As National Volunteer Week comes to a close, I am reminded that the work of American Red Cross volunteers never does. For our Restoring Family Links volunteers, the impact of their time and efforts literally brings families back together. This process can take months, sometimes even years.
Sometimes, volunteers are like Thu-Thuy Truong or Manyang Reath Ker, recipients of our services, whose most important relationships are pieced back together because of the American Red Cross and its volunteers, and are compelled to pay it forward.
Manyang Reath Ker speaks about his experiences as a refugee and Restoring Family Links advocate.
Sometimes, volunteers are like Bob Wiltz or Elissa Maish whose tireless dedication are stemmed not from personal experiences of separation, but are fueled by seeing the impact of the work they do in their communities.
A student explains refugee camp layout and services provided during Volunteer Bob Wiltz’s workshop.
Or sometimes, they are like Justin Coghill, and take personal passions like soccer and turn them into something much larger than that. Something that reaches entire groups of people beyond the city in which they reside.
Justin Coghill, right, at Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship One World Soccer Tournament for Refugee Youth.
Annually, the American Red Cross assists more than 5,000 families trying to reconnect with their loved ones in the U.S. and around the world. Many of the people behind those connections are volunteers, who work simply for the satisfaction of knowing they played a role in bringing two people together again and on donated time.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the American Red Cross. The volunteers behind the Restoring Family Links program are continuing to pump strong, and make us all proud.