Three Weeks at American Red Cross

I hope you are reading this from the safety of your home and community. As I entered my third week of work at the Red Cross National Headquarters, Hurricane Sandy got everyone’s attention. I am so fortunate to be safe as the storm hit the DC metropolitan area.

I want to tell you how proud I am to be a new Red Cross staffer. As I watched President Obama talk from the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center (DOC) in DC and saw colleagues whom I have met standing behind him I had tears of amazement and pride. Lindy on the right had given me an amazing tour of the DOC just a week ago. She patiently shared and explained the depth of the Red Cross response coordinated from the DOC. Almost every Red Cross department has space at the DOC so the response is well coordinated and quickly when disaster strikes. And less than a week later, there is Lindy standing behind the President and coordinating our disaster fundraising efforts.

The two gentlemen on the President’s left were also a part of my orientation. Steve on his immediate left and Eric next to Steve had shared with me their Red Cross experiences. Steve leads our Development Operations and has hands-on experience making sure we are as effective and efficient as fundraisers. I respect his commitment to the Red Cross and making sure we are moving forward. Eric leads our international fundraising efforts – yes American Red Cross responds when asked to assist. Eric is coordinating fundraising efforts for recovery after Sandy devastated Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Bahamas.

And if all that was not enough, last week  I got to meet Gail McGovern our CEO (standing next to President Obama at the DOC) as we hosted our Philanthropic Assembly. She welcomed Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator who spoke to our gathered volunteers and donors. His honest and thoughtful response when disaster strikes comes with a great sense of experience, perspective and humor. And, of course, during this disaster, we heard him interviewed often offering guidance. I had just heard him in person a week ago!

It is scary watching the disaster on TV and we know millions of lives and thousands of communities are in trouble…and feel for everyone. For me, it took on another level of understanding since joining the American Red Cross. We receive a daily update on the storm, our response and social media conversations. Knowing my colleagues are on the front lines – from national headquarters to local chapters, directly impacted and not by Hurricane Sandy, as well thousands of Red Cross volunteers dedicating their time – I know they are working hard to make sure help is there when needed. The time we spend helping prepare ourselves and communities pays off now and I could not be prouder.

I made a gift to the Red Cross and invite you to join me. You can make your gift here.

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