By: Van Tran, Northwest Region Volunteer
For 30 years, Bob Reimer has been a dedicated volunteer at the American Red Cross in the Northwest Region. Turning 93 years old this year, Bob still plans to continue contributing to the Red Cross.
Bob’s entire career has been about serving other people. After 21 years in the Air Force, Bob worked for Washington’s Dept of Social & Health Services for 19 years, helping women and children in need. When he retired at the age of 60, he wanted to continue doing something meaningful. His childhood memory of the positive impact that the Red Cross had on his community, during flood disasters, made him decide to become a Red Cross volunteer.
Bob started out as an incident responder. He never forgets the night when his phone rang at 1 a.m. He was asked to respond to a house fire. Arriving at the scene, he saw a couple and their two young children standing outside in the cold with just blankets wrapped around them. Bob took the family to Red Cross-affiliated organizations to get them warm clothes and helped them get situated in a motel that night. The next morning, he assisted them in retrieving their personal documents.
“It feels good to help people. My parents were good examples of helping others during the Great Depression, so I followed their leads,” Bob said.
In fact, it is the fulfillment and rewarding feelings that keep Bob going. Age does not stop him from doing what he loves. He still drives to the Spokane office one to three times a week to volunteer in a logistics role.
Summer Warfield, disaster program manager (DPM) of the Greater Inland Northwest Chapter, said that Bob fills in with whatever needs done at the office. Whether it is ordering office supplies, ensuring Emergency Preparedness Kits are ready or maintaining vehicles, Bob is there to give everyone a hand. Because of his extensive involvement, Bob is very knowledgeable. “If you want to know anything about our chapter, ask Bob,” she said.
People describe him as a loving and caring person who greets everyone with a warm smile and makes everyone feel welcome. “To anyone he talks to, Bob brightens up their days,” said Ryan Rodin, Northwest regional philanthropy officer. Megan Snow, Northwest regional philanthropy partner, shared that Bob would be very committed to anything that he is capable of doing. “He is the best person ever. He is the most reliable person,” she said.
Bob is also known for going above and beyond to help others. Ryan recalled an occasion when Bob volunteered to come in early to make coffee and get the room ready for an early meeting. Jamie Hill, who is now a King County DPM, remembered that Bob helped her in every process when she first started in Spokane. “He cares so much about people. Every time we had a new person starting, he took them for an office tour, then also took them out for lunch,” Jamie said.
It is certain that to the members of the Northwest Region, Bob is more than just a volunteer. He has become a family member to most of the staff here. When asked to give a piece of advice to a future volunteer, Bob said: “You can make time. Even if you have a full-time job, you still have free time after work or on the weekends, when you can help others.”
To learn more about open volunteer positions in the Red Cross and/or sign up to volunteer, click here.