The Red Cross of Idaho, Montana and East Oregon has named a new program manager who will help oversee the delivery of mental health assistance, health services, spiritual care and recovery support to families following a disaster.
Andrea Vlassis-Zahn is the region’s new direct services manager and joins the American Red Cross with more than 15 years of experience in project and event planning, volunteer and business management, community development, marketing and data analysis.
“I am excited to join the Red Cross of Idaho, Montana and East Oregon and contribute my passion for helping people and my communities in time of need,” she said. “Disaster response has held a spot in my heart since my earlier years volunteering with the disaster action team during Hurricane Katrina. During that time, I learned what a huge impact volunteers have and the key part they play in helping those affected by a disaster.”
Each year, the Red Cross of Idaho and Montana helps more than 1,500 people following disasters such as home fires, wildfires and flooding. Besides addressing clients’ most immediate needs like food, shelter and clothing, Red Cross and its volunteer teams also provide emotional support including disaster mental health services and spiritual care.
Through its disaster health services program, Red Cross nurses tend to clients’ basic medical needs and help replace medications and items like eyeglasses, dentures and wheelchairs lost or left behind during a disaster.
Besides leading those programs, she will also oversee Red Cross volunteer duty officers and recovery teams. Duty officers serve as Red Cross dispatchers, taking calls from the field during disasters. They send a local team out to a disaster, coordinate the response and are a lifeline between the families affected and the Red Cross responders.
The recovery teams work with families following disasters, assisting with damage assessment, delivering cleanup kits and other supplies and connecting clients with community resources.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to support a wonderful group of volunteers who go above and beyond to help our clients and communities,” she said.
Vlassis-Zahn previously worked at the Idaho Department of Commerce, where she held positions on the Business Attraction, International Trade and Broadband Office teams, managing state and international economic development programs, grants and projects.
Prior to her work with the state, Vlassis-Zahn worked for the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, organizing and leading community outreach and business engagement, along with managing the volunteer ambassador program.
She spent time as a volunteer with Red Cross during the 2000s and more recently as an Idaho disaster responder.
Vlassis-Zahn graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2018 from Boise State University and holds an Associate of Arts in general business from the College of Western Idaho.
She is originally from Happy Valley, Ore., but has called Boise home for the last 20 years. She and her husband, a Montana native, have one daughter and love spending time outdoors, traveling and experiencing new cultures around the world.