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Why I Help: Dennis Alexander

Americen Red Cross Monterey Bay Area volunteer - Dennis Alexander
"It was a very big surprise." - American Red Cross Monterey Bay Area Chapter board member Dennis Alexander

When American Red Cross Monterey Bay Area Chapter board member Dennis Alexander went to the Volunteer Recognition Dinner on October 10, 2013, he had no clue he was about to be honored as the Chapter Volunteer of the Year.

“It was a very big surprise. I got the invite and had no idea whatsoever I’d be receiving it,” he said.

The Seaside High School math teacher and part-time reserve police officer learned the value of volunteering while serving with the Peace Corps after college. Since moving to Seaside 16 years ago, Dennis has been serving his community through teaching and volunteering, and was shocked when his name was called.

“I was very honored. The Red Cross is a fantastic organization, one of the oldest nonprofits in the country,” he said, adding his wife Laurel knew about the award but managed to keep the secret from him.

The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to an inspirational volunteer who has contributed significantly to the mission of the Red Cross. The award was given at the fall event at the Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Course, with nearly 100 volunteers attending.

Despite working as a teacher and police officer, and serving as a city councilmember, Dennis still finds time to respond to local disasters, including last year’s Redwood City 72-unit apartment fire, where he acted as shelter manager.

“Dennis has a heart for people and a willingness to get things done,” said Daniella Zapata, Community Relations Manager for the Monterey Bay Area Chapter. “He never backs down from hard work. You’re just as likely to see him loading shelter trailers as you are to see him attending a board meeting. His leadership by example is truly inspiring.”

In addition to his work in the Bay Area, Dennis has been on two national deployments during his decade of service to the Red Cross—Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.