by Pat Buckhold, Regional Volunteer Services Officer, Northeast Ohio
As 2015 winds down and 2016 looms on the horizon, I can’t help but think of over 2,000 Red Cross volunteers in northeast Ohio who continue to make a difference every day in the lives of those who live in our community. The Red Cross has many faces- Disaster Services Team Member, Blood Donor Ambassador, CPR/First Aid Instructor, Services to the Armed Forces Community Outreach Worker, Operation Save-A-Life Smoke Alarm Installer and yet all have one thing in common- the desire to save lives and alleviate human suffering in the face of disaster. I am humbled by the genuine caring and compassion of our volunteers and their selfless giving to others. While many of us will be enjoying holiday gatherings and New Year’s celebrations over the next week, somewhere in northeast Ohio disaster volunteers will be giving up their time to respond to a fire or other disaster and help someone in need.
So when the last of the bowl games is over and the last of the holiday treats are gone, don’t let those New Year’s resolutions end too! The New Year offers opportunities to make new choices and take new chances in life. Things that were on your back burner, such as volunteering, can take on new meaning so why not consider joining the Red Cross as a volunteer. And if you didn’t know, volunteerism has countless benefits. Volunteering has been linked with increased levels of happiness and decreased depression. People who volunteer report physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Volunteers help create and support healthy communities. I can’t think of any better reasons to volunteer (and spoken like a true volunteer services officer)!