BETHLEHEM, PA—When Lauren Ganser arrived in coastal North Carolina last week, she was prepared for – but still surprised by – the devastation she saw as a result of Hurricane Dorian. Stationed in Columbia, she volunteered at a Red Cross shelter, assisting area residents with supplies, providing meals and ensuring those who needed it had a safe, comfortable place to sleep.
“There were uprooted trees, roads were closed and there was water everywhere. The big thing was that all the wires were down in the region,” Ganser says. “They were without power for several days and they just started to get it back as I was getting set to return to the Lehigh Valley.
“They were hit pretty hard. I had the time and the energy to help, so I went down. This was a very important cause and I was happy to lend a hand.”
A resident of Slatington, Ganser is a full-time behavioral therapist, working with children ages 3-21 with disabilities, autism, learning deficits or behavioral difficulties. She has volunteered with the Red Cross as a Disaster Action Team Responder for the past two years. Prior to her involvement with the Red Cross, she also volunteered as a Eucharistic Minister and as a volunteer for the local Seeing Eye Program.
“I am nearing a time in my life when I will be reducing my employment hours and I feel that my time can be utilized in helping those who truly need assistance,” says Ganser, who has also volunteered two years at Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem. “I have extensive life experience that can be beneficial in many situations. I am willing to help in many capacities and hope to bring comfort and healing to others.”
As a result of Ganser’s volunteerism efforts in North Carolina, ArtsQuest has postponed its annual Patriot Day event presented by Embassy Bank to Sept. 23 so that the guest of honor can be on hand to receive the 2019 ArtsQuest Patriot Day Award. The public is invited to join ArtsQuest in honoring Ganser at the Highmark Blue Shield Community Stage on the Air Products Town Square starting at 6 p.m. The ceremony will be led by ArtsQuest President & CEO Kassie Hilgert and include remarks by Bethlehem City Council Member Michael Colon. The evening will also include a musical performance to be announced.
“Lauren’s volunteer efforts in North Carolina embody the essence of why we remember and honor all of our First Responders on Patriot Day,” says Hilgert. “Every day across America, countless men and women selflessly drop what they are doing to lend a hand to help others in need during emergency situations and natural disasters. We are honored to recognize this dedicated community and ArtsQuest volunteer with our Patriot Day Award, even if it is a few days late this year.”
For more information on Patriot Day presented by Embassy Bank, visit www.steelstacks.org.
Information and images provided to TVL by:
Mark Demko, ArtsQuest