THANK YOU, Volunteers!!

signThe week of April 21-27, 2013 is National Volunteer Week! It’s a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. While we certainly appreciate and value these types of recognition weeks, for those of us in local Red Cross chapters that are fortunate enough to see the incredible work and dedication of volunteers in action on a daily basis, it’s hard to understand why there’s only ONE week per year set aside. The service, passion and energy Red Cross volunteers bring each and everyday is simply invaluable.

Volunteers with the Emergency Response Vehicle Teams pause for a photo during the cross-country drive to help with Superstorm Sandy relief.

With a national workforce that is 97 percent volunteer, it is fair to say that the Red Cross simply could not fulfill its mission without the efforts of these selfless individuals. We proudly recognize and appreciate your work and passion for service – not only this week, but EVERY week.

Recently, the Capital Region Chapter had the opportunity to honor some of our volunteers from Sacramento and Yolo counties for their service. The annual Volunteer Recognition event was held in the University Union Ballroom at California State University, Sacramento, and offered the rare opportunity to put some of our volunteers in the spotlight for a couple of hours.

Volunteers recognized at the event:

Heath Wakelee and his many hats!

Heath Wakelee – Health and Safety Award
A wearer of many hats within the Red Cross – as he demonstrated quite clearly – Heath is a health and safety instructor, teaching both community and full services courses in CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Aid to students and helping to mentor new instructors. Heath also serves on the Capital Region Chapter’s Board of Directors and has provided leadership in many areas – whether as a Boardmember, a Disaster Action Team (DAT) Captain, or helping offices within the Chapter organize events such as Save-A-Life Saturdays.

Bill Waits and Capital Region Chapter Interim CEO, Kathleen Weis

Bill Waits – Service to the Armed Forces Award
Bill volunteers for the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF), representing the Red Cross in local military events helping the brave men and women that serve our country as well as their families. He has helped to coordinate SAF support, such as the delivery of over 3000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to the men and women of our armed forces and their families. Bill is the Chapter’s Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) Coordinator and Bulk Distribution lead, organizing drivers and coordinating emergency logistical supply distribution.

nengleeYouth Services Award – Neng Lee
Neng Lee has spearheaded the development of the very active Red Cross Club for CSU, Sacramento. Under his leadership, the club has not only made a difference to his school but the community as well. He has managed to lead a great group of students and organize them as volunteers in numerous events that the Red Cross has planned including Save a Life events in both Stockton and Davis. The Red Cross Club at Sacramento State, under his guidance, has facilitated events for children, to teach them about emergency preparedness. Neng’s vision for the club is truly unique and he has taken it upon himself to become a certified instructor and conduct Red Cross classes for students on the CSUS campus.

Boardmember Traci Van introduces Tami Martin and her granddaughter Ruthie

Community Partner Award – Tami Martin
Tami  has served as the Sacramento  Mass Care Co-Lead for more than two years. During that time, she has fully and tirelessly supported the position by helping to plan trainings and exercises, conduct Mass Care meetings, and has acted as Mass Care manager in the Disaster Operations Center (DOC) during local disasters. Tami has worked as Shelter Manager on several deployments, both locally and around the country and leads a Rapid Deployment  Shelter Team, and working to train them to be ready and fully functional on a moment’s notice. Tami has helped conduct many Red Cross courses, including the Form 5266 course, and the new Shelter Manager’s course. Her volunteer experience also extends to providing service in SAF, Tiffany events, Golf Tournaments, and wine tastings as well.

And while these volunteers were absent from the event, they were hardly absent from the spirit of the evening:

Marisa Schaffer – Resource Development Award
During her time as a volunteer, Marisa has become part of the Advisory Council of Yolo County and has participated in community events such as the Heroes’ event and CPR Saturday. She opens her office at the Hallmark Inn allowing us to use her facility for meetings and training. Marisa has also been instrumental in establishing local donor relationships which help to bring in much needed donation that help the Red Cross to fulfill its mission.

Irene Wallis – Health Services Award
When there is a health need, minor or major, Irene is the person you to come to your assistance. Her strength and depth are born out of a wealth of personal and professional experience. She came to the Capital Region Chapter in 2010 but has been a Red Cross nurse since 1962 – THAT’S 51 YEARS!Her early service with the Red Cross came during the Vietnam era. Currently she serves the Capital Region Chapter in numerous ways. She is a DAT lead, nurse-on-call, disaster responder, immunization nurse, and serves anywhere she’s asked. Irene is also a valued member of the nurse advisory committee.

Lynn Halsted – Emergency Services
Lynn Halsted has served as the Sacramento Logistics Co-Lead for more than two years.  Although she originally stepped in as Sacramento Mass Care Co-Lead nearly three years ago, it soon became apparent that Mass Care could not function very well without a well-run Logistics activity. Lynne has taken on a large share of the responsibility to find volunteers and to make sure they are well trained for the positions required within the Logistics Activity.In addition to preparing volunteers for disaster response through training and development, Lynne aids the chapter by inventorying and arranging the local warehouse supplies. This is a time-consuming task but is one that is critical in aiding our ability to access needed supplies and equipment at a moment’s notice.  Lynne has deployed in various Activities under Logistics around the country and has served in our own DOC as the “Logistics Manager” in local disasters as well.

Special Recognition – Cristo Rey High School
When Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, it made for busy times at the Capital Region Chapter. The students of Cristo Rey High School came in, in numbers when no one else was available and were integral to the Chapter’s navigation of the disaster. the process. Students staffed computers, entered credit card donations, copied checks, sorted checks, stuffed envelopes, and made phone calls in numbers well beyond what our normal staffing could complete. Their service during that time was crucial and invaluable!Their service continues to this day as Cristo Rey students come in to the Chapter offices on a weekly basis and work side by side with us.

Published by

American Red Cross California Gold Country Region

The California Gold Country Region serves a twenty-six county territory including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties

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