By Ellis Levinson/American Red Cross
Imagine giving up citizenship of your native country because of your overwhelming desire to serve your adopted homeland.
That’s exactly what Winnetka resident Aidin Shahi did. He arrived in the United States from Iran in 2012. The computer technician left his native Iran in pursuit of his dream to live in the U.S., arriving with extensive experience serving with both the International Red Cross and Red Crescent in Iran and the American Red Cross.
“I couldn’t wait to join the American Red Cross,” he said.
After settling into his new life in California, just two years after arriving, Aidin jumped in feet first. As a Red Cross volunteer, he has multiple Group Activity Positions, or GAPS. They include sheltering and feeding service associate, as well as emergency supply distribution supervisor. He served in logistics transportation while volunteering in North Carolina after hurricane Florence, along with two wildfire deployments to Northern California.
Aidin is a busy guy. “I have three lifestyles; I’m a multifaceted person” he shared.
The first is his computer tech freelance occupation. The second is his volunteer work for the Red Cross. The third brings us back to the reason his homeland citizenship has been revoked. In 2018 he joined the California National Guard. Evidently so. But the decision to join the guard meant that Aidin had his Iranian citizenship revoked, but he does not regret his choice.
“You have to be proud of what you choose. I choose to be an American.”
What motivates him to have two volunteer commitments, the National Guard and the Red Cross? Either one of these commitments exposes him to being called away at any time. For Aidin the answer was simple.
“I cannot help everyone in the entire world, but I can help the people in need,” Aidin said. “The best organization for helping people in need is the Red Cross.”
While Aidin is never obligated to deploy for a Red Cross emergency, he can’t seem to resist the call of the wild, and if anything describes the California climate the last few years, “wild” nails it. Recent torrential rains have led to unprecedented flooding around the state, including Monterey County — any guesses where Aidin was on the day this story was written?
You guessed it.