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Red Cross Welcomes New Regional Disaster Officer

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"It’s a privilege to now be in this role, supporting volunteers as they help others..."

The American Red Cross is pleased to announce the appointment of David M. Kunzelman as Regional Disaster Officer for the organization’s Eastern New York Region. In this role, Kunzelman will lead the region’s Disaster Cycle Services team, which includes a small group of paid staff and hundreds of volunteers across a 24-county service area. With this team, Kunzelman will work to strengthen the capacity of the Red Cross in all aspects of the disaster cycle, from preparedness to response to recovery.

“We are thrilled to welcome David to our region and to have someone with his level of expertise and energy at the helm of our disaster program,” said Gary Striar, CEO for the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region. “His many years of experience in disaster services, both as a Red Cross employee and a volunteer leader, make him perfectly suited to lead our team here in Eastern New York.”

Kunzelman comes to the Eastern New York Region from the state of Montana where, most recently, he served as Disaster Program Manager and oversaw all aspects of the disaster cycle for a territory comprising 55,000 square miles. Kunzelman originally joined the Red Cross in Montana in 2005 as a volunteer. He found himself actively involved with the Chapter’s disaster and military programs and eventually became the volunteer counterpart to Montana’s Regional Disaster Officer – a leadership position he held for five years before being hired as Disaster Program Manager.

Kunzelman’s Red Cross service actually dates back to 2001, when he joined the Washtenaw County Chapter in Ann Arbor, Michigan as a youth volunteer – the first in that Chapter’s history. In Ann Arbor, Kunzelman became a First Aid Station team member and then coordinator, a CPR Instructor, a military caseworker and a Disaster Action Team member and then leader. In 2004, he was hired as an Emergency Services Specialist in Ann Arbor, specializing in management of disaster and military services until he moved to Montana, where his Red Cross career continued. In 2011, David’s outstanding work as a Red Cross volunteer was recognized with the Presidential Award for Excellence.

 “I am really looking forward to working with volunteers in the Eastern New York Region to advance our disaster program to the next level,” said Kunzelman. “Volunteers make up more than 90% of the Red Cross workforce, and having been a Red Cross volunteer for many years, it’s a privilege to now be in this role, supporting volunteers as they help others prepare, respond and recover from disasters.”

The Eastern New York Region, which operates with the support of more than 3,300 volunteers, serves more than 2.5 million people across 24 counties and 26,000 square miles. Made up of four Red Cross Chapters, with offices in Albany, Glens Falls, Morrisonville, Poughkeepsie, Utica and Watertown, the Eastern New York Region provides relief for disaster victims, training in preparedness and health and safety skills, support for members of the military, and more.

To contact David Kunzelman, email david.kunzelman@redcross.org or call (518) 694-5125.