Youth and a willing spirit makes Matt Roche the perfect volunteer whenever a tough job needs to be done at the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter.
“I help wherever I’m needed,” Roche, a 25-year-old Jefferson City resident, said recently. “I helped move furniture from the Jefferson City office to the new office space in Columbia.”
Roche started volunteering for the chapter in 2011. He was looking for something to do that was out of the ordinary when he decided to see what the Red Cross had to offer.
“I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to meet friends and help other people,” he said.
Once he decided to join the Red Cross, Roche said scheduling conflicts caused him some delays in completing classes required of new volunteers. But he made use of the time he had to complete the training.
“I got them done whenever I had the chance,” he said.
Roche doesn’t mind doing manual labor around the chapter and has been involved in a number of moving projects.
He’s also represented the chapter at information booths at events in the Jefferson City area.
Roche, one of the youngest volunteers in the chapter, currently is in the process of going through training to drive a Red Cross emergency response vehicle (ERV). The course involves more than operating and maintaining the vehicle. ERV drivers often deliver snacks and food during a disaster so they must learn safe food preparation, transportation and handling.
Roche spends a few hours a month volunteering for the chapter and tries to keep his schedule clear on the third Thursday of the month so he can attend monthly volunteer meetings in Jefferson City.
“You learn new information at those meetings,” Roche said. But he has one main reason to volunteer.
“It’s a great way to help others,” Roche said. “It’s another way to meet people and make new friends, but the benefit is helping others.”