By Mike Tierney
Jaime Galan and his wife, Laura, were taking a course on HAM radios conducted by the Red Cross earlier this year when they were encouraged to consider volunteering for the organization.
The couple already was engaged elsewhere in volunteerism. Besides, Galan has an intense occupation — research, development, test and evaluation of next-generation rocket systems for Space Force, the military service established three years ago to protect U.S. and allied interests in space.
Galan, 50, expressed concern to his wife about finding the time. “She’s like, ‘Let’s find a way,’ ” he said.
So the residents of Lawndale enlisted as trainees for the disaster action team and, in a few short months, are well on their way to becoming team leaders in their territory.
Meanwhile, their service did not stop at the disaster action team. They both support the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces, a department that rings close to home. Galan, a budget analyst with the Air Force for two decades before retiring from the gig just prior to turning 40, plans to spend Veterans Day at the V.A. Hospital in West Los Angeles, visiting with fellow vets.
The Galans have not exactly dipped a toe into Red Cross activities. Rather, they have dove right in. “We’ve never committed to anything halfway,” he explained.
Galan works from home three days a week, which cuts down on commute time and enables him to free up hours for the Red Cross. When he and Laura, who works in the same field as Jaime, sign up for on-call duty, it’s generally in the 6 p.m.-to-midnight window.
He estimates they have been summoned on eight to 10 cases, all residential fires. The crew assists those rendered temporarily — or permanently— homeless with short-term lodging and provides them with other needs, from medicines to eyeglasses. Galan recalled one townhome being totaled by fire, while arson investigators were brought in to determine if another was intentionally set.
“We haven’t had any injuries yet, knock on wood,” he said. Nor have they had anyone give them a hard time. In fact, quite the opposite, which has been perhaps the most rewarding aspect of their service.