You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Annual meeting honors volunteer commitment to Massachusetts

User News Image

Volunteers are the backbone of the Red Cross, the instrumental lifeblood that allows the Red Cross to continue offering their valuable services. On June 30, the American Red Cross of Massachusetts honored several of these volunteers for their exceptional work at the 2016 Massachusetts Red Cross annual meeting.  

In the International Services department Rose Gould was honored for her commitment to the Red Cross and her embodiment of the organizations humanitarian principles. Gould has extensive international experience in over 45 countries, making her a perfect fit for her work leading the regions International Humanitarian Law activities. Gould also works both stateside and internationally with several nonprofits. The Red Cross is proud to have such an impressive member, congratulations!

Louise Graham was honored for her work with the Services to the Armed Forces department, where she has worked tirelessly with veterans with PTSD for more than 25 years. Most notably Graham has been an asset for the Service to the Armed Forces Resiliency Program, deploying nationally to work with the military and their families when they return from overseas. Graham was recently tapped as one of the national volunteer leads in the new pilot to offer mindfulness trainings to veterans.  

In the Cape, Islands, and Southeast territory William Fleming was honored for his work with Disaster Services. Fleming served as both a DAT member and captain, and gave countless hours toward the development and implementation of the Patient Connection program. Patient Connection is a service that can quickly provide vital information to friends and family members of injured persons in the face of a mass casualty incident. Fleming’s contributions led to this vital service coming to fruition. 

In Disaster Services Robert Geller was honored for his leadership in the Massachusetts Home Fire Campaign Regional and the Metro Boston Home Fire Campaign. He has responded to dozens of fires as well as works with the Red Cross Public Affairs and Ambassador teams.  

In the Northeast Chapter of Disaster Services Johanna Carregal worked tirelessly this past year. Carregal is always willing to help any way that she can, often taking on the responsibility of mentoring the trainees on scene. She is also on the Northeast HFPC and recently took training and became an instructor in the Pillowcase Project. Always willing to lend a hand whenever asked, Carregal embodies the helpfulness good nature of a Red Cross volunteer and is honored for her contributions. 

In the Metro Boston territory of Disaster Services, Matthew Coker-Georges is a lauded DAT captain. Formerly an enlisted man in the British Army, Coker-Georges pursued other trainings and was promoted to full Corporal within two and a half years. He served six years in tours all around the world. In addition Coker-Georges is the volunteer chair-person for Arthritis Foundation is Newton, Mass.  

Lucy Costa of Disaster Services has held many positions over the years, and currently focuses her time on Recovery; she is a casework supervisor and an essential part of the Follow-up casework team. Costa is committed to assisting new members to the casework team train so they too can assist clients in their recovery, working as a mentor and an inspiration. Costa also leads Client Casework Workshops to assist DAT members to focus on recovery when opening new cases.  

In the Western Territory of Disaster Services, Vicki Edwards began her Red Cross adventure in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, moved with compassion to begin to help. After basic Red Cross classes and crash courses in ERV Ready Set Roll, Edwards was on her way to Louisiana delivering meals to thousands. Since then, Vicki has been a tireless responder and deployed to many other Disaster Relief Operations while continuing to support local efforts. Edwards is also a participant in a Mentoring Program where her enthusiasm and dedication is contagious. Without compassion like this, the Red Cross could never have survived.  

Don Cawrse began his career in the Red Cross in the Pioneer Valley chapter, quickly becoming immersed in Disaster Services and has been a valuable DAT responder to local fires. Cawrse is also a mentor to new volunteers, a Disaster Instructor, a DAT Incident Supervisor, Dispatcher, and DAT captain. Cawrse also works for the Mass Cares Group and responded to several disaster operations across the country.  Don is a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer who contributes his time, talent and treasure very generously to the Red Cross’s mission. 

In food and Nutrition Services, Elizabeth Kastner as worked tirelessly assisting the Boston Food Pantry on Wednesdays for about three years, totaling over 250 hours served.  Kastner greets each client with a warm smile, and pairs them with the appropriate number of bags of food along with the appropriate number of volunteer helpers to assist in carrying the food out of the pantry. This has to be performed at a rapid pace, yet Kastner always handles this exchange with professionalism, kindness and humor.

Smita Netra in Communications has been with the Red Cross since February, and in that short time has made herself a valuable asset to the team making significant contributions. A jack-of-all-trades, Netra does it all from helping with materials and events to using her fabulous writing skills to create volunteer profiles and web content. Netra’s seamless integration to the team coupled with her can-do attitude and communications skills are what make her Communications Volunteer of the Year! 

