We love sharing stories of our Red Cross volunteers, like Dan Terrio. He is a member of our Club Red Young Professionals group in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and has been a volunteer for 18 years. We spoke with Dan about his connection to the organization, and his incredible journey that has him dancing for a cause.
1) You began volunteering with the American Red Cross when you were 14. What got you started?
At the age of 13, I was involved in a serious car/train accident in which I lost significant amounts of blood. I was given five units of blood which was collected and given to the hospital by the American Red Cross. I made a vow that if I were to survive my injuries that I would give back to the organization that saved my life… and I never ceased on that vow.
2) In your 18 years as a volunteer, what has been one of your favorite moments?
Some of my favorite moments have been teaching kids about what the Red Cross is and what they do for a community. I’m the blood drive coordinator at my present employer. With this, I also have enjoyed seeing the influx of blood donors, many of whom are new, that walk through our doors to give blood. It’s a humbling experience to see people give something that is so vital and needed and can save many lives, like it did mine.
3) Tell us about how you got involved with Dancing with our Stars (DWOS). What has been the best part of your experience with this dancing competition so far?
In March of 2015, I was approached with the opportunity to do DWOS. I knew going into this that it would be an emotional and physical challenge for me, but I knew it was my time. In the car/train accident, I was told I would have limited mobility to walk nevertheless dance. This is my opportunity to prove that you can rise above your injuries and face your fears head on. The best part has been constantly raising the bar for myself to pull these two dances off. Mina, my amazing dance partner, gave me challenging choreography that is pushing me to my limits. Attendees and viewers are going to be blown away, as I have been blown away at myself these past six months!
4) How has social media helped you get the word out about your dance competition?
My Facebook group has over 500 likes and it has allowed me not only to just share my DWOS story and journey, but it has also allowed me to share the story of the American Red Cross. The amount of response I have received has been tremendous and it will carry me into the February 20th competition.
5) What advice do you have for someone interested in volunteering with the Red Cross, but isn’t sure where to start?
I always encourage people to explore the Red Cross and see what suits them and where their passion lies. Given my experience, I am passionate about blood donation. I choose to channel my energy there. I am also active in the local Red Cross Young Professionals group which has allowed me to see the different aspects of the Red Cross, and has made all the difference. I encourage people to explore and find where they fit best!
Want to find out how you can get involved? The Red Cross National Young Professionals Council engages and supports volunteers and donors between the ages of 21 and 35. Check out their Facebook group to see what they’ve been up to recently.