Melinda Wittmer is a Disaster Services volunteer for the American Red Cross serving Northern Minnesota since 2011. She is a member of the Disaster Action Team (DAT) and has recently taken on a new role with Volunteer Services interviewing prospective volunteers to introduce them to the volunteer opportunities at the Red Cross and help them find a good fit.
As a child, she was introduced to the Red Cross as part of her home-school curriculum, in which her mother made the Red Cross a recurring theme. What Wittmer took away from that was that the Red Cross is a solid entity that is always there to help.
Fast forward to her adult life. While working at a group home, she became very close to an individual who passed away after his health declined. Wittmer decided she wanted to do help people and went to the Red Cross office in Duluth, Minnesota, to ask a few questions. Within minutes she was filling out an application and the rest is history.
The disaster volunteer went on her first home fire call with one of the chapter’s most experienced volunteers. Since then she has responded to over 30 home fires. Wittmer says that the most satisfying part of being a disaster volunteer is “helping people who have experienced a devastating loss and seeing how grateful clients always are for the services of the American Red Cross.”
The Red Cross has helped Wittmer become confident. Through her interactions with other volunteers she has become interested in pursuing a career in Emergency Management. Always ready to assist those who have suffered a loss, she embodies the mission and fundamental principles of the Red Cross.