By Noreen Walton, Red Cross volunteer
During the interview for his January 2021 Volunteer of the Month profile, Ralph Taylor was asked to describe a “Red Cross moment” - a time when he knew that he and the Red Cross were a good match. Ralph answered without hesitation. “I was deployed to Hurricane Harvey, to Corpus Christi, working in a mobile feeding unit. We rode up and down the streets, using a microphone to let residents know we had food and supplies for them. I noticed the curtains being pushed aside in a window in one of the houses and someone looking out. But no one came to the door.”
“We had a lot of houses and people to take care of. So, after waiting a while, we started driving away. That’s when I saw him. A little boy, maybe seven years old. Barefoot, running behind us. We stopped the food truck and listened as he explained that his mother was scared. She didn’t understand who they were or what was going on. But they needed food.” Ralph and his fellow volunteers immediately took care of the little boy and his mother.
As Ralph explains it, “I just enjoy helping people. The Red Cross is a great place to share your skills and help others, especially in their time of need.” For Ralph, those times of need can be across the country in Corpus Christi or at his local Red Cross. In early 2020, San Bernardino County Disaster Program Manager (DPM) Robert Anderson and co-DPM Erin Fox needed someone with technical skills to create a tracking system to assess the completion of training courses for volunteers working toward a Group Activity Position (GAP). Ralph was that person. His 37-year career with SoCal Edison, managing computer programmers and technology personnel, had equipped him with the skills and the mindset that the task required.
“They were having to pull up volunteer’s transcripts, one by one, and then check each volunteer’s completed coursework against the requirements,” Ralph explains. “It was taking them a lot of time. I left the office and started mulling it around. I thought ‘Excel should be able to do this.’ Three or four hours later I had my first spreadsheet in the workbook.” Ralph estimates that there are 30 to 40 worksheets currently in the GAP course completion workbook, with more to come.
In addition to his own work with Red Cross, Ralph supports the work his wife Lucinda does as a Red Cross volunteer. Ralph also volunteers with amateur radio teams that support the work of the San Bernardino County and Rancho Cucamonga fire departments. When asked where he finds the time for all these commitments, Ralph’s answer is simple. “Helping people is it for me.”
To become a Red Cross volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteer.