Patti Shiflet standing on the far right with fellow Red Cross volunteers.
By Abby Oldemeyer, Public Affairs Volunteer
When Patti Shiflet started talking to an American Red Cross Volunteer at her community center during a personal preparedness meeting, her first thought was to ask how she could get involved. When I asked what motivated her to join, she responded that it was an easy decision because, “I’ve just always been a volunteer.” In other words, helping others always just made sense.
With a lifetime of volunteering under her belt, Patti joined the American Red Cross in 2012. Over the last nine years, she has served in several different capacities. Some of her more recent roles include a Disaster Action Team Coordinator, a Primary Duty Officer, and a volunteer with Service to the Armed Forces.
A typical day for Patti could involve anything from building schedules or preparing for monthly Disaster Action Team meetings to responding to a call. Usually these calls are level-one incidents such as a house fire. For people in situations like these, the American Red Cross is there to provide comfort kits, blankets, and occasionally emergency financial assistance. Depending on the events calendar, she will also attend outreach events that support veterans, active duty military and their families through the Service to the Armed Forces team.
With almost ten years of experience with the American Red Cross, Patti has built meaningful friendships and responded to quite a few disasters. Although Patti is often prevented from being deployed to immediate disaster areas because of her asthma, that hasn’t stopped her drive to help others. She has responded virtually to the 2020 Creek Fire as well as various hurricanes in Louisiana. Additionally, Patti has done local shelter work in Santa Maria and in Santa Barbara during the Thomas fire and mudslides.
Patti considers her time at the American Red Cross to be very rewarding. One of her favorite parts of the job is being able to watch new volunteers finish their training and go out for their first Disaster Action Team call. She describes this feeling as, “like seeing your kid graduate from high school.”