Volunteering is a way of life for Hammond retiree


July 23, 2014 – Kimberly Cheek-Stanley

On any given day, Anne Herbert is working behind the scenes to improve the lives of those in her community and across the country.

The Hammond resident is the only American Red Cross disaster volunteer in the city and the first person contacted when a disaster or fire occurs in Hammond.

“We take care of the immediate needs of those displaced by making sure they have someplace to stay, food, clothing and referrals for services offered by other organizations. In some cases, we offer medical assistance,” Herbert said.

“I’ve been trained to work in Mass Care, which includes sheltering, warehousing and feeding, and Client Services, which is administrative.”

Since 2005, Herbert also has assisted with hurricane recovery efforts in four states and was deployed to assist after flooding and tornadoes in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

“I’ve learned survival and compassion. Living out of a duffle bag for three plus weeks teaches you survival skills. The compassion kicks in when you witness the destruction left by a disaster,” she said.

“Regardless of what major accomplishments I’ve achieved, they can never replace the feeling I have when I help those in need. The Red Cross has taught me what real compassion is and how it helps with the healing process of those suffering through the aftermath of a disaster.”

A 1968 Hammond High School graduate, Herbert is a retired contract administrator with MCI Telecommunications Corporation.

She now serves as commissioner for the Hammond Human Relations Commission as well as a board member of the Hammond Plan Commission, the Hammond College Bound Program and the PACT Bradley Center, a transition home for those leaving prison.

In addition, she is the vice president of the Hammond Neighborhood Crime Watch and volunteers with the Hammond Parks Foundation and the Black History Coalition Committee.

A member of Covenant United Church of Christ in South Holland, Ill., Herbert enjoys dancing and scrapbooking, and is a published poet.

In her free time, she can be found working with the Hammond Boys and Girls Club and serving food at St. Monica and Luke Catholic Church Soup Kitchen in Gary.