By Manuel Andrews, American Red Cross Volunteer
(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays written by volunteers for the American Red Cross in the Northeast Ohio Region)
My name is Manuel Andrews I am a volunteer Disaster Action Team (DAT) member in disaster cycle services. I’ve been a volunteer since July 2014.
I moved to Ohio back in 2011 after serving 5 years in the Marine Corps. After a few years, it came apparent that I was missing something, so I sought to find work that related to what I did overseas in Civil Affairs. After finding several nonprofit organizations online, I found the Red Cross to be closest to what I had hoped to get out of volunteering. After a review of all the services the Red Cross offers we found that I would be a great fit at the Akron chapter as a DAT member. The experience alone made it easy to volunteer any time I had available. We provided smiles, coffee, snacks and jokes for first responders during long cold Ohio nights and helped provide immediate assistance to clients that lost their homes due to a disaster. I even got to volunteer on a national deployment to Florida and North Carolina, providing safety in shelters and food distribution sites.
The Red Cross offers a continued learning experience through annual mini-institutes and always make sure my volunteer time goes toward what I value. I could not be happier with my decision; I have gained a second family with the staff and volunteers. Now I’m a team leader and proudly serve my community as a Red Cross volunteer as often as I can.
Manuel Andrews is a resident of Akron, and serves residents in the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross, or to begin an application, visit our volunteer page or call 216-431-3328. To help the Red Cross train volunteers and provide them with the resources needed to assist people who experience disasters, big and small, visit our Giving Day page.