Monday, April 23, 2018

Volunteerism: Above & Beyond

I spotted a whole box of bagels at the kitchen on Friday!

“Doug is here!” said by one staff member at the Central New York Chapter. The “anonymous” guy (at least he thinks he is) is Doug North, who was here at the Syracuse office attending a meeting for the launch of Sound the Alarm and he brought us bagels like he often does.

Today, I am going to introduce you to Doug North, our amazing volunteer. Last Wednesday, Doug was presented with the Volunteerism: Above & Beyond award from the United Way of Central New York, honoring his exemplary selfless service to members of the community. Doug became a Red Cross Volunteer with the Central New York Chapter on October 9, 2014. He is an outstanding Chapter Disaster Action Team Leader responsible for coordinating the efforts of his team as first responders on the scene of a local disaster. The team responds to disaster scenes, day or night, so they can provide emergency assistance to families who have been displaced due to fires, floods, etc. He and his team responded to 47 emergency calls in 2017.

Doug works full time, but he logged an amazing 2,066 disaster response on-call hours and an impressive 423 general hours volunteering in a variety of positions last year. In addition to Disaster Services, he works as a volunteer caseworker for the Service of the Armed Forces Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) team. Doug provided 20 briefings for 963 family members of new military recruits.

When Doug and his team respond to home fires, they meet with the impacted residents to determine their immediate needs. “They may have just lost everything and what we can do is to provide the financial assistance to provide them clothes, to book hotels for them, to help them get through the first few days,” said Doug. No matter what the need, Doug never hesitates to leave his bed, his home and his family to help strangers in their time of greatest need. His family says they don’t think he knows the words “no” or “can’t.” Doug is often on call, and he volunteered his time on Independence Day and Thanksgiving last year. It’s in his nature to help people in need. The question they often ask is, “What should I do now?” It may be 2 a.m., they’re in their pajamas watching their home burn and here comes the Red Cross to offer help and comfort.

When I asked Doug to give me some inspiring quotes so that we can pass on to people. He said, “I don’t know if I really have any inspiring quotes, but I know the Red Cross is helping people when they are lost. The power of the Red Cross is being able to coordinate with our partners and supporters to pass the kindness of people to those in need.” People like Doug, and other Red Cross volunteers build bridges to help in their lowest points.

Thank you, Doug for all you do for our community.

Cara Wang - Communications Intern

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