Why I Volunteer: Meet Ken Jonah

By Lucca Lorenzi, Public Affairs Volunteer

Ken Jonah became a member of the Red Cross in March of 2021, but he has been an active volunteer in his communities for over a decade. 

In 2010, Jonah began volunteering with his local sheriff’s department which led him to eventually become a police commissioner in Danville. Through this experience, Jonah learned about another opportunity with the highway patrol and joined as a volunteer presenter who spoke to senior facilities about safe driving.

Jonah then moved to Fresno and joined a volunteer program that partnered with the Fresno Police Department called Citizens on Patrol. During his time as a volunteer, Jonah initiated a series of presentations that helped educate senior citizens about scams. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shut down the volunteer services at the Fresno Police Department, “I was left sitting on the couch with nothing to do,” said Jonah. When he received an email from Red Cross about volunteer recruitment, Jonah lept at the opportunity, contacted his chapter and began training.

“It’s been a great experience. The people I work with are fantastic, and I could not have asked to work in a better environment. Everyone is always open to and exchanging new ideas,” stated Jonah.

Serving as a Regional Adult Presentation Trainer, Jonah utilizes his background in presenting and public speaking to train other volunteers. “Majority of people have a fear of public speaking. I recognized that I could help meet this need by teaching others how to overcome this fear and improve their presentation skills,” said Jonah. 

Ken Jonah and other Red Cross volunteers trained the Buchanan High School Red Cross Club to teach Hands On CPR to their peers in May 2022.

Additionally, Jonah assists Red Cross operations as the Regional Facilities Emergency Coordinator. Leading other volunteers, they work to ensure Red Cross offices comply with safety standards, such as knowing how to use a fire extinguisher and instructing CPR training. Jonah also supports volunteers in teaching CPR courses to high school students. The program is designed to teach a cohort of students CPR training and task them to present and train their classmates in a facilitated CPR training session. “Not only does the program teach CPR, but it also reinforces students’ public speaking experience,” said Jonah. “It’s wonderful to know that everything I do is a benefit to somebody. That’s what the Red Cross is about.”

This year, Jonah received the Disaster Preparedness Award for the Central Valley Red Cross Chapter. Jonah stated, “It was such a surprise and something I am proud to look at every day.”

“The Red Cross has been the most rewarding experience I have ever had. It is always so wonderful to see the positive impacts of your contributions.”

Ken Jonah

Your time and talent can make a big difference in people’s lives. Learn how you can become a volunteer by going to redcross.org/volunteer today!

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