Charles "Chuck" Mudd is an award winner! To be more specific, he received the Brownie B. Smith award for his sustained dedication and leadership (specifically serving the Prince William region in Manassas, Virginia) in voluntary service from the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area (NCA). Though Mudd has only been an American Red Cross volunteer for two years, he has overcome daunting difficulties in order to help feed and provide care for hundreds of disaster-stricken victims, including approximately 150 people for 10 straight days after severe flooding happened in the Norfolk, Virginia area, as well as giving invaluable assistance to survivors of about 50 house fires. In addition, Mudd maintains 22 cases of computers, telephones, radios, administrative and VSAT (stands for Very Small Aperture Terminal, which is basically a two-way satellite ground station) satellite equipment for the American Red Cross’ International Services. He packs and ships the equipment whenever and wherever it is needed, such as sending these critical communication devices to Haiti when the international community banded together to help the recovery efforts after the major earthquake struck that country.
Just possessing an Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV) is a rarity. There are only 12 in the entire United States, and the National Capital Area chapter has one. Most impressively, Mudd has been trained to operate this sort of vehicle. He passed a 40-hour training class to be able to drive and operate the ECRV, which is equipped with a satellite dish, radios, telephones, computers, etc. For instance, during the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster of 2010 (in which 29 miners tragically died), Mudd and his ECRV teammate, Roger Blinn, enabled Red Cross workers to maintain direct satellite communication with National Red Cross headquarters. This vital communication feat was achieved despite the "no cell phone zone" created by the remoteness of the area.
Once situated at the West Virginia site of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, Mudd and teammate Blinn sat up the first two nights of the tragedy. Over the next three nights they took alternating turns - One slept on a cot outside the truck, while the other remained inside operating the communication equipment. And, although they themselves were getting minimal sleep, they constantly devoted their time to comfort grieving family members. In addition, Mudd and Blinn were able to allow the distraught family members of the trapped coal miners to make more than 2,500 calls to anxious friends and relatives.
Mudd also manages the logistics and restocking of 56 emergency supply trailers that are strategically placed throughout the National Capital Region. These trailers are widely spread out and cover seven counties, plus the District of Columbia. Mudd is a major financial donor; additionally, he greets and chats with nervous donors at American Red Cross blood drives. According to Karen Wayne, a Red Cross NCA Community Executive, "Chuck is a passionate and caring volunteer, [and the] service he provides is priceless to us and the people we serve."
Mudd began his remarkable service to the American Red Cross at the suggestion of his long-time friend, Karen Bainer. And, he instantly fell in love with the hard work and camaraderie forged among his colleagues and those who survived a devastating disaster. He and Bainer have helped to feed hundreds of people during blizzards and other events, such as emergency response drills.