National Volunteer Week spotlight: Roger Barton of North Central Ohio

By Eilene E. Guy, American Red Cross volunteer

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we are featuring profiles of some of the dedicated volunteers who help the American Red Cross fulfill its mission in Northern Ohio.

Roger Barton fills a pivotal volunteer role with the Red Cross: Leadership.

In his second year as chair of the North Central Ohio Chapter of the Red Cross, Roger is enthusiastic about the nonprofit organization and its many services: blood collection, disaster response, support for the armed forces and emergency preparedness.

But as an executive in private enterprise—he’s general manager of Reineke Ford Lincoln in Findlay—Roger understands that none of those activities would be possible without the financial support of the American people.

“I’ve been active in fundraising,” he said, explaining how he feels he’s making a difference. “It takes money to run an organization.”

“Roger is well known in the community and he knows how to inspire people, to get them enthusiastic about helping others,” said Todd James, executive director of the Red Cross’ North Central Ohio Chapter, who has worked closely with Roger since he joined the chapter board six years ago.

“Not many people appreciate the importance of raising the dollars it takes to pay the people who draw blood or buy the gasoline for disaster vans or provide AED and CPR training equipment.”

Roger had personal experience with the Red Cross long before he stepped into his current role. “I’ve always given blood,” he said, and when he was in the U.S. Navy, he learned that if he or a family member needed emergency messaging, it would go through the Red Cross.

In 2007, the Blanchard River overflowed, flooding Roger’s basement along with scores of other homes in Findlay. “The Red Cross had a pickup truck going through the neighborhood and they were handing out cleanup supplies.

“That really hit home,” he recalled.

Roger is looking forward to the easing of pandemic restrictions, when “normal” activities can resume, including fundraising events that he knows are important to meeting needs that never end.

“The more you get involved, the more you understand how vital the Red Cross is,” he said.

If you’d like to get involved in a vital organization—as a leader, donor, trainer or responder (on-the-ground or virtual)—contact your local Red Cross chapter or visit https://www.redcross.org/volunteer.

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