By Lucca Lorenzi, Red Cross Volunteer, Cover Photo by Mimi Teller
As a transportation logistics volunteer, Chris Murphy has been ‘behind the wheel’ at several disasters to help ensure safety for nearly two decades.
In 2004, Murphy and his wife discovered the Red Cross at an Escapees RV Club event and were introduced to the Disaster Operations Volunteer Escapee team (DOVE). DOVE is a unique partnership with the Red Cross and is composed of “trained volunteers to assist with all disasters (big and small) that the American Red Cross responds to, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.”
In April 2005, Murphy began training to operate emergency response communication vehicles (ERCVs). The vehicle was equipped with, “Half a dozen radios and a satellite system that would allow for setting up mobile internet sites,” he stated.
Murphy immediately found himself calling upon his newfound training when, later that year, he was deployed to help with disaster response for both Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
In 2018, Murphy volunteered with transportation for disaster response to Hurricane Florence, and discovered his passion in transportation logistics.
“When I was sent out to respond in Florence, I was sent as a forklift driver. However, I ended up helping with transportation instead, and I just fell in love with it!”
Murphy stated that the position requires computer skills, such as detailed data entry. One of Murphy’s responsibilities is to maintain daily reports that track every expense regarding transportation. He also said that he ensures that volunteers have means of transportation to get them to where they need to be when they are being deployed.
Murphy said that his newfound position was a natural fit with his previous experience. “I used to work for the state of California with CalTrans in the computer department, so hearing about the Red Cross’ need for volunteers with computer experience really resonated with me!”
In December, 2021, Murphy served as the Transportation Manager in Kentucky following a tornado outbreak. Murphy volunteered for a month, spending his holidays away from home to help others in need.
“The volunteers had a Christmas dinner while we were there and that was great. I had a similar experience when I was deployed in Washington for the floods that occurred around Thanksgiving. It’s times like that where you realize the Red Cross is a family.”
In addition to Murphy’s deployment work, he also volunteers as the Pacific Division Transportation Lead. His position includes coordinating availability for volunteering response when a disaster occurs.
Murphy’s dedication to service has earned him several recognitions, including the Deployment Award for the Red Cross Central Valley Chapter’s Recognition Event. He has also earned the Gold Pin for serving over 500 hours in 2020 and a Lifetime Pin for having completed over 4,000 hours of volunteer service.
“When I hear about these awards, I cannot help but think they’ve got the wrong guy. I guess I just take it one hour at a time. It’s kind of amazing how quickly it adds up.”