping where ever possible.

Brandie Watkins

Brandie Watkins

Watkins said she’s been volunteering with the American Red Cross in Moore and Richmond counties since 2008. Recently, however, she decided to step up her game. She approached her supervisor and asked how else she could help.

“Richmond County doesn’t have a blood drive coordinator,” she was told. “It shocked me, ’cause I didn’t know we didn’t have one either. When they offered me the opportunity, I was like, ‘yeah, I’ll do it.’ The Red Cross gives me the satisfaction of helping someone else.”

At a blood drive, Watkins said, “you meet a lot of people. It’s so fun.”

Watkins began her newest volunteer position only two days ago. Her task now is to recruit volunteers to work at blood drives. She needs volunteers to greet those arriving on site of a blood drive as well as people willing to help with the canteen, in which light refreshments, such as cookies, crackers, punch or water are given to blood donors.

Watkins has decided to take a semester off from college to focus on her new role with the American Red Cross. That’s not the only thing she does, however. She also volunteers at the weekly soup kitchen at her church, Greater Gospel Lighthouse in Rockingham, each Thursday at 1 p.m.

“Helping is my passion,” Watkins said. “My ultimate goal is to help the homeless people. That’s what I feel like I was born to do.”

Watkins said she’s also assisted at benefit car washes, dinners and even provided tutoring for free. She’s here to provide a service, she said.

“I don’t feel like everything should be charged,” Watkins said. “Some people might need help and they don’t know how to say, ‘can you help me for free?’ I feel like as long as I have the ability and the will to do it …”

A blood drive at Burlington Industries in Cordova was her very first volunteer experience with the Red Cross. It’s something she won’t soon forget.

“There were so many people,” Watkins said.

To learn about volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross, click here or send Watkins an email.

Upcoming blood drives

Jan. 16 — 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 2116 Main St. in Ellerbe

Feb. 16 — 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Freedom Baptist Church on U.S. Route 1 at Ledbetter Road in Rockingham


Filed in: Latest Headlines

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