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A Leadership Volunteer’s Perspective

Jay Salvador is a busy man. He is volunteer partner to Mario Bruno, the chief response officer at the Connecticut Chapter and Suzy Davidson, the regional Disaster officer. Salvador has also served as disaster chairman and board member during his seven year Red Cross tenure.

As one of the lead volunteers in the state, Salvador works hard to support and encourage volunteer participation and involvement. As the head of the state consortium, Salvador ensures all Red Cross chapters work together during disasters, including keeping volunteers involved and giving them development opportunities.

Recently, he answered questions about what volunteering for the Red Cross means to him.

Why is it important to you to volunteer?

I think there are three reasons; first, as a citizen, I believe I have a responsibility to contribute to our society above and beyond just doing a job. Second, I think its important to help my neighbors when they need a hand. Finally, I think its important that I continue to learn and grow as an individual.

Can you share any experiences volunteering during a disaster? I always go back to a client I met during a multi-family fire in the 2nd or 3rd year of volunteering. There was a fire that started just below this family's apartment. The father told me how he and his wife and children had just moved into the apartment and how they had just purchased new furniture for the apartment. They had not taken out insurance yet and they lost everything in the fire. Here was an individual who was trying to do something good for himself and his family, setting up a nice home with decent furnishings and through no fault of his, everything was gone. It really brought home how my neighbors were impacted by events like this, how little I knew before I started volunteering and how fortunate I was to be able to take Red Cross training and use Red Cross funds and help this person.

Why would you tell others to volunteer? My message is simple, volunteering lets you help other people or to achieve some goal but in the end the true value of volunteering is what is will mean to you as a person. You will gain much more than you ever put in.