On Oct. 29, 2012, Melissa Amador was home from work watching the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. “I remember thinking to myself: I have to help somehow.” Soon thereafter, she was notified by the Greater Long Beach Chapter that Red Cross disaster volunteers were needed to help in New York. Since she was disaster trained, she signed up.
Amador, the Community Investment Project manager in the Corporate Communications Dept. at Edison International/Southern California Edison, along with four other Edison employees, volunteered at two disaster shelters for nine days following the hurricane and learned first-hand how the Red Cross assists people during large-scale disasters. “It was amazing to see the trust the community has in the Red Cross. The disaster clients knew when we arrived that we were there to help.”
Amador and another disaster volunteer shared their experiences as part of the 97th annual meeting held June 21 at the California Endowment Center. The meeting marked the first time that board members from across Los Angeles County came together as a region to celebrate the Red Cross’ many local achievements. New officers and board members were also elected.
Martin Cozyn, executive vice president of Human Resources at Occidental Petroleum was re-elected as chairman of the board. Vice chairs are David Allen, partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP; David DiCristofaro, president, Greater Los Angeles Region, Wells Fargo L.A. Metro Region; and Barbara Mathews, vice president, associate general counsel and chief governance officer, Southern California Edison Company.
In addition to the election of new officers, the following board members were elected to a three-year term: David Allen, David DiCristofaro, Lois Ingham, Rob Levy, Barbara Mathews, Buzz McCoy, Cheryl Moersen and Bob Petersen. New members elected to serve a three-year term are: Terry Bodwin, Todd Brooks, Hannah Coan, Andrea Davis, Ron Dresher, Laura Kim, Lisa Klein, Agnes Lew, Scott Olmsted and Tom Tierney. And the following ex-officio members’ terms expired: Nini Sakaguchi, Cathy Sproule and Nicholas Hippisley-Coxe.
Outgoing board members Joel Anik and Christine Neal received special Crystal Cross awards for their years of service to the Red Cross. And, the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services, represented by John Cvketkovic and Liz Garcia, was recognized as being an outstanding, long-term Red Cross partner.
L.A. Chairman Cozyn and chairs of the Region’s other chapters - Antelope Valley, Glendale-La Crescenta, Greater Long Beach/Rio Hondo, Los Angeles, San Gabriel Pomona Valley and Santa Monica – gave reports about successful fundraising events and outlined major strides made in reaching the goals of the PrepareSoCal and city-specific preparedness campaigns.
Disaster volunteer Carol Bamesberger wrapped up the meeting with a moving account of some recent experiences at large-scale disasters. A chaplain and member of the Red Cross national Spiritual Care Team Response Team, Bamesberger described how the Red Cross helps people at natural disasters, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as those affected by acts of terrorism, like the bombing in Boston and the recent shooting at Santa Monica College. She was on the response teams in both Boston, where she helped at a Family Assistance Center for runners and their families, as well as Santa Monica College, helping students and faculty members involved in the police lock down.
Bamesberger closed by thanking the board members for all they do to support the mission of the Red Cross: “You enable me to walk where I walk, hold who I hold, and to respect, cherish and honor the people we serve through the great American Red Cross.”