by Stan Roberts
Last fall’s local ARCRA lunch meeting featured an oral presentation by members of the local Red Cross Unit's Volunteer Coordinators. In my case, I worked for 31 years in the Biomedical Services area and still had a heart for the mission and people touched by those activities. While I did not want to return to work with all the responsibilities, I felt I needed to contribute to the success of the Red Cross in a different way— volunteering as a Blood Ambassador.
A Blood Ambassador greets and registers donors at the blood drive, describes the process of becoming a donor, and the opportunity to provide life-saving donations. I also meet the same donors post-donation in the refreshment area. In addition to offers a drink and a snack, I ask how they feel and when they respond with a pale look I summon the staff to evaluate the donor. Finally I thank each donor for coming to the drive and invite them to return again. I found great satisfaction in meeting and greeting the donors. I really enjoy meeting so many new people. Lest I forget, I get to meet the Red Cross staff. They could not be more friendly and supportive of my volunteer work. They are especially appreciative of my helping them so they can focus on the professional and regulatory aspects of the donation process. I also see my volunteer work as strengthening the entire Red Cross, which is led by volunteers.
Soon after I started to volunteer at blood drives my wife had a medical emergency— in the emergency room we learned she had lost a significant amount of blood and needed a transfusion immediately. I asked the doctor if the blood bank had my wife’s type. In this modern age, she took out her cell phone and called the blood bank. Their response was they had enough on hand supplied by the Red Cross. We were relieved to hear she could get her life-saving transfusion immediately. She is now fully recovered.
I felt like in some small way I contributed to mission of the Red Cross to save lives and doubly so with my being a Blood Ambassador. Even though I retired, I was still contributing to relieve human suffering. Would you consider joining with the Red Cross as a “life saving” volunteer? The opportunities to serve are limitless. Contact your local ARC Unit to learn more.
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