The Indiana Region of the American Red Cross would not be able to do what it does for the community without our wonderful volunteers. On this #ThankfulTuesday, we are shining the light on Freida Rutan, who has been a Red Crosser since 1992! Freida is a Disaster Services Regional Recovery Program Lead & Red Cross Care Application Lead.
Freida became a Red Crosser in July of 1992, when she heard about the Red Cross and became involved with the help of a friend from her church, who had been volunteering with the Red Cross two years earlier. When that friend needed a partner to help give assistance to families who had suffered from house fires, Freida stepped up and helped establish the American Red Cross of the Wabash Valley’s Disaster Action Team.
Freida’s first experience helping a family after a house fire solidified her desire to volunteer at the Red Cross. “We gave financial assistance, we listened, we referred them,” Freida said, “but most of all we gave them hope.”
Her favorite aspect of volunteering is helping fellow volunteers as they assist families in need. Freida has been the Indiana Regional Recovery Program Lead for three years, and she covers 104 counties total across Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky. She is also a Red Cross Care Application Lead, and says that these roles help her stay involved with the volunteers.
One of Freida’s most memorable experiences working with the Red Cross came when she was deployed to New York after 9/11. Her outreach team met with a husband and wife that following January; they also partnered with the Red Cross Disaster Mental Health team as they met with clients. These were a few out of many experiences that opened Freida’s eyes to how important it was to give hope to other people.
The Red Cross gave her the chance to be someone that gives others a listening ear and helps them to recover a step at a time. Freida hopes to “get the word out that we need help so we can help even more.” If you are interested in volunteering, sign up today at redcross.org/volunteer.