The Impact of a Red Cross Volunteer

Robert Fitzgerald, or better known as Bert, has been one of our most outstanding volunteers. Bert has a master’s degree in Psychology and worked for nearly 30 years at Jefferson County’s Madison State Hospital as a social worker. Bert’s background in health care and mental health has proved invaluable in his many Red Cross volunteer positions.

Bert at a New Orleans Disaster Response Operation

Bert first became involved with the Red Cross in 2012 after the Henryville Tornado struck Southwest Indiana. Bert began volunteering as a part of our Red Cross Disaster Services and through his consistent training and dedication to his role deployed as part of the response to the Moore, Oklahoma tornado operation. After that spell, Bert began regularly volunteering as a part of his local Disaster Action Team (DAT), taking on-call shifts to help his community for when disasters strike.

Red Cross DAT virtually responds to disasters, to ensure no one face’s life’s emergencies alone. Volunteers provide emotional support, emergency financial assistance, and recovery assistance to clients and families to help them through next steps. With Bert’s background in mental health he also specializes in assisting disaster victims with their mental health. Bert has a long history of assisting people in this way and is more than happy to continue to do so as a part of the American Red Cross.

Bert also volunteers in other service lines of the Red Cross. He volunteers for the Service to the Armed Forces department and was the Red Cross representative for the Veteran’s Council of Jefferson County, Indiana. As of late he also volunteers with our Blood Services as a Donor Ambassador. COVID-19 safety protocols are in place at all Red Cross blood drives, where donors have their temperatures taken as they check in, and areas are sanitized consistently. Due to the pandemic, blood drives have a high need for volunteers to support the collections staff. As Donor Ambassadors, volunteers navigate donor
check ins and overall supporting donors by fostering a warm and welcoming environment.

Bert has been able to seamlessly adjust to the COVID-19 blood drive protocols. While he does not personally draw blood, his role as a Donor Ambassador is incredibly important as he makes sure every person who comes by to donate blood is appreciated and feels welcome, even if they could not donate blood.

“If we have to turn anybody away, I wanted to make sure they felt good about the Red Cross. I want [them] to come back. I want [them] to be a part of this,” said Bert.

Bert has stepped up to make sure blood drives are continuously supported. Bert’s assistance has been invaluable to the Indiana Red Cross.

“I’ve picked up the baton, and started to do more blood drives.”

His continued service to the Red Cross has proved invaluable, and we couldn’t be more appreciative. Thank you, Bert, for supporting the Red Cross mission!

Learn how you too can volunteer at redcross.org/volunteer.

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