By Eilene E. Guy, American Red Cross Volunteer
Jim Wilkins has responsibilities 24/7 as senior vice president for health, environment, safety and security at Marathon Petroleum headquarters in Findlay.
So how can he — why does he — carve out time to volunteer for the American Red Cross?
“When (Marathon has) an incident or experiences a natural disaster, my team provides critical assets, expertise and personnel during our response, which can include supporting our employees and their families with food, housing, supplies and fuel,” Jim said. “Some of my most rewarding experiences with the company have been on scene, supporting recovery after (hurricanes) Katrina and Ian.”
He’s seen first-hand what Red Cross does in the wake of disasters, whether natural or human-related. Volunteers rally to provide shelter, food, financial assistance for immediate needs, and health and mental health support.
“Our company has had a close relationship with the Red Cross,” Jim said. “We donate money to the Red Cross. . . . We see the results of what they do.”
Jim volunteers as co-chair of Marathon’s veterans’ network, where he learned how Red Crossers can serve the U.S. military, active and retired, and their families. And, of course, “I always thought of Red Cross as blood.”
During the upswing of the COVID pandemic, he agreed to join the volunteer ranks of the North Central Ohio chapter.
“Jim is a vital member of our board of directors, offering his leadership, guidance and experience to help our team deliver the Red Cross mission,” said the chapter’s executive director Todd James.
“Along with his personal passion for our work, Jim has also helped build on our strong partnership with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, creating even more opportunities for our teams to work together to serve those who need Red Cross services.”
Jim takes any opportunity he can to “tout all the great services offered by Red Cross” But he often finds it’s not necessary “since Red Cross is like Coke: Everybody recognizes the brand. It sells itself.”
The rewards of volunteering have certainly sold themselves to Jim. He’s currently the board vice president and head of the philanthropy committee.
“Our chapter is fortunate to have Jim on our leadership team and we truly appreciate his service,” Todd said.
During National Volunteer Week, the Red Cross salutes its more than 275,000 volunteers who respond to disasters, support our armed forces, teach health, safety and disaster preparedness classes, augment the blood collection staff, and educate youth and adults about International Humanitarian Law.
To explore the many flexible volunteer opportunities Red Cross has to offer, visit redcross.org/volunteer.
Edited by Glenda Bogar, Red Cross volunteer
Posted by Ryan Lang, Red Cross board member and volunteer