Media Contact: Martin Gagliano
Telephone: (510) 368-8320
SAN JOSE, Calif. June 27, 2022 — The American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter honored 14 local residents and one community partner at their annual recognition event – held virtually this year - for chapter volunteers from Santa Clara County on May 31.
Stuart Chessen received the chapter’s top honor, the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Leadership. Named after the founder of the Red Cross, the award recognizes a volunteer for their years of service in various leadership positions.
Chessen is a dedicated volunteer who wears many hats within the Silicon Valley Chapter. He serves as the Specialty Vehicle Regional Lead, overseeing maintenance and upkeep for all Red Cross vehicles and sheltering trailers. As a former First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor, he applies his teaching experience to training Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle drivers, Disaster Action Team members, recovery caseworkers and logistic team members. He also serves as a Be Red Cross Ready presenter, teaching disaster preparedness to community members. Chessen exemplifies the Red Cross values of compassion, collaboration, creativity, credibility and commitment in his many roles.
In addition to the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Leadership, the following awards were given to local volunteers:
- Disaster Cycle Services – Leadership Award – Diane St. Denis
- Disaster Cycle Services – Extraordinary Commitment and Dedication Award – Monica Lanker
- Disaster Cycle Services – Excellence in Disaster Services Award – Jodi Wallace
- Biomedical Services – Donor Ambassador Program – Aishini Singh
- Biomedical Services – Transportation Specialist Program – Jeannette Harper
- International Services – International Services Award – Hawley Rising
- Service to the Armed Forces Award – Kay Ammon
- New Volunteer Award – Chanhi Khetrapal
- Teamwork and Collaboration Award – Mary Ann Reilly and Mike Nealon, Disaster Health Services team
- Organizational Support Services Award – Larry Dietz
- Good Neighbor and Partnership Award – Carl Woodland, Blood Program Leader (awarded for going above and beyond to schedule and coordinate blood drives with community partners)
- Nisha Baxi Youth Services Award – Anjali Sharma
- Volunteer of the Year Award – Matthew Tsai
While the annual recognition event spotlights several key Red Cross volunteers, it is designed to acknowledge and honor the work of all local volunteers who dedicate many hours in service to the Red Cross and their local communities.
“Volunteers represent 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce and their selflessness, time and energy. makes our mission possible,” said Ken Toren, Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter CEO. “As the relentless pace of severe crises continues in our area, our volunteers help ensure families never face these emergencies alone. In fact, this past year 1,533 Silicon Valley Chapter volunteers dedicated more than 47,210 hours to support the mission and our communities.”
Become a Red Cross Volunteer:
Community members can make a difference in Santa Clara County by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. As this year’s heightened wildfire outlook continues a years-long trend of more frequent and intense climate disasters, volunteers are continually trained to meet the needs of those affected by disasters – providing food, shelter, and comfort to families; and they help local residents prepare for and recover from emergencies of all kinds. Red Cross volunteers also provide assistance to military members, veterans and their families; support the collection of 40% of the nation’s blood; and provide humanitarian aid across the globe. Those interested in finding the right position for their specific skills and talents can visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to get started.
About the American Red Cross of the Silicon Valley
With a local office in San Jose, the American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, visit our website at redcross.org/siliconvalley or call us at (877) 727-6771. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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