Leading up to Veterans Day, we’re sharing stories of U.S. military veterans who continue their legacy of service with the American Red Cross. These veterans have made an impact on and off the battlefield and continue to do so through our mission today.
Dave Schoeneck currently serves as a Red Cross volunteer with the Minnesota and Dakotas Region but his service to the Red Cross didn’t start until after his military service.
It all started in September 1964, while he was a freshman in college, Dave began working as a reporter and photographer for his hometown newspaper “The New Ulm Daily Journal” in southern Minnesota. Four years later, after graduating from Minnesota State University, he was drafted into the U.S. Army.
In June of 1969, he deployed to Vietnam with the 4th Infantry, first as a combat correspondent and later as editor of the Division’s weekly newspaper, “The Ivy Leaf.” A year later, he returned to the states, was discharged, and transitioned back to civilian life. Next, Dave worked in public relations and communications for several Minnesota-based corporations. Upon retiring from his career in 2002, this is when Dave started his journey with the Red Cross.
Since becoming a volunteer 20 years ago, Dave has been involved in local public affairs responses, supporting countless home fires and floods in various parts of Minnesota, five tornado responses in the state and seven national deployments. He has worked as a Red Cross public affairs service associate, supervisor and manager in several large-scale disasters, such as Hurricanes Irene, Sandy, Matthew, Harvey, Florence and Dorian, as well as the eastern Washington state wildfires. To date, he’s volunteered nearly 25,000 hours with the Red Cross and has no plans to stop yet.
Hear from Dave’s perspective on what led him to serve the Red Cross after his military service and why he continues to do so today.
Dave’s Story: Serving Country and Community
“The Red Cross had very important public affairs activity during disasters, as well as ongoing public affairs needs. I was actively involved in community affairs as part of my work and working with the Red Cross very much appealed to me.
Specifically, their fundamental principles— humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality — interested me. It fits very well with my belief that everyone needs to give back to the community and serve others. Working with the Red Cross has allowed me to use the communications skills I have developed over many years in a very positive way.
It is an amazing organization that aids victims of home fires and other smaller disasters on a local level, but also comes together when needed to answer the call for large-scale disasters such as Hurricanes Florence and Michael. In addition to disaster services, the Red Cross has a long-standing role in providing services to service members, veterans, and their families.
I have met and been privileged to work with wonderful people from all over the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada who, as part of the Red Cross, respond to disasters. Their spirit of service and dedication is very inspiring. Many of the Red Cross volunteers I have met are also veterans who continue to serve their country and community, long after their active military duty has ended.”
Keep following as we share more stories of military veterans who serve after their service through the Red Cross.