"There's an old saying that says the more you give in life the more you get back and I find that to be really true," says Vern Wagner.
Vern has been volunteering just about his entire life, but after Hurricane Katrina he felt he could do more.
And that's when he decided to become a member of the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross.
"He's a heck of a people person. He really really cares about the people," says Red Cross Emergency Services Coordinator Tony Guerra.
Vern has spent a lot of time helping out in area disasters including ice storms, floods, and fires.
"To see that little child that was just traumatized from a fire and you wrap up that child and give them a teddy bear. There's just something really special about that," says Vern.
After helping countless people, Vern decided to help himself, by getting back into shape.
Vern and his son were asked to be a part of a weight loss challenge on the Dr. Phil Show.
He lost a whopping 70 pounds.
Despite the glitz and glam of being on a network show, to Vern it was all about getting healthy and spending time with his son.
"That was really the best part for me was I saw my son transform himself and his self-esteem and how proud he was of himself and what a neat thing for a father to do with his son," says Vern.
Vern plans to maintain a healthy lifestyle and continue to assist Northlander's in need, one hug at a time.
"Our pay as volunteers is we get a hug from people when we help them out. And to a volunteer that's something very special," says Vern.
Vern also provides disaster preparedness training in area schools and at senior centers.