Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Power of One: Red Cross Volunteer Tom Elliot

As a Red Cross transportation and logistic volunteer, Tom loves:
 takin' care of business and working overtime!
written by Catherine Carlton, volunteer contributor

When we think of powerful people at our chapter, we think of our powerful volunteers. One of our best known powerhouses is Tom Elliott.

Tom has logged so many volunteer hours he has exceeded all of volunteer awards. That's why we recently awarded him the Citation for Exceptional Service to celebrate the more than 9,0000 Red Cross volunteer hours he has worked.

When I called Tom to interview him about his involvement with the Red Cross I explained that I was not on site and that I was "just a volunteer."

Tom quickly responded: "There's no such thing as just a volunteer."

And while interviewing Tom, I quickly learned he is not just any volunteer himself.

"I do everything," he summarized.

A retired sergeant from the Dallas Police Department, Tom learned quickly after his departure that he "can't play golf or go fishing every day."

He heard a radio ad calling for volunteers around the time that Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast.

"I was on the back porch reading a book," he said. "And said I can do that."

Soon after he was working in our warehouse and helping operate the Red Cross shelters, loading our Emergency Response Vehicles and delivering supplies.

Using his police experience, Tom quickly became engaged in the Life Safety Awareness Training (LSAT) team work. Soon he was deployed to Galveston for 21 days. Since then he has been deployed to help with other major disasters: to Tennessee in May 2010 to help with flooding, to Mississippi in May 2011 following the tornados and to East Texas in September 2011 for the wildfires.

For those disasters, Tom was running Red Cross relief logistics, shelters and kitchens.

Currently his primary title is regional disaster fleet transportation manager. He is responsible for 67 vehicles and 36 trucks in our 11 county regions. Tom is working on getting disaster plates for all the vehicles.

"The Red Cross is not relaxation, but it's satisfaction that you're out helping people," Tom said. “I don't have much free time anymore. I'm pretty much full time."

“I don't do this for the award," he said. "I've got things to do."

And we thank you, Tom, for ALL that you do, proving to us all that at the Red Cross just one person can get an awful lot accomplished when they have your dedication and stamina!

To learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, visit us at redcrossdallas.org.

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