Note: To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we are featuring profiles of some of the volunteers who help the Red Cross fulfill its mission in Northern Ohio
By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer
For the past five years, the American Red Cross has benefited from Charlie Emick’s extraordinary service—whether nationally, throughout Northern Ohio or in his current home chapter of Heartland, Stark and Muskingum Lakes. He has taken on an impressive number of roles.
Just a few of Charlie’s volunteer roles include supervising disaster response teams and shelters, coordinating for his chapter, performing casework, training and helping develop other volunteers’ leadership skills, reaching out to the community and, especially, assisting those in need.
Charlie is modest about his contributions but his giving nature is immediately apparent. In fact, his response to my request for an interview was wanting to see other volunteers in the spotlight first.
Charlie spoke very highly of his fellow volunteers. They are all part of his family, he said, even more so after the loss of his wife two years ago, and he enjoys working with every one of them. Indeed, he has taken an integral role in helping his volunteer family, including assisting with training. He mentioned that his mom would likely be surprised that he advocates for training, as much as he disliked it in school.
Prior to volunteering with the Red Cross, Charlie worked in the oil industry for 38 years. Since his retirement in 2015, he has continued responding to calls for assistance at any time as a Red Cross volunteer.
When asked why he began volunteering, Charlie mentioned being inspired by the kindness of a stranger. He was stuck in a traffic standstill behind an accident, during a snowstorm, when a woman came out of the blue and let him use her phone. Charlie said he has never forgotten her generosity nor how much an act of kindness can mean. So when retirement felt slow, he reached out to the Red Cross.
“Charlie Emick is an outstanding volunteer,” said Mike Arthur, disaster program manager for the Heartland, Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter. “He helped on most, if not all, of the larger responses across our region last year. He is happy to help anytime he is asked. He will bend over backwards to help our members feel welcome and meet their needs. His leadership and guidance have helped make our chapter as successful as it is.”
Helping those in need is important to Charlie and is his favorite part of being a Red Cross volunteer. Whether responding to a home fire, performing casework or aiding in another capacity, he enjoys helping people work through problems. While the Red Cross is providing assistance while maintaining social distance guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, Charlie looks forward to the time he can again give hugs and shake hands.
Even during this historic, challenging time, the Red Cross continues to respond in times of crisis, thanks to the extraordinarily dedication and compassion of people like Charlie Emick and his volunteer family.
Be like Charlie. Help your community. Become a Red Cross volunteer. You can explore opportunities and more on our website.
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer