By Lucca Lorenzi, Communications Volunteer
In January of 2019, Christine Wilson joined the American Red Cross after retiring from her career in local government. Wilson knew she had wanted to join the Red Cross after her sister suffered a home fire. When she went to help her sister, Wilson was met with two Disaster Action Team (DAT) members who provided immediate relief for her sister.
“They made it so much easier for me to help my sister. After that, I thought, ‘I want to do this.’ It felt like a calling.” Wilson stated.
Using her skills from her previous career in human resources, Wilson began as a volunteer screener. After only two weeks, Wilson found herself assisting DAT workers with Spanish-speaking clients as a translator.
“I was glad to help. I am super passionate about speaking Spanish and serving the clients who experience that language barrier,” Wilson said. “I was hooked after that!”
Wilson became a DAT volunteer soon after this experience. In addition, Wilson also helps with Sound the Alarm (smoke alarm installations), screening new volunteers who are joining the organization and helps organize annual volunteer recognition award events.
In a 2022 Bakersfield Sound the Alarm event, Wilson recalled assisting a client who had a child recently participate in the Red Cross’s pillowcase project. The pillowcase project works to educate children for family and disaster preparedness skills.
“This was an affirmation for me about how effectively the Red Cross’s initiatives all work together,” Wilson said.
Later that evening, Wilson received a call regarding a home fire. She stated that the home was a documented “Home Made Safer” from that day’s fire alarm installations.
“It was amazing to realize the fire alarms installed that morning were already saving lives.”
Wilson currently lives part of the year in Texas, helping multiple Red Cross regions. She currently serves as a virtual volunteer screener and assists with the Volunteer Recognition event for the Red Cross Central California Region, and assists as a DAT volunteer and installs smoke alarms in the Red Cross North Texas Region.
Wilson deployed to Florida in response to Hurricane Ian pre-landfall. “It was really unnerving because I had not experienced a hurricane before.”
Wilson assisted at evacuation centers and shelters throughout her deployment. “You realize that some clients just needed someone to talk to,” Wilson said. “That’s the drive, being someone who can give hope.”
Throughout her years of volunteering, Wilson discovered the Red Cross’s impact reaches far beyond one’s local community.
“They have such an incredible impact,” she stated. Wilson has also enjoyed the friendships she has forged through volunteer services and deployments.
“Overall, it’s a privilege to help people. It feels incredible to make a difference in someone’s life.”