It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of longtime volunteer Don Dodson.
Don, who primarily volunteered in the San Fernando Valley, was a familiar face throughout the L.A. Region. Over the years, he held numerous volunteer disaster leadership positions within the organization, including Logistics Leader, Disaster Chair of the San Fernando Valley District, External Relations Leader, DAT Leader, Disaster Duty Officer, Operations Manager and an Advanced Disaster Services Training Instructor.
It is as an instructor that his good friend and fellow volunteer Dick Thorpe best remembers Don. “He was always teaching and helping others. We worked closely together to develop disaster training materials that the national Red Cross later incorporated into its materials.”
Fellow volunteer Sandy Hanagami echoes Dick’s sentiment, saying that Don was her mentor. “He taught me how to go on my first Disaster Action Team response and led me through my first shelter drill. Don encouraged me to grow as a volunteer and become the Disaster Services Chair for the San Fernando Valley. His passion for helping those in need was inspiring.”
Disaster Health Services volunteer Linda Housden, R.N., who has been a volunteer for nearly 20 years, praises Don’s humanitarian spirit and willingness to help fellow volunteers. “I’ve never known anyone who worked harder than Don. On disaster assignments, he could handle anything logistically from soup to nuts. The first time I met him was at a shelter at College of the Canyons for residents of a trailer park who were displaced because of flooding. Since I was there to help clients with health related issues, I needed a separate table and area. Within a few minutes, he had it set up. In another shelter, we had disabled people who needed a separate area for privacy. Don got creative and made it happen. I have always been impressed with his ability to get things done and make do with what we had.” What a legacy of love Don has left behind at the American Red Cross for those of us whom had the privilege and blessing to work alongside of him.”
Alex Rose, Disaster Program Manager, saw Don in action on many occasions. “He was instrumental in the engagement and development of many Red Cross disaster volunteers and employees. Don was a patient instructor, methodical planner, friendly coach, and consummate friend. He was kind, dedicated, persuasive and gentle. This is a large loss to our organization.”
Don received many accolades and awards over the years for his commitment to the Red Cross, including a Candlelight Award for Volunteer Excellence.