"I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to go." - BettyAnn Mummert, Red Cross volunteer
For BettyAnn Mummert and her husband, Mick, personal acts of public service and volunteerism are given a high priority.
"We just feel we can give back," the 45-year-old Bellevue resident said.
Acting on that belief, BettyAnn will board a plane for the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast region early Saturday morning.
After leaving Friedman Memorial Airport at 10:30 a.m., she will journey to Baton Rouge, La. There she will work as a volunteer with the Red Cross, helping to provide much needed necessities and comfort to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The Red Cross has assigned BettyAnn to one of their service centers where she will help provide families with basic needs such as food, clothing and temporary shelter.
"It's a commitment for three weeks," she said. "They won't let you stay any longer."
Husband Mick, an Idaho National Guardsman who has been serving with the 116th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq since June 2004, told BettyAnn to go for it when she told him of her desire to help out.
"He was behind it 100 percent," BettyAnn said.
BettyAnn's and her husband's philosophy on volunteerism is based in part on the help they've received in the past, she said.
Not even the threat of a new Gulf Coast hurricane, in this case massive Hurricane Rita, had taken away any of BettyAnn's resolve on Thursday afternoon to reach out to her fellow citizens another time zone distant.
"You know what, I'm not worried," she said about the threat posed by Rita. Having witnessed Hurricane Ivan while vacationing in Sterling, Va., last year, BettyAnn said she feels confident in what she's doing.
"I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to go," she said.
The only aspect of leaving that really does bother her is having to be apart from her two grown children and six grandchildren while she's away.
"That's my tough part," she said.