Colonel Don Newhall stood tall with a great grin and gleam in his eyes, as a vital part of the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter’s Service to the Armed Forces department.
Don, who served in the Army National Guard, Air Force, and American Legion for 27 years, died March 28 at his Los Gatos home. He was 82 years old.
Affectionately called the “Colonel,” Don left an indelible imprint on the lives of his colleagues and friends at the American Red Cross and with his brother legionnaires of American Legion Post Moffett Field.
Don began his work with the Red Cross in 1971 as a Partner Services volunteer and liaison to Emergency Operations Centers in the area. He was instrumental in the Mountain Emergency Response Corp -- joining the Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley Chapters to get emergency supplies over Highway 17 in the event of an emergency. He always had a special allegiance to the mountains and was a government liaison for Cities of Los Gatos, San Jose, as well as Santa Clara County.
Don was the past chair of the Red Cross’ West Valley Advisory Committee and served on the board of directors for the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross for three terms.
While Don was never deployed out of the area, he could always be depended upon to respond to local disasters.
He was also a key communications link for the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces department, helping the Chapter relate to military people and units as well as veterans groups. He was an important planner and participator in the annual Veterans Day Parade in San Jose. This was symbolic of the community’s respect for him and Don was treated as an honored guest.
Don was a cantankerous man who had a great sense of humor and honor for our Chapter, state, and country. Don, you will be missed.