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Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley Welcomes Schwartz, Walters

UTICA, N.Y. (Jan. 29, 2014) — 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, Schwartz is responsible for development and support of disaster volunteers, emergency planning, and cultivating relationships with government agencies, partner organizations and emergency responders. Schwartz supervises all Red Cross disaster services for Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego and Delaware 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,” Schwartz 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.”

Schwartz 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, Schwartz was recognized with a certificate in Professional Development from the U.S Department of Homeland Security. Schwartz previously worked as a Criminal Justice Instructor at Madison Oneida BOCES and
with the offices of campus safety at Utica College and Hamilton College.

Schwartz 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, Schwartz is completing a degree in emergency and disaster management.

Like Schwartz, Walters will work out of the Red Cross office in Utica. In her Program Coordinator position, Walters is responsible for recruiting, orienting and supervising volunteers from Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego and Delaware counties. In addition to overseeing all aspects of volunteer management, Walters 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,” said Walters. “The Red Cross is important to me because we prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.”

Walters 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, Walters lived in the Utica area while obtaining her degrees. She and her Puggle, Kona, recently moved to New Hartford. In her free time, Walters 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.”

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit and follow us on Facebook at