Category Archives: Large Disasters

Stan Massie keeps the Red Cross connected

Stan Massie — recipient of the Contra Costa Volunteer of the Year Award — still has the buttons he received from completing swimming lessons with the Red Cross as a young child in San Rafael. So when he retired from the banking world in 2016, he wanted to do something that “added value to the world.” Inspired by the work done by volunteers during the 2017 Tubbs fire, he signed up to volunteer through the Red Cross website. Now he is as busy — if not busier in retirement as in his professional career.

Stan’s intake coordinator at the Red Cross pegged him for External Relations based on his corporate background. Briana Taylor, Regional Disaster Chair for the Northern California Coastal Region, served as the External Relations Lead at the time and met with Stan to discuss the commitment. Over coffee, Briana described the role with a “broad brush.” Stan said yes.

He’s been in action ever since.

“Once I got in, they pulled me into multiple positions,” Stan says. “First it was the External Relations Committee, then the Contra Costa Leadership Council, the Government Relations Committee, and then the Bay Area Board of Directors.”

Stan now sits as chairman of Contra Costa Leadership Council and still works in External Relations with elected officials and County partners.

“Last fall, I deployed for the first time and was assigned to Monterrey County to work in the Office of Emergency Services (OES),” Stan says. “My main job today is to work with partners throughout the county, fire, health, the Board of Supervisors, etc., so that when disaster strikes, we can get services quickly where needed.”

Stan is busy outside of his Red Cross work, looking after two grandchildren from time to time and attending to other family needs. And then there is the occasional game of golf.

“I like to tell people ‘just be realistic and honest about the time commitment,’” Stan says. “If you want to do [this] well, you’ll need to put in the time.

Stan hopes to recruit for the leadership positions he’s filled over the last several years. “All volunteer positions take time to fill and succession is very important to keep the continuity with our partners.

Stan says he sticks close to the Red Cross work for the same reason he signed up. “I thought volunteering would be showing up at an event or shelter. I didn’t want to do something that mimics my corporate world. But now I know I can do both.”

Lisa Ann Rohr, American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) Program Manager Returns from Iraq

Narrated to Lawrence D. Dietz, Public Affairs Officer, Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region

SAF Mobile Staff, Team 44
(Masks required in Germany)

Lisa Ann Rohr was one of nine Red Cross SAF Mobile personnel who left the U.S. for overseas duty from August 2020 to April 2021. Lisa Ann was one of two Red Crossers initially stationed in Iraq, at the diplomatic post Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center (BDSC).

Lisa Ann’s core U.S. roles and responsibilities for SAF in the Northern California Coastal Region of the Red Cross are Follow-up Casework, Military Treatment Facility (MTF) programs, including Licensed Medical Volunteer placement, and Military Entrance Processing Station Briefing program management.

As for deployments, Red Cross SAF Mobile Staff are assembled into rotating deployment teams from Continental US and Outside Continental U.S. Red Cross regions for a six-month mission. Lisa Ann, with her eight colleagues, were known as Team 44.

Read more

The “girl from high tech” finds renewed purpose with the Red Cross

Suzie Hall

The American Red Cross honored Suzie Hall with the Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership in Sonoma County for her extensive volunteer efforts. Named after the founder of the American Red Cross, this award recognizes a volunteer for service in a series of leadership positions held over several years.

The top-honor recipient joined the Red Cross back in 2014 through San Jose’s local chapter. Following her departure from a career in Silicon Valley at Apple Inc., Suzie searched for a new community to call home. Hall sought a slower pace of life and desired to be closer to friends and family, so she put down new roots in Oakmont in Santa Rosa. She quickly dedicated her time and energy to a volunteer leadership position within the Red Cross using her IT and seasoned management experience to serve the needs of the organization.

Her current focus is on the Volunteer Connection Tech Team and she works with two other volunteers – Linnea Dunn and Ayman Baydoun. Hall’s expertise and strong leadership help manage and streamline the system. If volunteers have an issue or question, they can write in for support. “It’s a huge system that runs the lifeblood of how we communicate with everyone.” Volunteers update their availability and accept shifts, among other things.

Read more

Four generations strong… so far

Gary Zellerbach during the 2019 Sound the Alarm campaign.

Volunteering with the American Red Cross takes many forms. For some, volunteering means active deployment into the heart of disaster responses, where people are at their most vulnerable. Others find meaning and purpose behind the scenes, coordinating their peers from a virtual office. And then there is a family tradition, where roles pass down from one generation to the next. Gary Zellerbach is part of such a legacy.

Gary Zellerbach’s grandmother, Doris Zellerbach, served as a Donut Dolly in WWII, volunteering and working with the Red Cross her entire life. She specifically invested time and energy into youth services. Upon passing, she not only left an endowment to the Red Cross, but her son (and Gary’s father), Stephen Zellerbach, picked up the mantle in youth services. Gary retired around the same time his father died in 2011, and he readied himself for service.

“I had met Harold Brooks [the regional Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter from 1997-2013] at events over the years,” says Gary. So, Gary called him and asked, “Harold, are you ready for the next generation?” Harold introduced Gary to the then head of development, Michael Lawrence, who – naturally – recommended that Gary join the Youth Services Committee.

Read more

Stretching past your comfort zone

By John Lindner

Janet Rogoff, Marin County Volunteer of the Year

American Red Cross volunteer Janet Rogoff loves books.  For over 40 years, she and her husband have dealt in rare books, specializing in tribal art and working with galleries, collectors and institutions. So, it is no wonder that when speaking with Janet, you get the impression that she is most comfortable working behind the scenes.

When asked about her recent “Marin County Volunteer of the Year Award,” Janet credits her colleagues for the success of the Marin Red Cross. “We have a really good group in Marin now,” Janet said. “We have people doing such a good job that they’re being recruited to the regional level, and a couple have even gone to national.”

Like other volunteers, Hurricane Katrina first brought Janet into the Red Cross. The scale of need motivated her to take action. She remembers the Red Cross desperately recruiting responders who were willing to train quickly and then deploy to Texas. As one of those new recruits, Janet recalls commuting from her home in Marin to the Oakland office for two consecutive days of training. After she completed training and before the call to hop on a plane arrived, Janet assumed that she was too old to deploy. Yet, once on her way to Texas, she realized not only was she not too old, but she was one of the younger responders.

Read more

Carrying Clara Barton’s legacy forward

Dr. Diane Bridgeman is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who has served as a volunteer with the Red Cross for more than 30 years. In April, Diane received the Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership, the Red Cross’ highest honor. A treasured member of the Disaster Mental Health Team in the Santa Cruz chapter, Diane took the time to share about her rich experience with the Red Cross and why this recognition means so much to her. 

Dr. Diane Bridgeman

What drew you to the American Red Cross, and what kept you engaged? 

I suspect my initial interest in the Red Cross, and why I stayed with it for over 30 years, stems from a matching of my core life tenets and the central mission of the Red Cross. This includes service to others and the importance of fairness and social justice – these are key lenses for my view of the world and similarly coincide with the basic principles that guide the Red Cross. It is why I chose psychology, and clinical psychology specifically, as my career choice and why I resonate with the heart of the Red Cross. The more I learned about the history of the Red Cross and its profound and inspired founder, Clara Barton, the more I embraced and wanted to give time to this humanitarian organization.  

Read more
« Older Entries