Inspired by his father to become a Friendly Calls volunteer

Murray Hil wearing glasses and smiling and the cameraThe Red Cross has always been an organization close to Murray Hill’s heart. Throughout his childhood, his father instilled in him that the Red Cross makes a difference in people’s lives all over the world. This deep reverence is what eventually prompted Murray to become a Red Cross volunteer with the Friendly Calls program.

As a child who grew up in 1960s Winnipeg, Murray’s father, a veteran of the Second World War, often reminded him of how different his life could have been without the support of the Red Cross. Murray’s father was captured as a prisoner of war in the Dieppe Raid and spent the last few years of his time in the war relying on care packages provided by the Red Cross.

“When he came home and got his life together and started raising a family, I remember hearing, often, really nice comments about the Red Cross in reference to his history. The Red Cross always had a meaning to me through that.”

When there was an opportunity to volunteer with the Friendly Calls program, Murray, a career salesman, thought it fit his skills perfectly. The program matches people over the age of 18 with trained Red Cross personnel who connect with them on regular phone calls to check-in, provide emotional support, and suggest well-being resources and community connections to other existing services. 

“I’ve spent my entire life in sales, and I realized early on, that asking questions is a really good thing. Getting people to talk about themselves and their history, their future, however they may see it. Really learning and giving somebody the opportunity to share their story.”

Making connections can have a lasting impact on both volunteers and callers involved in the Friendly Calls program. Murray’s desire to forge those connections is what has led to an almost two-year friendship with a Friendly Calls participant who he chats with weekly.

“There are people in this world that could use a friend, and it’s easy to fix simply having a program like this.”

The Friendly Calls program is for anyone who may have limited social and family links or could benefit from greater connections. If you know someone who might be interested, as a volunteer or as a participant, please see our Friendly Calls webpage for more information.

Related articles
Compassionate Connections: The Red Cross Friendly Calls Program in Action
Friendly Calls: Make a connection, one call at a time
Total strangers to true companions

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