Rewarding Experiences With the American Red Cross

AAA Northeast employees volunteer for disaster-relief efforts and life-saving events.

Darlene Ford is a longtime volunteer for the American Red Cross, while Brian Butterworth got involved just last year.

But both AAA Northeast employees are deeply invested in the Red Cross mission.

Ford, district branch manager in Tewksbury, Mass., had been a volunteer at Red Cross blood drives for years when, in 2018, she was called into further action during a disaster in Lawrence, Mass.

“Lawrence was hit with a horrible gas explosion that rocked the city. Within an hour, we had a AAA team on our way to Lawrence to help,” Ford said. “Employees from all over participated, and we were able to reach victims of the explosions and help them connect to needed services within the recovery center.”

Since then, Ford has volunteered for more Red Cross disaster efforts in her area. She’s working on more ways to lend support, including helping displaced people get replacement driver’s licenses through AAA and recruiting additional volunteers.

Soon, she and Alison Demokritou, district branch manager in Newburyport, Mass., will become certified trainers for the organization’s Be Red Cross Ready program, so they can teach AAA employees and the community how to react in a disaster.

Fire Safety

Brian Butterworth, manager of operations support for AAA Driving School in Providence, has been a Red Cross volunteer since last December. And he’s already certified for various roles, including the Rhode Island chapter’s Disaster Action Team, where he helps local families cope with emergencies like home fires. In these few months, he has responded to seven house fires to assist dozens of families.

“A home fire can be an extremely stressful, overwhelming event,” he said. “Being able to provide immediate assistance and guidance to those impacted by a fire or other disaster has been very rewarding.”

He has also participated in Red Cross fire prevention outreach programs, installing smoke detectors in homes, including bed-shaker alarms for people who are hard of hearing. He encourages others to take part in the organization’s “Sound the Alarm. Save a Life” event, where help is always needed.

Since launching the home fire campaign in 2014, the Red Cross has saved at least 1,243 lives, installed over 2.3 million smoke alarms, made 975,500 households safer and reached 1.7 million youth through youth education programs nationwide, Butterworth said.

Garden City, N.Y., area employees delivered cards and artwork by Dan Arcoleo to Grand Healthcare System, Flushing, N.Y.

Sending Warm Regards

For the second year in a row, employees around the club responded wholeheartedly to create and deliver greeting cards to local nursing homes, community centers, shelters, veteran homes and hospitals.

More than 150 employees handcrafted thousands of cards for the Send Warm Regards With Greeting Cards activity held throughout February.

For more information on our volunteer and charitable work, visit AAA in the Community.

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