“It’s not just the support you bring, but the positivity that comes along with it.” – An Interview with Wyn Davies, Red Cross Disaster Action Team member
American Red Cross volunteers come from many diverse backgrounds, with different life experiences, but they all have something in common: they want to help others in their time of need.
In 2018, Wyn Davies was working for a company that made an in-kind donation to the Red Cross response during the Tubbs Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties. He had the chance to meet John Ruiz, our Regional Disaster Officer. Wyn was already familiar with Red Cross disaster work because one of his friends was a Disaster Action Team (DAT) supervisor and often shared stories about how the Red Cross helped the community in times of need. Soon after, he decided to join as a volunteer.
What motivates you to dedicate your time to help others and how do you integrate this into your everyday life?
In my professional career, I help large companies with all aspects of their desktop and mobile computing needs. By digging into the issues, I work with extended teams to help alleviate issues people are having, or things that are holding them back. I feel that by being a part of DAT, I am doing the same things but with their immediate life needs. I’m always here to help.
I love to give back to the community and although I generally see people during the darkest of their days, I know what I am doing will help them and that gives me great motivation to keep moving forward.
After a disaster response, one of the residents told me that he and his family have been donating to the Red Cross for years and never thought they would be at the receiving end of our disaster services. You never know when you will need that help yourself, so I always want to make the most of what I can give and do.
Which part of the work with the Disaster Action Team do you enjoy most? What do you think is the most important thing about this role?
I enjoy being with the people we serve in their time of need. I love being able to bring them some kind of hope when they have experienced some kind of loss. It’s hard sometimes but I always have to look at it from the point of view that we are bringing them some much needed help and services. I think that being a beacon of hope for them is the most important part of the job. It’s not just the support you bring but the positivity that comes along with it.
How much time per week or month do you dedicate to your volunteer work?
I try to be on call or at least generally available several days a week, depending on my work schedule.
I also do some other volunteering outside the Red Cross, so I need to balance my time.
What are some of your favorite memories during your work with the Red Cross?
There have been lots of things I could talk about but it’s really the everyday interaction with those affected by disasters that stand out in my mind. I have been to countless home fires of all types where someone has lost everything they own, and it’s always the interactions with the residents that sticks with me. Hugs too, I love the hugs folks want to give us.
Is there anything you’d like to say in closing that might help people understand and share the work of the Red Cross?
When I tell people what I do for the Red Cross, they immediately start asking about all the different aspects of the help we can provide. I always encourage people to reach out and start the journey themselves to become a volunteer. There are so many different ways you can help that it doesn’t really matter about your background or specific skills, there is always something that can be done to (help people) our clients. Give a little of your time or a lot, it all helps.
The Red Cross is always looking for volunteers just like Wyn. They play critical roles in their local communities making sure families don’t have to face tough times alone. For more information and to apply, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday
Note from the editor: This interview has been edited for clarity.