By Noreen Walton, American Red Cross volunteer
As with many other volunteers who work behind the scenes for the American Red Cross, February 2023 Riverside County Volunteer of the Month, David Bell is reluctant to describe the activities that make him worthy of this recognition. “I’m in the background,” David explains. “My current job is to onboard new recruits.”
David’s work with the Red Cross is that – and much more. Since joining the Red Cross in 2011, after retiring from his career as a software developer, David has deployed to 14 operations throughout the United States. He remembers his first deployment in May 2011 to Little Rock, Arkansas in response to a series of deadly tornadoes. “I was working as part of the disaster services technology team,” said David. “After a very busy week, I was given a day off to rest and refresh and decided to visit a local mall. A store clerk asked for my zip code to complete a purchase I was making. The clerk wanted to know what brought me out to Arkansas. When I told him, he leaned across the counter, shook my hand, and simply said, ‘Thank you.’”
It is those kinds of exchanges that make David proud of the work that Red Cross volunteers do for people in need. He believes in bringing passion to the work he does with the Red Cross, including his passion for ham radios. David currently volunteers for another local organization, Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). “Getting my Amateur Radio License – and my FCC-issued call sign N6DJB - is a direct result of my work with the Red Cross.” He notes, with pride, that an official memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between the American Red Cross and Amateur Radio Emergency Service, which details the coordinated work that both organizations do to assist individuals and communities in times of need.
For the past five years, David has served as part of the disaster workforce team, guiding new recruits through online trainings and in-person classes and getting them ready to deploy in whatever job they will do for the Red Cross. His message to incoming Red Cross volunteers is the same one he shares with current volunteers. “Find the work with the Red Cross that suits you best. And then do that work with passion.”
Volunteer of the Month David Bell has definitely followed his own advice.