The American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota is looking for 10 volunteers to join our Disaster Action Teams (DAT) as Duty Officers to virtually support their community during local disasters. Duty Officers, who volunteer from home, are the first point of contact for local emergency responders and coordinate Red Cross assistance for those affected by local emergencies.
Hill City, South Dakota resident, Becky Eisenbraun, serves as a Red Cross Duty Officer, taking dispatch calls from local fire departments when people are in need after a home fire. She takes down the details, uses her phone and a simple computer program to find the closest Red Cross volunteers and sends them to the scene. From there, Becky manages the response virtually, ensuring families receive care, comfort and essentials after their darkest days.
"I am recently disabled, and I love that this role allows me to perform within my capabilities,” says Becky. “I encourage anyone with an interest in helping their community to consider becoming a Duty Officer.”
Becky started volunteering with the Red Cross during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. She learned of the need for volunteers from her local Community Emergency Response Team and was deployed two weeks later by the Red Cross to Texas. This experience sparked her passion for volunteering and motivated Becky to take on more roles within the Red Cross. Since 2017, Becky has been on multiple deployments both regionally and nationally.
Duty Officers are able to connect with clients as well as build lasting relationships with first responders and other Red Cross personnel. Becky’s husband recently passed away unexpectedly and she received outpourings of support from her relations in the Red Cross community. She refers to her Red Cross connections as family and believes this support system is unlike any other.
Even though Duty Officers are not always on the scene of a disaster, the role still allows for meaningful connections to be made.As a virtual position, anyone can be a Duty Officer no matter their physical distance from the scene of a disaster or if they have mobility troubles.
To learn more about serving your community in this critical role, please contact Josh Christianson, Volunteer Service Specialist by email email@example.com or phone (701) 715-8640.