LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Four women from Southern Nevada have been selected in Nexstar’s Remarkable Women of the Year search.
The first nominee, Diane Orgill, was nominated by the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross. Her colleagues point to her spirit, and her innate willingness to help animals and people during their most vulnerable times.
Orgill began dedicating her life to others, decades ago. She moved to Las Vegas in 1970 as an educator for the Clark County School District. For 20 years, she taught high school Spanish and some courses at UNLV.
“When I retired, my love was animals,” Orgill said.
Her impact on the community — during her retirement — would be felt for years to come. She helped create the very first spay and neuter clinic in Las Vegas. Today, it’s referred to as The Animal Foundation.
“I feel like it was a really good thing for the community, got some things started that we really needed,” she said. “I’ve never had a more stressful job, to walk through and look at those faces every day, that was very difficult.”
Her next volunteer role was also animal connected.
“I saw fires on TV, in California, and I saw people wearing red cross vests working with the horses, so I called and said, I want to do your animal things.”
Instead, she was placed on the front lines working in the disaster branch of the American Red Cross. The branch helps people through home fires and mass tragedies when they are at their most vulnerable.
“We’re in charge of being sure we have responders to go out and meet with the family. On other days I am that responder.”
“When I was here for the first three months, I would say, I don’t know that employee’s name and they would say, ‘oh no, she’s a volunteer.’ I’m like she’s here more than I am,” said Alan Diskin, American Red Cross.
“I’ve been here for 13 years, started doing a couple of shifts a month, and now I have a couple of shifts a month off,” Orgill said.
She carries a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge and wisdom, having served longer than many employees
“On Oct. 1, 2017, Diane responded to the tragic shooting at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, working countless hours at the family assistance center to help the community in its darkest hours. During that time she was a caseworker, sun up and sundown, giving comfort and care to those impacted by the shooting,” said Donna Robinson, American Red Cross.
“How she copes, in moments of chaos as a fire has broken out, and you have 60 people displaced from an apartment, every one of them needs assistance. And how she kind of very coolly, goes through and makes sure those needs are met, with compassion and with that real humanity,” said Jennifer Sparks, American Red Cross.
“Volunteer, humanitarian, teacher, wife, friend, Diane has many roles, no one of them small, she has brought grace and skill and compassion to all of them and for this, and so much more, the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross puts her forward for recognition as a remarkable woman,” Robinson said.
Orgill says she’s honored to be part of this group.