San Diego-based Red Cross volunteer Himne Drees always had an interest in helping others, even before she came to the organization. Originally from South Africa, Himne moved to the United States in 1999. She had a love for traveling and wanted to provide assistance wherever she traveled to. Initially volunteering for animal welfare organizations, it was after Hurricane Katrina and the 2007 California wildfires when Himne and her husband took an even deeper interest in volunteer work.
That’s when Himne became a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Since joining the organization in 2010, Himne has been heavily involved in many lines of service at the local chapter. Himne happily helps out anywhere that extra hands are needed-- from Preparedness, Health and Safety to Disaster Services and even Service to the Armed Forces. Whether helping to manage volunteers and local community-based partnerships or jumping into action and responding to disaster calls, Himne enjoys what the Red Cross stands for.
“I like its mission and values,” said Himne. “Neutrality is important to me and my husband, and the Red Cross is [neutral in disaster relief and recovery]. It provides help anywhere—politics and religion do not matter.”
In addition to the Red Cross mission, Himne appreciates the many memories she has made since becoming a volunteer, even very simple things. “So many good things come to mind,” said Himne. “I remember once we set up an assembly line to clean the [CPR] mannequins. I just thought it was great how everyone worked together and made something so mundane really fun.”
Himne also reflected on a touching memory from her second disaster call. “It was an apartment building fire where one resident lost everything but felt lucky that she, her son and their pets made it out alive. I got there [after the fire] happened and saw what they were going through. It felt nice to be there for someone and make a difference to their day.”
In addition to assisting those in need, Himne equally enjoys working with the Red Cross volunteer team. If she could describe her experience in one word, it would be “inspiring.”
“It’s inspiring to work with people who really care—people who do everything to help no matter what,” said Himne, who regularly logs 15-20 hours a week for the organization.
When Himne is not spending her time with the Red Cross, she is usually working on her fixer-upper home or talking with family in South Africa.
The Red Cross is open to anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer, and there are endless volunteer opportunities for every interest, schedule, and level of experience. “There’s something for everyone at the Red Cross,” said Himne. “I can’t imagine anyone regretting it.”
For more information about volunteering with the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/volunteer.