Donnie Beer is probably best known as a member of Beaufort's City Council, but her public service in another capacity is equally important, if less-heralded, until recently.
The Lowcountry Chapter of the American Red Cross has named Beer its volunteer of the year.
Beer says she simply does what is needed: "That's part of being with the Red Cross."
That's a fine sentiment, but it scarcely does her story justice. Indeed, her volunteerism shines a light on a segment of the community as important as policymakers: People who answer the call when disaster strikes.
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A Red Cross volunteer for 15 years, Beer is a Beaufort Disaster Action Team coordinator and frequently responds to fires at all hours. She also helps with the organization's armed-forces program, which supports military families, and she is training for Red Cross' international services program.
In December, Beer spent a week in New York helping victims of Superstorm Sandy, matching them with those who can provide government help.
You can bet she is appreciated by area firefighters and EMTs as the familiar face of comfort at fire scenes. The displaced families no doubt feel the same.
Her volunteerism exemplifies the community's highest ideal.