By Matthew Jervis, American Red Cross volunteer
It takes a special person to sacrifice not only time, but part of their retirement, to serving others. Royce Wolfe dedicates much of his time each month to serve those within the San Diego community, which is why he was recognized as the September Volunteer of the Month for the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties.
Royce’s wife Cathy works at the Red Cross as the Workforce Engagement Manager, so he was already familiar with the Red Cross and its mission. He first began volunteering with the Red Cross about two years ago with the Disaster Services Technology team and went above and beyond by obtaining his ham radio license in order to be more effective for the team. Since then, Royce has worked in feeding, sheltering and logistics, which has given him a full plate of responsibilities, but he recently added one more: the Disaster Action Team (DAT). On any given day you might find Royce hauling supplies to a shelter, driving the canteen to a temporary evacuation point, or going out in the middle of the night during a DAT response to help a family affected by a home fire or other emergency.
Royce’s DAT team responds disasters like single or multi-family home fires and floods. These incidents are enormously devastating for the family experiencing them. Upon arriving at the scene, Royce provides crucial information regarding financial assistance for shelter, food and supplies to get families through the next few difficult days, and how to contact their case worker who will connect them with additional resources while they are displaced from their home. Royce is grateful to give back. He says, “seeing people that have gone through hard times and suffered losses has made me appreciate what I have and how lucky I am. All of those interactions with clients have affected me along the same lines.”
Royce gained further perspective when he was deployed in May 2019 to Oklahoma due to intense flooding and catastrophic tornadoes that had torn through the state. This was Royce’s first deployment, which he says was “definitely a learning experience.” Though he was deployed to volunteer with a feeding team, Royce’s leadership and “can-do” attitude resulted in a quick re-assignment to be a shelter supervisor. When families must cope with intense loss as a result of natural disasters, volunteers like Royce make sure that they are equipped with resources and, most importantly, a compassionate group of people to support them.
Royce recommends to others that they look to the Red Cross for volunteer opportunities – it’s fun, keeps him busy and he believes in the mission. As Royce states, “how can you argue with alleviating human suffering?”
For more information on volunteering with the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org/volunteer.