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Volunteer Pays Back Good Deed

Steve Sanford

The American Red Cross values its hundreds of thousands of volunteers who help fulfill the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering during emergencies.

These volunteers help staff blood drives, volunteer at Veteran’s Hospitals, teach people lifesaving skills like First Aid and CPR, respond to house fires in the middle of the night and so much more.

Here is one of their stories:

VOLUNTEER GIVES HIS TIME TO PAY BACK GOOD DEED Steve Sanford knew when he retired after a long career in food service management and a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, that he wanted to volunteer for American Red Cross Blood Services. After being seriously injured in Vietnam, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart, the Red Cross helped him communicate with his family back in the states. After retirement, he decided to pay back a decades-old good deed.

Since 2011, Sanford has served as a donor ambassador at blood drives for Red Cross Blood Services, West Division, Minnesota. Ambassadors help regulate the donor flow, ensure the safety of donors following their blood donation and provide friendly, courteous and knowledgeable customer services to blood donors, staff, community partners and visitors.

Sanford has logged nearly 3,000 volunteer hours to date. Currently he greets donors at the North Suburban Blood Donation Center in Arden Hills twice a week and always has a big cheery smile on his face. “I’ve gotten to know the donors and staff very well, and it’s my honor to ensure donors have the best experience possible when they come to give,” Sanford says. “I love meeting new people, and I’ve made a lot of great friendships by volunteering with the Red Cross!”

Sanford is also a dedicated blood donor, having donated 22 gallons. His first blood donation was on May 6, 1966 at St. Paul Vocational College. Health issues have prevented him from donating since last summer, but he hopes that in the near future he will able to start donating again. “When you volunteer with the Red Cross, you become part of a group of people who truly make a difference in the lives of people in serious medical need,” Sanford stated. “You just don’t know when you or a loved one will be the one in need.”

BECOME A VOLUNTEER Red Cross volunteers give their time to help their community. Sign up today to join their ranks and be part of the lifesaving work of the Red Cross. There are many ways you can get involved. Go to to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign offers another way to volunteer and help reduce the number of home fire injuries and deaths locally. Volunteers are going door-to-door in neighborhoods at high risk for fires to install smoke alarms and teach people about home fire safety. Since the Home Fire Campaign started, it has been credited with saving a number of lives. Volunteers have already installed hundreds of thousands of smoke alarms in more than 4,100 cities and towns across the United States.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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