The Indiana Region of the American Red Cross would not be able to do what it does for the community without our wonderful volunteers. That is why we decided to launch a new initiative in 2022. Every Tuesday, we will shine the light on a wonderful volunteer. On this Thankful Tuesday, we recognize Brad Gervais who currently serves for the Services of Armed Forces as a Family Follow Up Case Worker. We asked him a few questions to help share his Red Cross story.
When did you become a volunteer with the Red Cross?
In 2010, I was a member of the White County Local Emergency Planning Committee. The White County Red Cross was represented by Judy Hickman. We often talked about the Red Cross in White County and its response to hazmat problems. I told her I have a history of many interactions with the Red Cross. In the 1980’s I was a volunteer fireman in Burnham Illinois and saw the support they provided to disasters, both the victims and the responders. I served in the Illinois National Guard for 23 years and was mobilized a number of times for state emergencies as well as mobilization for Desert Storm. I saw the great support they provided to these mobilizations. Judy got me thinking about joining the Red Cross as a DAT volunteer. I joined the Red Cross April 1, 2010. In 2017, I was asked if I would be interested in volunteering for Service to the Armed Forces as a Family Follow Up Case Worker.
Why did I become a Red Crosser?
All the credit goes to Judy Hickman and her focus on me joining the Red Cross. She kept me thinking about my previous experience with the Red Cross as a volunteer firefighter and the work I saw the Red Cross perform in a combat zone. As a Battalion Commander, I reviewed a number of emergency messages that passed through my headquarters. I was impressed by the speed the messages were processed and delivered to the command. Now, years later and retired, the Red Cross gave me the opportunity to continue to serve and support the military. I now do Family Follow Up and Critical Community Care cases.
How has your experience impacted you and others?
Critical Community Care cases have the most impact. These cases include Active Duty, National Guard/Reserves, Military Retirees, and Veterans. Problems include but are not limited to financial, homelessness, employment problems. It is a great feeling when a homeless veteran finds a place to live using the resources the Red Cross provides. Family Follow Up calls allow the Red Cross to ensure the Service Member or Veteran received the needed support and that additional Red Cross services are not needed.
The Red Cross has provided me with a sense of purpose and accomplishment in my retirement years. I am glad that I became a volunteer with the Red Cross.
Are you interested in assisting veterans that need help in your community? If you answered yes, we need you! Click here to learn more about how you can join the Services to Armed Forces team near you.