National Volunteer week is April 7th – April 13th, which means a lot to us at the American Red Cross because volunteers make up 90 percent of our workforce! Our volunteers are the true muscle behind the Red Cross. With endless compassion and dedication, Red Cross volunteers give us the valuable gift of their time as they help us achieve our mission day in and day out. That is why we wanted to highlight two volunteers from our Eastern Pennsylvania Region every day this Monday through Friday.
When many people think of the Red Cross, they think about the disaster work the organization does. What people don’t realize is that disaster work happens day in and day out because of the pervasiveness of home fires, and it’s thanks to our volunteers that the Red Cross is able to respond to every fire where our assistance is requested. This is the kind of work that volunteer Edgar “Lee” Graef does with vigor, and part of the reason he was nominated for this Volunteers Spotlight by Disaster Program Supervisor Andrea Ritter. Here’s what Andrea had to say about Edgar:
“Lee Graef first walked into the American Red Cross in 2013. He has been working with the American Red Cross for more than six years where he has impacted so many lives. When asked what does volunteering for the American Red Cross mean to him he said, “The opportunity to help others going through a rough time. People who do not know where to turn.”
Graef expressed the importance of people being knowledgeable of what the American Red Cross does. He believes that a lot of people don’t know where to turn, and he wants people to know that we are ready to help in the face of any disaster. Graef originally got involved because of his daughter who is also an American Red Cross volunteer. One day while visiting his daughter at the American Red Cross office Graef was asked if he wanted to volunteer, being a retired veteran, he said yes. Graef gets overall satisfaction from volunteering, he loves being able to help and have people count on him. When asked why might you invite others to volunteer within the American Red Cross Graef Responded “We are needed. We are very short-handed and to get more people involved in our area is important.”
Graef not only responds to every fire in Wayne County where clients are in need of lodging and/or financial assistance, he also responds to any fire fighter canteening service requests, whether it is 65 degrees or 5 degrees outside. Graef is also always willing to help other chapters within the Region as needed such as fire responses in Susquehanna and Wyoming County. Graef is dependable, motivated, and dedicated. He serves the Red Cross mission with compassion always willing and always ready. Thank you, Lee, for all you do!