Kathleen Erkkila is honored as the PHSS Volunteer of the year; she has been a CPR and First Aid instructor since 2009, when her company, The May Institute, asked her to start training her co-workers. She worked teaching CPR, as well as fulfilling her main duties as a nurse. She attended an instructor workshop which the Red Cross held in 2014 when we were recruiting volunteer instructors. What luck for us! She started volunteering teaching First Aid/Adult and Pediatric CPR/ Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers and just recently Babysitter's Training. Erkkila has graciously taught 2-3 classes a month in Peabody and sometimes even more. She has been a loyal, helpful volunteer, and is an excellent instructor, as well.  

In the Central territory of Disaster services, Steven Oskirko has been a volunteer for the American Red Cross since 2005. He observed the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and decided that he could help. He signed up for the Red Cross and deployed to the New Orleans area to provide whatever assistance he could. Oskiro has a life time of service spending six and a half years serving his country in the United States Army and is a Vietnam War Veteran. As well as consistently responding to house fires, he also is an instructor, emergency response vehicle driver, and ambassador. He works tirelessly on the Home Fire Campaign and also volunteers at large events. Oskiro has responded to over 28 national disasters.  

Stan Siegel is Biomedical Services Volunteer of the Year. He has been with the Red Cross for only two and a half years but has volunteered over 900 hours. Obviously a dedicated volunteer he has done many services for the Red Cross and found his niche is the Human Resource department and has spent the majority of his time assisting employees and be the proctor for the monthly New Hire training classes. Siegel, with his friendly smile and willingness to help attitude, is well known among the Red Cross team. It is often we get the request “Can you find us a Stan?” It is with deep appreciation and admiration that the Red Cross honors Stan Siegel as the Biomedical Services Volunteer of the Year.  

In Financial Development, Krysten Macklosky was honored for her many contributions. Macklosky has a deep desire to continue her personal passion to support non-profits. She has worked with our Financial Development on several projects; she is currently working with our MGOs on a Data Integrity and contact identification project.  

Manpreet Singh has been a wonderful addition to the Volunteer Services department. His years of experience in both IT and customer service have been immensely useful in his work on the intake and screening teams. He works tirelessly and patiently behind the scenes to help new volunteers navigate the application process, and he regularly supports Volunteer Services in projects to maintain data integrity. In addition to his work with Volunteer Services, he has volunteered at the Falmouth Road Race, Boston Marathon, the Boston Food Pantry, Disaster Services, and Women Who Care. This award should also acknowledge Singh as Red Cross chef of the year, for his amazing preparation of a five-course Indian lunch for his Red Cross colleagues. The Red Cross thanks you for your volunteer service this year and congratulations on this award! 

Darlene Lewinski has been volunteering with the MA Region since 2012. During her tenure, she has been a DAT Supervisor, Dispatcher, Response Coordinator, CAC Activator, Home Fire Campaign Installer, National Deployment, Intake, and Training team member. These positions have required countless on-call shifts throughout days, nights, and weekends. Lewinski’s high quality of work, attention to detail, and dedication has deepened the Disaster Workforce’s ability to serve communities across the commonwealth.  

Jillian Perl Manalang is honored as the Youth Program Volunteer of the Year. Perl Manalang began volunteering with the American Red Cross as a high school student at Oxford Academy, in Cypress California. She enrolled at UMass Amherst in 2013 and immediately became involved with the school’s Red Cross Club. Jill has held officer positions with the club for the past two years and is now serving as the Club’s President, leading a team of 560 total members. During her time served as a Club Officer, Jill has helped to coordinate more than 70 blood drives within the UMass Amherst Community.  

Another young Red Cross go-getter, Kasey Stewart is a junior at Concord-Carlisle High School and helped launch the school’s Red Cross Club in the fall of 2015. She is currently serving as the club’s President and has managed several events this school year, including a blood drive, Holiday Cards for Veterans event, a Troop Care Drive, a sock drive for the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, and a fundraiser in partnership with 99 Restaurants to support Red Cross Giving Day. 

Last, but certainly not least, Jonathan Goldfield is the CEO volunteer of the year. Goldfield has been a tremendous contributor to Service to the Armed Forces in his work supporting active duty service members and their immediate family members during and after emergency situations. His calm and confident demeanor while conducting follow up casework provide families with a sense of compassion and understanding of the American Red Cross and the core services we provide. Goldfield has also organized Red Cross support to Honor Flight New England, an organization which allows WW II veterans to honor their fallen comrades at the veteran memorial by flying them down and back to Washington DC. With many other contributions to the Red Cross, including instrumental help in the Boston marathon, a DAT supervisor, and a board member, Goldfield’s services are greatly appreciated. Thank you and congratulations! 

And once again thank you and congratulations to all the Red Cross volunteers for your contributions. Each volunteer is an important and greatly appreciated member of the Red Cross team and we couldn’t do it without you.