Tag Archives: Volunteers

A smile to share

Volunteer BreAnna Sanabria and a smile behind the mask.

A few weeks after beginning training, BreAnna Sanabria packed up to board a flight for the first time in seven years. For the first time, she deployed on August 22 to support the American Red Cross response to fires in Northern California. No stranger to service, BreAnna was more nervous about the flight than the work itself.

“I like being social and like to give back,” says BreAnna. “Our parents always said we were very blessed and that we should always give back. I thought the Red Cross was a way I could do that.”

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This award-winning actor discovered why our volunteers have been VIPs during the CZU Fire

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Preparing to assemble re-entry kits for fire evacuees, Casey Affleck is briefed by Michele Averill, CEO for the Central Coast Chapter (right), and Kerrin Welsh, Regional Preparedness Manager, in a warehouse in the community of Aromas. (Photo by Brian Nichols)
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As a long-time Red Cross volunteer and disaster responder, I have seen first-hand the impact disasters have on individuals, families, first responders, and entire communities. Although the resulting devastation and loss are unbearable, natural disasters can also bring out the very best in people who step forward to help in any way possible.

Academy Award-winning actor Casey Affleck and his friend Brian Nichols were two such people, wanting to provide assistance during the devastating CZU Lightning Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Read more

‘This One Really Hit Me’ — A Volunteer Story

Written by Patricia Friedman

Red Crosser Anne Johnson; a virtual selfie.

American Red Cross Volunteer, Anne Johnson, calls Fairbanks, Alaska home, but this year, she has found herself all around California – virtually that is. Anne is a recovery casework volunteer and spends her days calling people impacted by wildfires to offer Red Cross support services. In addition to resources, Anne also spends long hours on the phone, offering one invaluable service: connection.

“I was nervous about virtual deployment,” Anne says. “How do you offer something long distance from Alaska?” Yet, she quickly figured it out. With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping people apart, Anne realized that people desired a personal connection and to be heard. Something struck her during a recent conversation with a Red Cross client. “This one really hit me,” Anne said, and she knew she had to do something more.

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Helping others, even during her own time of need

Evacuated and waiting to learn the fate of her own home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Red Cross volunteer Linnea Dunn — heroically — provided assistance to others

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Waiting to learn the fate of her own home, Linnea Dunn did what brings great satisfaction to her: She helped others as a Red Cross volunteer.
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Like the 74,000 other people who were evacuated last week in response to the fast-moving CZU August Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Linnea Dunn quickly grabbed what possessions she could and prepared to flee to safety.

As she started her car in the early-morning hours on Tuesday morning, August 18, Linnea glanced back at the home she has owned on 2 1/2 acres in the rural neighborhood of Bonny Doon, wondering if it would still be standing when she returned. Two days later, Linnea got the news she dreaded: Her home, which she had lived in for more than 25 years — and a second one occupied by two other co-owners of the property — were both gone. Read more

Red Cross teams continue to support counties, residents affected by lightning-caused fires

Most recent update: Friday, September 18, at 11:30 a.m. 

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Red Cross volunteer Ken Everson helps unload a truck full of emergency supplies in Napa. We continue to add other photos to our regional Flickr album related to this disaster response. (Thanks to our volunteer photographers!)

The severe lightning storms that swept through our Northern California Coastal Region and other parts of the state earlier this month caused a number of large and destructive fires in our chapter areas, prompting quick responses by our region’s Red Cross teams.

Working alongside government and community partners, we have helped provide shelter, food, and comfort for people forced to leave their homes with little notice to flee these wildfires.

As of Tuesday night, we were supporting or operating 1 congregate (traditional) shelter and 10 non-congregate sites (in hotels or similar facilities) throughout our region. That was in response to fires that had burned more than 965,000 acres, destroyed or damaged almost 3,600 structures, and forced the evacuation of more than 1,800 people. Read more

A leader in ‘a beautiful circle of caring’

By Marcia Antipa

Red Cross Gala 2015

Lillian Phan

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.”

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