"I enjoy helping people": Art Brown on why he volunteers

Being away from his family on deployment is not new for Art Brown, who spent 39 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, in a variety of roles. Art's family are used to him being away for extended periods of time to help people as a Canadian Red Cross volunteer.Photo of Art

“They know that when the Red Cross calls, that I am going to put my hand up,” said Brown, a resident of Brandon, Manitoba. “That’s what I enjoy doing and they support that, and they’re used to it.”

Art has been raising his hand since 2017. Over the last three years, he has taken on a variety of roles within the Canadian Red Cross, in numerous responses both within Manitoba and deploying to other parts of Canada.

Art has been a part of the emergency management team responding to a variety of disasters like wildfires in B.C, floods in Manitoba and at the start to the COVID-19 pandemic to support cruise ship travellers returning home to Canada. As a Safety and Wellbeing volunteer, Art provides support to people in their time of need and helps link them to community support after to get them back on their feet.

At the end of 2020, Art spent several weeks in Winnipeg in a different role with the Canadian Red Cross – leading one of the teams working in long-term care facilities, providing care and comfort to residents isolating during the pandemic. He found it very rewarding making connections with residents who had been restricted to their rooms and needed to socialize.

During his time in the military, Art served as a peacekeeper in 2002 and 2003, completed two tours in Afghanistan, in 2009 and 2014. One of his roles in Kandahar was working in air transportation helping to repatriate fallen comrades back to Canada. Art is using the skills he learned during his nearly four decades serving with the Canadian Armed Forces to help people as a Red Cross volunteer.

“A lot of the skills that I learned in the military are easily transferable to the Red Cross,” he said. Volunteering with the Red Cross, however, has also taught him a lot of new skills, including in the area of humanitarian work.

Ultimately, for Art, it means a lot to be able to use what he has learned to help people dealing with emergency situations, whether it’s a wildfire, a storm, or a pandemic.

“I want to give back to the community. I’m retired and I have the time to do it. And I just enjoy helping people out.”

There are many volunteer opportunities available - For more information visit www.redcross.ca/volunteer

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