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Why I Help: Jon Hammond

Red Cross Flag
“We put some clothes on their backs, some food in their bellies, and a roof over their heads.”

Jon Hammond has helped countless people locally and across the nation through his work with the American Red Cross, providing support to those affected by an emergency or a disaster in those sudden, worried moments when they need it most.

“It’s one thing to earn a paycheck,” said Jon, who lives in Contra Costa County, “but it’s a whole other thing to reach out and make a difference in someone’s life.”

Jon has been volunteering with the Red Cross Bay Area Chapter for the past five years. He began attending local emergency response training courses in order to help support his neighbors and community. Shortly after completing the training, Jon joined the Red Cross where he became a local emergency responder, providing aid and services to those affected by house and apartment fires.

“A lot of these people have no place else to turn,” explained Jon, referring to those he and numerous other Red Cross workers help support after a local fire. “We put some clothes on their backs, some food in their bellies, and a roof over their heads.”

In communities across the nation, Red Cross local responders come to the aid of families and individuals who have been displaced by fire. There are currently approximately 65 Red Cross local responders in Contra Costa County. These generous men and women respond, on average, to nine or 10 emergency calls each month. Jon consistently takes the highest number of response shifts in the county. He is also working with fellow Red Cross volunteer Karen Newton to survey and evaluate potential locations for shelters in Contra Costa County.

In addition to all the wonderful work Jon does locally, he has also gone to aid in the relief efforts of several national disasters, including Hurricane Sandy and the Prescott wildfire in Arizona, which claimed the lives of 19 firefighters and left hundreds without homes.

As taxing as all these duties with the Red Cross may be, Jon said he never questions the value and rewards the work he is doing provides.


“It’s a good feeling you can’t get any other way, and when it’s for your community, it’s even better,” he said.