When Sergeant Christopher Orlicki stopped by an American Red Cross table in the Fort Hood commissary, he says he was simply looking for a volunteer opportunity to fill his free time outside of his job in Army communications.
Less than one year later, Orlicki has found that and more. He has not only become an active volunteer with Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF), but a go-to leader around the station, a popular instructor and a faithful friend to his fellow Red Crossers—all while remaining an active duty member of the military.
“There’s always something to help out with around here,” Orlicki said humbly. “I like to stay busy, and there is so much to be learned from the people here.”
According to Red Cross Fort Hood staff and his fellow volunteers, Sergeant Orlicki never turns down an opportunity to help out. When the volunteer position of Records Chair recently opened up, he began training to fill it without skipping a beat.
But his volunteer duties don’t stop there. He provides emergency communication briefings for pre-deployment and Family Readiness Groups and covers information tables at special events. He has even trained to become a Basic Aid Training instructor because the station needed someone to teach an upcoming class.
“He is constantly bettering himself so that he can serve others,” said Laura Read, Fort Hood Senior Station Manager, American Red Cross.
“He is an exceptional volunteer who is always exceeding our expectations by taking initiative to improve various aspects within the full spectrum of the American Red Cross services on Fort Hood.”
Sergeant Orlicki’s commitment to service was never more evident than when a neighboring town was struck by disaster and needed help. On Halloween in 2013, Austin, Texas was impacted by an historic flood event that affected more than 1,000 homes.
Without hesitation, Sergeant Orlicki took leave from his military job and used the time to volunteer for Red Cross disaster relief. He worked overnight shifts in the shelter and stayed in Austin for five days, providing support to nearly any department that needed his help.
“I’ve been doing this job for a very long time,” said Laura Read. “But I have truly learned so much from him.”
But as Sergeant Orlicki receives thanks for his outstanding volunteer service, he is reluctant to accept any praise for going above and beyond.
“I like volunteering because it’s like helping out a new set of friends. I am reminded that we are making lives better here,” Orlicki said. “I know it will make my mom proud.”