As a volunteer for the American Red Cross, I currently serve as Station Chair, the lead volunteer position at Fort Belvoir and Quantico Marine Corps Base. As the alter ego to the Station Manager, I assist him in working with 400 volunteers to provide important and needed services to the Armed Forces members and their families. We assist members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Reserves, both active duty and retirees. At Fort Belvoir and Quantico, our volunteers work at the hospital and clinics as doctors, nurses, therapists, comfort care givers, therapy dog visitors, administrative assistants, Fisher House assistants, and many other skilled positions. We coordinate outreach events to educate military members and their families about Red Cross services available to them. For example, we participate in a variety of events, such as health, fitness and security expos, orientation for new arrivals to the post or base, troop deployment and reintegration programs, hospital back-to-school and holiday activities for children, retiree celebrations, unit gatherings, a community parade, and even “pooch plunges.” These events offer us an opportunity to engage with the community through presentations on Red Cross programs, respond to their questions, and assist them as needed. On occasion, our volunteers have even been called on to assist someone with first aid or CPR. Last year, we participated in over 55 outreach events. This connection with the military and their families is the real pleasure I derive from my service with the Red Cross.
I believe we all, as U.S. citizens, have a duty to help our family, our community, our country, and our world community, when and where possible. I was fortunate to have worked many years at a job with the federal government that allowed me to work with humanitarian assistance efforts overseas that helped people adversely affected by disasters. Now as a volunteer, the Red Cross offers me an opportunity to help military members and their families when in need. The rewards are great. I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in volunteer service to join us. They will be welcome.