‘Go-To Guy’ is the Marin Red Cross Volunteer of the Year

By Marcia Antipa

Red Cross volunteer Kevin Sagar flexing skills

What does a law enforcement officer do in his spare time? Volunteer to help others, of course. Meet Kevin Sagar, the American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year for Marin County.

Kevin is wrapping up his first year as a police officer with the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, known as the SMART Train.

“The majority of my job is looking for people that are on the train tracks, either oblivious to the trains or trying to hurt themselves. Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere at the right time, but it is nice when we do get there and spot someone before something happens.”

Outside of his job, Kevin donates much of his time to the American Red Cross.

 “I get enjoyment about being able to help others and make a difference in the community,” he says.

When nominating Kevin for Volunteer of the Year, Marin Disaster co-chair Anne Eichhorn wrote, “What would we do without Kevin? He is the silent backbone of Marin Red Cross.”

Kevin, a Marin County native, joined the Red Cross six years ago. The Tubbs Fire that roared through Santa Rosa in 2017 became one of his biggest deployments. At the time, he worked in security. He asked his boss for a leave of absence and volunteered for a month straight.

“I sort of just went at it full speed ahead and never slowed down. For about the first week, I slept at the Red Cross office because people were calling at 3:00 in the morning and saying they needed something. I think I had an order for 10,000 pairs of work gloves, and they needed them within two days.”

Since that deployment, Kevin has taken multiple Red Cross training classes and worked in many roles. Now, he is indispensable as the Logistics Lead.

Kevin explains Logistics as “everything from the facilities to the vehicles to keeping all of our trailers and shelter supplies ready to go; from office supplies to air purifiers to ordering a pallet of hand sanitizer.”

Marin Disaster Co-Chair Lois Roth says Kevin is “ready day and night when disaster strikes to deliver supplies and assist in set up. The most frequent phrase in the office is ‘Ask Kevin!’”

“He’s developed the reputation of the go-to guy, even if it’s not about Logistics,” says Vincent Valenzuela, Disaster Program Manager for Marin and Solano Counties. “It could be an I.T. issue; it could be needing a code for the closet of the office.”

Kevin also deployed to the 2014 South Napa earthquake and to Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017. He says Harvey’s destructive flooding left him awestruck. Now, flooding is on his mind here in the North Bay. This year’s devastating wildfires have left Northern California’s scorched hillsides susceptible to floods.

 “That’s a big project Kevin has going on right now,” says Vincent Valenzuela. “[He’s] making sure all of our trailers are up-to-date.”

Other Red Crossers say they appreciate Kevin’s patience and low-key sense of humor. Kevin says humor helps him do his job – whether in law enforcement or volunteering.

“I’m not a very stressful person,” he grins. “Being able to find a way to smile or make a joke out of something definitely makes everything go easier.”

Congratulations to Kevin Sagar!  

You too can become a Red Cross volunteer: Please consider joining the Red Cross as a volunteer so that you can help us help others during wildfires and other large disasters. For more information and/or to start your application process, please visit redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html.

Marcia Antipa is a volunteer writer with the Northern California Coastal Region.