Every Tuesday morning, Dayl Dougherty is the first person to greet visitors at the Red Cross Triangle Chapter office on Peartree Lane in Raleigh.
Dayl, a retired nurse, volunteers at the chapter’s front desk, answering phones, fielding questions, and comforting families who’ve experienced disasters. She said volunteering with the Red Crossis something that comes naturally.
Growing up, Dayl lived in Virginia and North Carolina, and both of her parents were highly involved in the community. Her dad, who was in the Army Reserve, was called to active duty the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Dayl’s mother, already a Red Cross volunteer, was recruited as a Red Cross “Donut Dolly” to serve in Europe. Donut Dollies deployed with troops overseas to help boost morale during wartime. “She wanted to be where the action was,” Dayl said.
Dayl’s mother traveled with the military, playing games with troops, delivering mail, serving hot meals, providing emotional support, and working on combat equipment. Dayl recalls her mother’s stories of repairing Jeeps on military bases after combat, and driving for dignitaries such as Lieut. Gen. James M. Gavin, a commander from the 82nd Airborne who went on to become a topArmy official.
Dayl said her mother didn’t talk much about her time as a Donut Dolly. She only shared that she was in Auschwitz when the concentration camp was liberated in January of 1945.
Red Cross resurfaced in Dayl’s life when her grandfather became sick with cancer while her father was still deployed during WWII. Thankfully, Red Cross assisted in getting Dayl’s father home in time to tell her grandfather goodbye.
When asked about the importance of the Red Cross in the community, Dayl said, “During hard times, it’s the first place people think of when they are in need.”
For those interested in volunteering with the Red Cross like Dayl and her family, visit redcross.org/volunteer.
By Haley Franks/American Red Cross