Red Cross, Humane Society volunteer remembered
NATCHEZ — The late Don Winters dedicated his life to the service of others.
Adams County Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said it was hard to describe in words Winters’ efforts with the Natchez Chapter of the Red Cross, the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society or the Adams County Search and Rescue.
“Dedication is not a good word because he was extra dedicated,” Owens said. “He loved helping people. It was just in his heart.”
Winters, 59, had been involved with the Red Cross since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Red Cross volunteer and Winters’ cousin Angie Brown said, and he’d been volunteering to help out with storms and other disasters since then.
“That was Don — he was just a loving and giving person,” Brown said. “He never thought about what he’d get in return or anything like that. He just gave.”
Brown said Winters had a special knack with storms.
“I always called Don the guru of storms because he could look at the radar and tell you where it was going to go and how bad it was going to be,” Brown. “If Don got that funny feeling in the stomach, then we knew we were going to be busy with that storm because it was going to affect us somehow.”
Natchez-Adams County Humane Society Volunteer Nan Garrison said Winters also had a special knack with dogs.
“He was a very kind person. He could approach an aggravated dog and have it calm within five minutes,” Garrison said. “I couldn’t tell you how many trailers I watched him go under and get dogs out.
“He had been fighting the good fight for a long time.”
Owens said a few Christmases ago, Winters lost his trailer to a fire and thought the aid he was getting should go to someone else.
“It hurt him to take the Red Cross help that he had been giving over the years,” Owens said. “He thought someone else might be more needing.”
In addition to helping people in the field, Winters was also good with training fellow Red Cross volunteers, Brown said.
“Don took me on my very first deployment. We went to Pike County to help them do damage assessment from a tornado,” Brown said. “Telling me what we’d be doing on the way. He was just such a great mentor.”
Brown said his service, along with his knowledge, would be greatly missed.
“He was a good friend, and he is going to be missed. Not only with the Red Cross and the Humane Society, but with Search and Rescue as well,” Brown said. “He touched a lot of people in his lifetime.”
Owens said Winters had been struggling with diabetes for a few years and had recently lost his sight. Winters died July 2, after a heart surgery, Owens said.
While not volunteering, Winters was an emergency medical technician and he also reared and trained German Shepherds.
Winters was buried Monday in Greenlawn Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Natchez Chapter of the American Red Cross or the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society.