The American Red Cross works hand in hand with EMS professionals, and what better way to celebrate National EMS Week than to highlight two EMS workers that also serve as Red Cross volunteers. Both Teresa Kiech and Suneeta Kercood serve their communities through not only their roles as Emergency Medical Services professionals but as Red Cross Health Services team members as well.
Teresa Kiech is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for Scott County EMS and the emergency room at the University of Louisville Hospital. She has also been a Red Cross Southeast Indiana Chapter volunteer since 2022. Teresa serves on the Disaster Health Services, Mass Casualty, Disaster Action, and Mass Care Teams. After a tornado hit the Martinsville community on March 31st, Teresa worked overnight shifts at a Red Cross shelter, offering a place to stay for those displaced.
Teresa told us that the majority of her time with the Red Cross is spent with the Disaster Health Services team. Teresa manages weekly cases in her chapter. Most recently, she deployed virtually to assist residents who were impacted by a large multi-family fire in Indianapolis. When asked for a memorable moment in her Red Cross career, the first thing that came to mind for Teresa was working with the DHS team in Bloomington during a fire that impacted many Indiana University students.
“I was very blessed to meet one of our clients that day who didn’t have a DHS need but had many others. He was a grad student who had lost everything in the fire and had no family locally. I have had the pleasure of staying in touch with him for the past few weeks and seeing him thrive in the hardest of situations has been truly rewarding,” mentioned Kiech.
Suneeta Kercood is a professor of special education at Butler University and is a Paramedic for IU Lifeline. She has been volunteering with the Red Cross since 2009 as a member of the Health Services team.
Suneeta has been deployed both locally and nationally to assist with disaster relief efforts and even met her future partner while on a deployment in Montana. Suneeta is currently creating training for disaster personnel who are working with individuals with special needs. The training is designed to teach workers how to effectively assist these individuals with their medical and health service needs during disasters.
“I decided to volunteer to be able to use my skills when I became a new EMT and selected Red Cross in honor of my late grandmother. I was born into a Red Cross household. I was raised by my grandmother in my early years and lived with her in the center where she ran women’s and children’s nutrition programs for Red Cross in northern India and conducted numerous Red Cross outreach activities supporting rural communities there,” said Kercood.
The Red Cross is very fortunate to have so many amazing volunteers like Teresa and Suneeta to help carry out its humanitarian mission. If you would like to join our volunteer team, visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more about open volunteer positions in your area.
Written by Regional Communications Manager, Matthew Kline.