By Noreen Walton, American Red Cross volunteer
“Smart” and “dedicated” are just two of the words used to describe April’s Volunteer of the Month Alexis Clate. Since joining the Red Cross six months ago, Alexis has qualified as a Disaster Action Team (DAT) Supervisor faster than anyone in the past five years and has been on call as a DAT responder more than anyone in the region. And she does all of this as a stay-at-home mom, raising her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
Alexis’ husband, an active duty Marine, whole-heartedly supports her work with the Red Cross. “He’s my backup. When he comes through the door at night, I’m ready for my DAT shift.” She credits motherhood and her previous career as an EMT with preparing her well for DAT. “I was very eager to get involved with the Red Cross, especially DAT. It’s fast response, night or day.” She compares her EMT and DAT experiences: “I was the person in the back of the ambulance, providing immediate care and listening for what the patient and the family might need in the hours ahead. That listening and empathy really comes into play in my work with DAT.”
Careful, accurate documentation is an important part of Alexis’ DAT work. “When we get on a scene, we immediately collect information on the primary client, the type of disaster, and what the client needs. That could be financing, supplies, or Disaster Mental Health support,” she explains. “The next step is to get that information to the Case Workers.”
A standout moment for Alexis came very soon after joining the Red Cross. “Thanksgiving Day, 2019, we had that terrible rain and flooding. The DAT team was down by the San Diego River at a trailer park, assisting families whose homes were damaged. There we were, away from our own families on a special holiday, ready to be the shoulder people needed to lean on. And I thought to myself…I love this work!”
Alexis credits her fellow Red Cross volunteers for making her volunteer experiences so rewarding. “I love San Diego and I love the Red Cross! Everyone is so encouraging and optimistic, and will guide you so you can learn everything you need to learn.”
Her advice to future Red Cross volunteers? “Just do it. Put your whole self into your work with the Red Cross. You’ll find community, love, care and compassion. You’ll find exactly where you belong.”
Alexis Clate has definitely found where she belongs – and where she can make a positive difference in the lives of her fellow San Diegans.
For more information on becoming a Red Cross volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteer.