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Giving Thanks to Volunteers

It’s been another busy year across the country and around the world for American Red Cross volunteers as they have answered the call to the help those in need time and time again. Whether providing disaster relief, serving military families, helping at blood drives, providing lifesaving training, or helping communities get disaster prepared, it is the heart and selflessness of volunteers that makes it happen and gets the work done!

The following are but a few stories of some of the volunteers making the work possible. Please share your own story in the comments below.

Susie Mahlstede (left) became a Red Cross volunteer in October when her community in Austin, Texas was struck by flooding. At the local emergency shelter she met Edna Quensel, a Red Cross volunteer of more than 20 years from Ticonderoga, New York. Together they teamed with other volunteers to help neighbors find safe refuge from the storm. Both have persevered through their own personal heartache to bring comfort to those in need. Read more of their heartwarming story here.


In addition to working his full-time job, John McCombs also volunteers for the Lowcountry, South Carolina Chapter of the Red Cross. There he leads Home Fire Campaign efforts to install smoke alarms and make local communities safer and better prepared. In addition he is also a Disaster Action Team member responding to local disasters and, in his “spare time,” also helps out with Public Affairs!


JillJill Hofmann (center) of Santa Cruz, California has been a Red Cross volunteer for 34 years! Her International Services work with the Red Cross has taken her to an earthquake in Turkey, floods in Venezuela, refugee camps in Croatia, and a typhoon in the Philippines. In the United States, she has responded to every type of disaster, including months spent in New York City following 9/11. She is fluent in Spanish, a Disaster Mental Health manager, and an instructor for Disaster Cycle Services and International Services. Truly a talented and invaluable volunteer.


Don Nelson, a Red Cross disaster volunteer from Endicott, New York, replenishes some of the shelter supply boxes at the Wenatchee, Washington, Red Cross chapter. When wildfires hit the State of Washington, Nelson deployed as a specialist in Red Cross care and sheltering, traveling across the country to help. When disaster strikes, volunteers like Don put their own lives back home on hold for several weeks at a time to make sure affected communities get the help that they need. Photo Credit: Robert W. Wallace/American Red Cross


This past spring and fall, the State of Texas was slammed with historic storms, flooding, and destruction. Thousands of volunteers and supporters from around the country came together to assist affected communities by providing more than 350,000 meals, more than 200,000 clean-up items and running nearly 100 shelters. Pictured here is the volunteer team in Wichita Falls during Spring floods, representing so many who came together to help!

On this day and every day, we extend our deepest gratitude to those who give so much of themselves in service to others. Thank you to ALL Red Cross volunteers!