Stephanie Walsh has been a volunteer with the Red Cross of Massachusetts for three years. Her dedication and passion for our organization is irreplaceable. Stephanie is going to be the Boston Marathon Course Medical Coordinator for the second year in a row. We could not have had such a successful Marathon Monday last year without her and we appreciate her continued service to the Red Cross.
1. Why volunteer with Red Cross?
Professionally, I am a Project Manager for a medical software company. I traveled all across the US and have experienced some pretty bad weather. I witnessed the destruction a tornado brings upon a community. I was moved by it but could never help. When Hurricane Sandy hit and it was so close to home, I felt compelled to help. I had this urge to get into my car and go to New York to help right away. My husband told me I needed to find an organization to work through. So naturally I decided to join Red Cross.
2. What is your history volunteering with the Red Cross?
I joined the Red Cross after Hurricane Sandy because it was so close to home for me. The first major disaster that I responded to was the marathon bombings. During that week I helped at the Castle Shelter in the family assistant center. Then I went to the incident command post in Watertown. After the marathon, I continued volunteering in a disaster capacity. I joined the V-DAT (virtual disaster team) where we made some progress providing initial estimates on the damage of the Oklahoma tornado prior to the National Red Cross’ on the ground assessment. Then Paul Kastner, a board member, recommended me for the marathon leadership team.
3. When did you take on the role of Red Cross’ Course Medical Coordinator?
I did Disaster Response to the Boston bombing in 2013, and then in 2014 I took the role. I certainly don’t do this alone. I work with a great leadership team including; Johnathan Goldfield, Larry Rosenberg, Christine Tebaldi, and the staff from Volunteer Services.
4. How was coordinating the marathon the year after the bombing?
The marathon last year was amazing. The level of cooperation across the board was spectacular. It was definitely intense, and there was a lot going on. We treated approximately 1900 runners on the course, and had just over 200 ambulance transports. Everyone was cooperative and worked together and it showed because it was an incredibly successful day.
5. What is it like coordinating 350 volunteers at such a busy event?
There are a lot of moving parts. It is a very large effort both within the organization and our integration outside the organization. We have 350 volunteers that cover 22 medical stations. Within those stations we also have physicians, medical trainers, the Department of Public Health, etc. We provide base leadership and serve as the core of the team. We help to coordinate structures with our team and make sure that we fold in the other pieces throughout all the layers appropriately.
6. Would you suggest volunteering with the Red Cross?
Of course, I love the Red Cross, I really do! I believe in the mission. People have the opportunity to use the skills they already have to volunteer. In my career, I specialize in project management and the Red Cross matched my skill with a need that they have. It is great that you can volunteer in ways that blend with your professional skills. I feel like the Red Cross has provided me an outlet to help. I could never help the community like this on my own, and it means a lot to volunteer in this capacity. The volunteer work I do with the Red Cross is empowering, encouraging, and inspirational.