By Marcia Antipa
This is the story of Lillian Phan, a bright and accomplished young woman, who also happens to be a stellar volunteer with the American Red Cross. Like so many American stories, Lillian’s begins with immigration, determination, and hard work.
Lillian’s parents immigrated from Vietnam, sponsored by a Christian organization that gave them a head start with food and shelter. Eventually, the Phans moved to Santa Clara County. Both had to overcome the language barrier and reinvent themselves.
“My Dad gave up architecture and became a nuclear engineer. My mom gave up her law degree.”
These Central Coast Chapter volunteers worked at the one-day event in Salinas in support of the healthcare providers who treat our agricultural workers. Full-size photos of this event can be viewed here. (All photos: Virginia and Albert Becker)
During this lethal pandemic, the shortage of PPE — personal protective equipment — has been an ongoing challenge for physicians, other healthcare workers, and medical groups in communities, counties, and states in our country.
In the Central Coast area of California, one of the most fertile areas in our agriculture-rich state, that need has been acutely felt by the often-small medical teams that care for the people whose fieldwork is the epitome of an essential service: our agricultural workers.
That’s why the support that more than two dozen volunteers from the Central Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross provided last week at a one-day PPE giveaway was also so essential.
At the event, which took place on July 27 at the Salinas Municipal Airport, 25 volunteers from the Red Cross chapter distributed close to $300,000 worth of medical-grade personal protective equipment — including N95 and surgical masks, gowns, gloves and face shields — to Monterey County practitioners who provide healthcare to local fieldworkers. Read more
Rayvon Williams is pictured at the Watsonville Municipal Airport, where he serves as manager.
When Rayvon Williams’ two-year term as chair of the Board of Directors of the Central Coast Chapter concluded at the end of June, it would have been understandable if he had stepped back a bit from his many American Red Cross commitments. He had, after all, already filled multiple leadership roles during eight devoted years on the board.
But that’s not Rayvon’s style. Instead of retreating, even for a short while, the energetic manager of the Watsonville Municipal Airport re-upped for another two-year term as a board officer … this time as its secretary.
“That’s so typical of Rayvon,” says Michele Averill, CEO of the Central Coast Chapter. “He saw a need, so he volunteered to fill it.” Read more
Rebecca Taylor-Ford and husband, Joe, at the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade in 2016.
Rebecca Taylor-Ford recently began her second year in service as Board Chair for the North Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross. She stepped into the role in 2019 after several years of volunteering for the Red Cross in various capacities. According to her peers, she leads with a light touch and a self-assuredness that are well-earned from personal and professional experience.
It turns out that Rebecca was also once a Red Cross client.
In 2014, Rebecca and her family survived a house fire that destroyed their home. When the Red Cross showed up, a team member helped walk the family through immediate and long-term recovery, one step at a time.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19, we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual American Red Cross San Francisco Gala event this year to protect the members of our community and guests. Under usual circumstances, the Gala is a moment when we honor both an outstanding corporation and a dedicated individual who have furthered the Red Cross mission in the Bay Area. Our 2020 Red Cross Philanthropic Company of the Year, The Clorox Company, and 2020 Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year, Chief Eric Reinbold of the Paradise Police Department, will be honored at our 2021 event. But we want to take a moment to recognize them now. Read more
A scene from a blood drive in March 2020. | Photo: American Red Cross
The 2020 Chabot College Nursing class was on track to graduate come May. A mere 65 additional clinical hours stood between the students and the culmination of two years of constant hard work. Once completed, all of the tears shed, the financial burden and the time spent would count for something; they would graduate with their Associate’s Degree in Nursing, propelling them into their future within the medical field. But as soon as COVID-19 started to rear its head in the U.S., hospitals began cutting preceptorships as a means to limit the potential spread of the virus. Read more