The American Red Cross North Texas Region is blessed with many African American volunteers who serve with grace, humility and a commitment to helping others. February is Black History Month, and we are spotlighting Dr. Anngienetta Johnson, a retiree of NASA and longtime Red Cross volunteer.
Johnson, who says she only uses her title when she is with her scientific peers, has a Doctor of Science in Engineering Management from George Washington University and has been serving with the Red Cross in various capacities since 2001.
She started her volunteer service with the Red Cross in Washington, D.C. and continued to serve after retiring from a 40-year career at NASA and moving to Texas in 2009. Since that time, Johnson has traveled all over the U.S. as the regional volunteer lead for recovery and shelter.
As the regional volunteer lead for the North Texas Region in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Division, Johnson has managed multiple shelters with 2,000-5,000 people displaced by natural disasters. She has also managed operations as a shelter resident transition manager.
“They call me for the mega shelters,” Johnson said. “When we have humanitarian disasters like Hurricane Harvey or refugees from Afghanistan, the Red Cross brings me in to supervise the setup and operation of the large shelters. We want everything to run smoothly for these people.”
In fact, Johnson has served in almost all areas of the Red Cross except public affairs and finance. While serving with the Red Cross, she received the Volunteer Leadership Award in June 2010 and the Albina and Bob Young Lifetime Achievement Award in June 2021.
After retiring and having volunteered with the Red Cross for years, Johnson took the job of senior disaster program manager for the Red Cross. Johnson led a team of volunteers and staff for four years before again retiring.
Johnson started her volunteer career with the Red Cross as a disaster action team member, responding to home house fires, but that quickly evolved to being a liaison between elected and local government officials. Having served through Hurricane Ian, Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Ida and Hurricane Harvey, Johnson believes that everyone has something they can contribute.
In October of 2022, Johnson deployed from her home in Cedar Hill, Texas to Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. While she normally goes out for a month before coming home, this time she stayed until the operation closed out, serving as the shelter resident transition manager for the whole operation!
“Our goal was to make sure that everyone had a place to live after Hurricane Ian,” she said.
Johnson has come to the conclusion that the Red Cross is where God wants her to serve. She wants to do what she can to alleviate human suffering, and she believes that the three issues plaguing the U.S. are hunger, housing and health.
Therefore, she is on a mission to do all that she can to help. Johnson knows that the Red Cross is a worthwhile organization that gives a lot back to the public, which is why she recommends it to everybody who is looking to volunteer in their communities.
The American Red Cross of North Texas is thankful for Dr. Anngienetta Johnson and all volunteers for their tireless service and support. The Red Cross is what it is today because of selfless individuals like Dr. Johnson. Happy Black History Month!