Central Coast Chapter Volunteer of the Year Megan Erk says love of community led her to the American Red Cross
By Marcia Antipa
“Showing kindness and getting help to people that need it without regard to anything else – that is how I was brought up.”
Megan Erk – the Volunteer of the Year for the Central Coast Chapter – credits her father for inspiring her dedication to the community. He was a military man who brought his daughter along on volunteer projects.
“I kind of grew up in that environment where people just volunteered in the community to help out.”
Now Megan is taking on multiple roles with the American Red Cross. From hurricanes to wildfires, from blood drives to blog articles, Central Coast Chapter CEO Michele Averill says Megan has more than earned her award.
American Red Cross volunteer – and recent transplant to Fairfield – Susan Reese always planned to work with the Red Cross when she retired. When Susan finally retired from the restaurant industry last year, she became a volunteer wildfire associate. While working at a Local Assistance Center (LAC) during the North Complex fires in Yuba City, disaster response leadership called for people to join the feeding team. Susan jumped up, and said, “Feeding is what I love doing!” Just like that, Susan’s first deployment brought everything full circle.
Susan first had contact with the Red Cross in 1997 when she lived in Klamath, California. That year, the Klamath River breeched and flooded the town. Susan says that the entire area “was wiped out.” The Red Cross arrived and began to feed survivors and evacuees by bringing in food from a neighboring city.
Penny Mount likes to have her hands full of projects and people for whom she cares. During a recent phone chat to talk about compassion calls she made on behalf of the American Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program, she was also looking after her 11-month-old great-granddaughter, Jolene. “She’s headstrong, just like her mother,” Penny says. By the end of that same call, Jolene had “creatively decorated herself” and Penny’s counter with her lunch. “Her mother’s not going to be too happy with me,” Penny chuckled.
And that’s just how it is with Penny: breezy, light and full of gratitude.
The compassion calls were part of SAF’s month of service this past February. Volunteers from across the Northern California Coastal Region placed calls to the nearly 3,000 families served by SAF in the last 18 months. They checked on the families’ health and welfare and extended a hand of assistance should any be needed. The purpose was to deliver the Red Cross mission of providing care and comfort to service members, veterans and military families.
And this Clara Barton Award recipient wouldn’t have it any other way
San Jose resident Liz Dietz has been a dedicated Red Crosser for 40 years, supporting community members and colleagues alike with a tireless commitment to our mission. (Photo by Larry Dietz) _____
Liz Dietz’s work for the American Red Cross — in health services, supporting people affected by disasters large and small; advocating for the needs of military members, veterans, and their families; staffing a regional first-aid team that for years supported major events; and so much more — speaks for itself.
It almost has to, given the challenge of getting Liz to lend her own words to a description of her decades of impactful volunteer work for the Red Cross. Read more
Tiki Dellamora represents everything that is good about the Red Cross
Tiki Dellamora is a beloved member of the Central Coast Chapter volunteer team. _____
Productive, dependable, and tireless are three adjectives regularly used to describe the thousands of volunteers whose work is at the heart of everything the American Red Cross does to support individuals, families, and communities throughout our country.
But take an extra minute to observe these volunteers on the job. If you do, it’s hard to overlook one other characteristic they all seemingly have in common: a sense of optimism that brings a smile not only to the faces of the many people they support and serve, but also to the faces of the Red Cross colleagues working at their side.
“In our Central Coast Chapter, perhaps no one epitomizes that can-do, joyful spirit more than Tiki Dellamora,” says Chapter CEO Michele Averill, who announced recently that Tiki was a recipient of the organization’s prestigious Clara Barton Award. Read more
Regional Red Cross teams continue work with counties to help those displaced
This information was last updated on Wednesday, February 3, at 10 a.m.
Current situation: In response to the evacuation of some 15,000 people in the Central Coast area due to last week’s dangerously wet and windy storms in Northern California, regional Red Cross teams have mobilized to support to those in need.