By Noreen Walton, American Red Cross volunteer
Tracy Nguyen, our August 2022 Volunteer of the Month, is a student at California State University, Long Beach and was looking to add volunteer hours to her professional resume when a friend told her, “You should try the Red Cross. It’s fun!” When she applied to volunteer with the American Red Cross and was accepted in October 2021, Tracy expected to spend her volunteer hours on the phone and doing outreach to potential blood donors. “From time to time I would get calls from the Red Cross, asking me to donate blood,” Tracy said. “I thought this was the kind of work I would be doing as a volunteer, and I was looking forward to it.” Instead, Tracy found herself working with military families through our Service to the Armed Forces program. It is an assignment that has brought unexpected joy to her life.
Tracy’s enthusiasm for her work as a SAF caseworker is obvious. “I did not expect to be serving and supporting the military, but now that I’m doing it, I love this work,” said Tracy. “I like talking to people and helping people. I like making people feel better during hard times.”
Tracy supports military families during challenging and sometimes tragic events. She is also there to help retired military personnel with day-to-day challenges. She describes a memorable encounter. “I was working at a bloodmobile in a mall parking lot. An elderly veteran approached me, asking if I could help him donate blood that day. He didn’t have an appointment and had been trying to register online for quite a while but couldn’t understand how to complete the application for a RapidPass®.” With Tracy’s patient assistance, the veteran finally completed his application and donated blood that day.
As she approaches her one-year anniversary as a Red Cross volunteer in fall 2022, Tracy remains deeply committed to the work she does with the Red Cross. “I tell everyone at school they should volunteer with the Red Cross. That the Red Cross will use their time wisely,” said Tracy. “Yes, volunteering can be an important part of anyone’s resume, but you will love the work you do with the Red Cross!”
To learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, please visit redcross.org/volunteer.