Thanking our volunteers for their passion, purpose and help

At the Red Cross, we are incredibly grateful to our volunteers for their invaluable work and see their passion in helping others every day. National Volunteer Week is the perfect opportunity to thank the people who selflessly rush to help others during disasters and emergencies, assist with prevention and safety initiatives, or provide community health and wellness services. We are so thankful to the thousands of volunteers who make our work possible.

We asked a few of our amazing volunteers why they dedicate their time and efforts into helping others and here is what some had to say:

Mark Therien, Ontario

Mark Therien, our volunteer in the First Contact program"Without question my experience with the Canadian Red Cross First Contact Program has helped shape my future career trajectory; however, my real reason for my volunteerism is quite simple. I wish to return the hospitality afforded to me throughout my lifetime of travels. The courtesy and grace extended by the hospitality of other cultures to a stranger is something that I am fortunate to have experienced repeatedly, and it inspired me to lead by example back home here in Canada. With many programs, results are weeks or months or even years in the making, but with the First Contact Program, we see results daily, working with newly arrived refugee claimants. We point claimants in the right direction and hopefully can alleviate some of the burden and stress that comes along with such a migratory journey."

Fred Bron and Dawn Giddens, New Brunswick

Fred Bron and Dawn Giddens, Canadian Red Cross volunteers“Hi, my name is Fred Bron and I have been a Disaster Management volunteer for coming on eight years now. From assisting those displaced by house fires, to helping communities evacuated by forest fires, to others affected by floods and ice storms, I feel the work we do as the Canadian Red Cross is amazing, as we talk the talk, and walk the walk! I find it personally rewarding when I can respond to a disaster, speak to the people affected, and right then and there provide both assistance to help with their immediate needs, and provide a sense of reassurance and comfort. I have recently inspired my wife Dawn to join on as a volunteer to share in these experiences, and it’s a great way for us to spend time together helping those in need, when they need it the most. I really encourage everyone to consider volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross, to work beside an excellent team of people, to forge new friendships, and to make a real difference in your community!”

“My name is Dawn Giddens. I am still within my first year as a volunteer but feel that I have been part of this great organization for much longer because of my husband’s experiences. When my husband Fred started helping with the Syrian refugees coming into the Moncton area, I felt compelled to help out and decided to join the Red Cross and become a volunteer. Seeing the way the Red Cross volunteers stepped up to help these families and welcome them to this country showed me what it is all about. I am so proud to be part of this great team and have shared my enthusiasm with others.

Spencer Maclean, New BrunswickCanadian Red Cross volunteer Spencer Maclean

“Hello from New Brunswick! My name is Spencer. I’m an emergency management volunteer here in Moncton. As an aspiring police officer, I have a strong drive to help those in need, particularly in crisis situations. So serving my community with the Canadian Red Cross is a natural fit!

I look forward to growing with the Red Cross, refining skills, gaining experience and assisting those in need. I recommend anyone looking for a rewarding experience to connect with their local Red Cross office.

Happy National Volunteer Week!”

Phyllis Wiscombe, Manitoba/Newfoundland

Phyllis Wiscombe, a Canadian Red Cross volunteerPhyllis Wiscombe, whose contribution to the Red Cross in Manitoba and Newfoundland spans more than three decades, is an experienced volunteer in leadership and training. Phyllis is a lead on the Gimli Personal Disaster Assistance team, a supervisor with Disaster Management and a training coordinator for Learning and Development nationally. In recognition of her many years of leadership and service, Phyllis was appointed a Member of the prestigious Order of the Red Cross in 2015.

“I have always felt proud to be a Red Cross volunteer because Red Cross stands for what I believe in,” said Phyllis. “When I see people in need, I have this strong desire to help them. I love it when I can go to a response because then I can actually see the results of what we do. Seeing Red Cross featured on the news, all over the world, doing the same work makes me feel proud to say I volunteer with the Red Cross. For young people, if they only realized how much experience and knowledge they can get by being a Red Cross volunteer, they would be lining up to join us.”

Wes Jones, Winnipeg

Canadian Red Cross volunteer Wes JonesWinnipeg’s Wes Jones, who has been with the Canadian Red Cross for more than two years, wears different hats with the Red Cross, as he is a member of the Emergency Response Team, helping people who have been displaced from their homes, and he is also part of the team that goes into communities to support evacuations and the return home at the end of a response. Besides the work he does in Manitoba, Wes has also volunteered to help with disasters in other parts of the country. In 2016, he went to Alberta to help people impacted by the Fort McMurray wildfires. During that response, he was awed by the incredible resilience of the people impacted by the fires.

“Every time I put on the Red Cross vest, I have felt pride in what I am part of, and the support I am able to bring to people in need,” he said. “As a retiree, it can help fill a need to remain purposeful and to feel part of a team that can really make a difference when catastrophic events occur. A huge bonus in all this is that you are also afforded the opportunity to work with a team of like minded volunteers who come from diverse backgrounds and bring unique skill sets to the table. This factor adds a whole other level of learning and satisfaction to the Canadian Red Cross volunteer experience and helps make everything about it that much more rewarding.”

Candace McCool, Ontario

Restoring Family Links volunteer Candace McCoolIn 1994, Candace McCool joined the Canadian Red Cross and has been an active volunteer in numerous Red Cross programs including disaster management and Restoring Family Links. She contributes over 1,000 hours each year to Red Cross. She has taken a lead role responding to Cold/Hot weather Alerts, Personal Disaster Assistance calls and passionately works on connecting family members separated by war, disaster or migration. Candace finds it very worthwhile to help families to reconnect through the Red Cross network after separation caused by conflict, natural disaster or migration. She has been part of the Red Cross response to high profile situations including the Fort McMurray response, the Asia Tsunami, the Ontario blackout, a gas explosion at Kipling/Bloor station, the SARS outbreak, and numerous fires. Candace is the recipient of almost all Red Cross awards; the most recent was the Order of Red Cross - Member level. Thank you, Candace, for your inspiring support!

Bill Williams, Dorrie Francisco and Johanne Willis, Ontario

Bill, Dorrie and Johanne, Canadian Red Cross volunteersDedicated Red Cross Meals on Wheels volunteers Bill Williams, Dorrie Francisco and Johanne Willis pack baskets with desserts and buns for meal delivery in Ontario. Bill recently received the Distinguished Service Award, one of Red Cross’s highest honours.

Thank you, Bill, Dorrie, and Johanne for all you do!

Hear from some of our volunteers in their words about why they volunteer; read Proud to put on the vest and answer the call to volunteer and Volunteering: A Way of Life.

Follow our celebration of volunteering with these hashtags: #NVW2018 and #VolunteersRock.

If you would like to volunteer with us, read about how to apply and current opportunities

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