April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. In celebration of our wonderful and generous volunteers, we’ll be featuring a cross-section of the hundreds of volunteers who contribute time to the SW Washington American Red Cross.
Red Cross: Jan, what made you decide to volunteer with Red Cross? Had you looked at volunteering with other agencies, and if so, what made you decide on the Red Cross?
Jan: I had looked at other organizations and got applications from them, but I always kept coming back to volunteering at Red Cross. It is a world-wide organization and respected by all for what they do. I had always given blood and decided that was where my heart to serve was, so I filled out out the application and my journey with the Red Cross began.
Red Cross: What has been your biggest challenge in working with the Red Cross, and what within your volunteer work with the Red Cross gives you the greatest satisfaction?
Jan: My biggest challenge in working with the Red Cross, has been to hold myself back from over-volunteering, and leaving space open for others to volunteer and experience the joy of serving others.
I enjoy interacting with donors who come in to donate their blood at the Vancouver Fixed Site - to encourage them, have a ready smile, to try and answer any questions they might have, and to thank them for donating their life-saving blood. Working at the Red Cross gives me a sense of self-worth and makes me happy to give back to the community by volunteering my time with this great organization.
Red Cross: Do you have a favorite Red Cross story to share?
Jan: I have many wonderful things I could share that would fill a book. But I want to share that the staff and other volunteers at the Fixed Site have become very dear to me.
In January 2010, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and the fight-for-my-life was on, I was afraid that I would have to give up volunteering.
The other volunteers, volunteer coordinators, and the Red Cross staff came to my rescue by keeping me on as a volunteer.
Through the next year and a half of chemo, surgery and radiation, I was able to continue to volunteer my double shifts on Monday and Wednesday. The Fixed Site has become my home away from home, and the staff and volunteers have become like a second family.
Thank you to the Red Cross for the great opportunity.
And our thanks to you, Jan, for your dedication and service to the SW Washington American Red Cross. It’s volunteers like you who make the American Red Cross a wonderful organization!
SW Washington Red Cross Media Team
Filed under: Volunteer Appreciation Month Tagged: | American Red Cross, Blood donation, Clark County Blood Donor Center, Jan Riske, Red Cross, Red Cross Blood Donor Center, SW Washington Red Cross, Volunteer, Volunteer Appreciation Month