The Spirit of Volunteerism: Celebrating our Volunteers of the Year
The Volunteer of the Year Award is the highest honor a volunteer can achieve within our chapters, awarded annually to the individuals who best exemplify the spirit of volunteerism.
The most recent awardees have contributed significantly to the American Red Cross across all our lines of service and worked alongside staff and other volunteers in multiple roles.
Their contributions have enabled the Red Cross to fulfill our mission to the community throughout the region.
We proudly present:
Bay Area Chapter
Cindy has been part of the Community Partnership outreach program in Alameda County since 2020.
Her leadership has made the program a model for similar initiatives across the region. Her professionalism and dedication has allowed the Red Cross to reengage with multiple key partners while developing new relationships.
Cindy is a passionate volunteer who believes that “we can only fulfill our mission as a team and as a community.”
“I’m motivated by the incredible selflessness and dedication of other Red Cross volunteers, the staff and our partners who all drive towards disasters instead of away from them. With climate change, I see more and more human suffering and displacement in our future, and there will be even greater need for our services, before, during and after emergencies.”
Bay Area Chapter
Contra Costa County
Red Crosser extraordinaire Suzanne Garrett was honored for her service, dedication and time as a large-scale disaster responder and as a Disaster Action Team member. She’s held several key roles in Contra Costa County, including Disaster Chair, Disaster Action Team Lead, Duty Officer and Caseworker.
She also serves as our county Program Lead for The Pillowcase Project and has kept the program thriving in Contra Costa County, even through the challenging period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to thank all the many volunteers I have the pleasure to serve with, in Contra Costa and also throughout (our region.) You have made me feel like part of a true family where we all have a common purpose – Sleeves Up, Hearts Open, All In.”
Ann Bennett Young
Central Coast Chapter
Santa Cruz County
Since joining the Red Cross, Ann has supported blood drives as a Donor Ambassador and as a blood drive coordinator.
She has also been an advocate and champion of inclusion, belonging, equity, and access, and has presented on cultural intelligence on multiple occasions within our region and to regions across the U.S.
Ann has also assisted Disaster Cycle Services, working with community partners and residents to ensure they are prepared to respond to disasters.
“Volunteering with the Red Cross allows me to spend time with people who know that they can make a difference for those around them. Problem-solving and meeting needs become so much more meaningful in a context where others can benefit directly. Additionally, I learn so much and am always able to strengthen my skills by taking on new and different challenges.”
North Bay Chapter
Alisa is a kind and passionate volunteer, and a wonderful leader for her chapter’s Youth Executive Board.
From her position on the North Bay Board of Directors, Alisa was inspired to create a storybook that highlights Red Cross volunteers around the world. In addition to her storybook project, Alisa is always thinking of new ideas to engage chapter youth volunteers and promote Red Cross Clubs.
Furthermore, she has invited notable guest speakers to events that allow high school students to learn about the organization’s impact.
“I’m blessed to have found a family among the Red Cross community and look forward to continuing to grow — both personally and professionally — together. The Red Cross community is one that is so special…(t)his organization truly bridges the line between friends and colleagues,” she said.
Silicon Valley Chapter
Santa Clara County
With his determination to serve communities impacted by wildfires, Matthew became an effective advocate for expanding youth engagement in disaster response within our region.
He was the first youth volunteer from our region to be deployed in the staffing function, specifically the Disaster Event Based Volunteer team.
In this role, Matthew supported community members who graciously raised their hands to join our wildfire response. He hosted new volunteer welcome sessions, managed the regional volunteer shift tool, and helped fill open shifts, all while attending school during the day.
“I am continually inspired by how the collective power of our organization enables us to respond to major disasters and help people across the globe.”