How Much Can You Help?


Meredith Buck from Chalfont, PA, was busy with her own law practice which focuses on medical malpractice when 9/11 happened. As she watched advertisements from the American Red Cross looking for volunteers something clicked in her mind. The next day she signed up as a disaster responder. She stayed in New-York for about six weeks. As she was just coming back home she was dispatched right away to West Philadelphia to work with victims of an apartment fire.

This has been the life of Meredith, now 49, since 2001. She has worked in 55 local and 12 national disasters, not to mention her involvement with other volunteer and advocacy works. She has run shelters and trained nurses. Meredith has also helped in the massive recovery efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.  She has served as a disaster health services supervisor at a shelter, assisting people displaced by Hurricane Rita.  While on the job, she led a team of nursing specialists who were surrounded by the fear and wreckage the hurricanes had wrought.

Meredith’s daily life is rarely predictable, since as a volunteer she can be called at anytime for an emergency. This happened as she was on a way to a Christmas party. She fielded a call about a house fire nearby, immediately quitting her party plans  and rerouting to the scene. She can even be called while everyone else is sleeping.  Buck did just this one frigid night in January, when more than 100 people were left homeless in an apartment fire.  She worked around the clock, out of the basement of a church, prioritizing dozens of requests while, at the same time training new Red Cross nurses.

Such selflessness hasn’t gone unnoticed. Even though Meredith is not volunteering to get recognition, in her law practice she already has received several awards related to her pro bono services for clients in protection-from-abuse cases. Now she has just been awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest honor a nurse can get from the Red Cross. Think about it, she is one of only 60 Americans to have earned the medal since the award ‘s inception in 1920. This recognition shows how much she has done to help her fellow human beings. Via

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