By Brianna Kelly, American Red Cross
The American Red Cross Southern California Region is proud to honor local veterans making a difference every day. In communities across SoCal, many veterans are serving their country a second time through their work with the American Red Cross. These hometown heroes can be found supporting the Red Cross mission as staff and volunteers across all lines of service, and as Red Cross certified instructors and trainers in the community. Read on for a Q&A to learn more about how one of these heroes, Mike Bojanowski, is making an impact as a Red Cross Registered Nurse and Red Cross certified instructor.
When you served in the military, did you ever receive Red Cross services, or cross paths with the Red Cross?
Mike: Yes, as a Corpsman I coordinated with the Red Cross regarding emergency leave for the sailors, Marines and soldiers that I was stationed with.
What is the biggest takeaway from your time in the military?
Mike: Veterans understand the concept of a team. We are team players, we have a sense of professionalism. We know how to follow directions. And we are always on time!
What do you remember most?
Mike: Laughter is the best medicine!!
How does it feel to know that you are able to serve your country and keep our communities safe a second time through your work as a Red Cross volunteer and Red Cross certified trainer, helping others to prepare for and respond to emergencies? Are there any parallels between your military service and the Red Cross training you provide to help keep people safe?
Mike: My military experience gave me some great skills that I still use as a Registered Nurse with the Red Cross and as a Red Cross instructor. Parallels? Yes, today’s military are all volunteers, we each have our own stories to tell. We don’t judge you by your political party or race. If there is a job to do, we work as a team to complete the task and move on to the next one. I’ve seen this same attitude many times on various deployments with the Red Cross.
What is your favorite thing about being a Red Cross volunteer and certified trainer, or about the Red Cross as a whole?
Mike: My continued opportunity to be surrounded by veterans. I’m currently volunteering and teaching First Aid, CPR on the USS Midway Museum where most of the volunteers and staff are veterans. Over the 18 years (Cedar Fire) that I’ve been with the Red Cross I’ve met some great people and some good friends.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Mike: In the military, as a hospice nurse and as a Red Cross volunteer, I’ve always gravitated to veterans. It’s been an honor and a privilege to share their stories. Semper Fi.
The Red Cross Southern California Region is proud to support America’s military and veteran families, and serve those who have served our nation. Are you looking for ways to give back to our nation’s heroes and their families? You can honor those who have served by giving your time as a Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces volunteer. Sign up to volunteer with the Red Cross and start helping military families today. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more. To learn more about Red Cross programs and services available to military members, veterans and their families, visit redcross.org/military.