The Central New York Region of the American Red Cross has named Michael Schwartz as Disaster Program Manager and Michelle Walters as Program Coordinator of the American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley, Region Chief Executive Officer Rosie Taravella announced today.
As Disaster Program Manager, Michael is responsible for development and support of disaster volunteers, emergency planning, and cultivating relationships with government agencies, partner organizations and emergency responders. Michael supervises all Red Cross disaster services for Oneida, Herkimer and Otsego counties.
“I had family affected by the floods in the City of Oneida last summer and since then I’ve felt a strong calling to serve in the Red Cross,” Michael said. “I chose to join the Red Cross to have the opportunity to use my background and experience in emergency management to serve the greater Mohawk Valley community.”
Michael has more than 20 years of experience in public safety and holds 40 emergency management certifications from the University of West Virginia, Texas A&M, FEMA, and the New York State Office of Homeland Security. In 2007, Michael was recognized with a certificate in Professional Development from the U.S Department of Homeland Security. Michael previously worked as a Criminal Justice Instructor at Madison Oneida BOCES and with the offices of campus safety at Utica College and Hamilton College.
Michael has lived in the Mohawk Valley for the last 22 years. He and his wife, Elizabeth, are the proud owners of five miniature dachshunds. In his spare time, Michael is completing a degree in emergency and disaster management.
Like Michael, Michelle will work out of the Red Cross office in Utica. In her Program Coordinator position, Michelle is responsible for recruiting, orienting and supervising volunteers from Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego and Delaware counties. In addition to overseeing all aspects of volunteer management, Michelle works closely with Service to the Armed Forces, Disaster Services, Health and Safety, and Blood Services to guarantee that each department is staffed with volunteers.
“I’ve always wanted to work for an organization that was globally recognized and known for helping people in distress,” Michelle said. “The Red Cross is important to me because we prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.”
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master’s degree in healthcare administration from Utica College. She previously worked as an accounting assistant at Sidney Federal Credit Union in Sidney and has extensive experience coordinating and scheduling events. As Philanthropy Chair of her Theta Phi Alpha sorority, she also understands how to recruit, coordinate and manage volunteers.
Originally from Sidney, Michelle lived in the Utica area while obtaining her degrees. She and her Puggle, Kona, recently moved to New Hartford. In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her parents, brother, and her boyfriend of 5½ years, Tracy. She also spends time with her Theta Phi Alpha sorority sisters who are committed to philanthropy and education.
“We are thrilled to add Michael and Michelle to our team to actively and aggressively recruit and develop volunteers for Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego and Delaware counties,” Region CEO Taravella said. “We rely on our volunteers to provide Red Cross services throughout the Mohawk Valley, and we know the volunteer base will grow and thrive under the leadership of Michael and Michelle.”