By: Kathy Huston and Sophie Kluthe
Today marks the last day of work for a man who has dedicated more than a quarter century to the American Red Cross, often moving around at great personal sacrifice to carry out the organization’s mission. The American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania would like to offer a collective ‘thank you’ to Gregory L. Smith, for taking us on as the final leg of your Red Cross career!
Smith’s Red Cross journey actually began as a volunteer, which is telling of his devotion to service and community. It was during that time in the early 1990s that Smith got hooked and joined the team as a paid employee. Smith has held a number of titles during his years of service, including Disaster Cycle Service supervisor, manager and director in Northern California, Columbus, Ohio, Philadelphia, and at the national headquarters, where he also served as the VP of Volunteers, Youth and Nursing Programs.
Smith has seen his fair share of major disasters over the decades, too. From deployments to major disaster relief operations across the country, including the North Ridge earthquake, hurricanes Fran, Ike, Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Matthew and Florence, and tornados in Moore, Oklahoma and Joplin, Missouri, to being on the scene for the relief efforts that followed the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
Ending up as the Regional Disaster Program Officer for the Eastern Pennsylvania Region, Smith served as the lead employee for preparedness, readiness, response and recovery for all 17 counties. He’s ending his tenure as a well-respected leader, as is evidenced by what those closest to him have to say.
“The impact Gregory had on the EPA Disaster Cycle Services team goes far beyond his leadership in pulling together a fractured team in FY18 and setting us on the path that resulted in our amazing success in terms of numeric goals in FY19. His willingness to share his experience, to mentor each and every member of the team, to provide development opportunities whenever possible, and his daily reminders to live the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross will be his true legacy in Eastern Pennsylvania. We are all the richer for having known and learned from him and we will miss him. On a personal note, it was an honor and a privilege to serve as his Number One,” said Senior Disaster Program Manager, and Smith’s right-hand man, Mike Kiley-Zufelt.
When asked on how he was reflecting on his years served, Smith summed it up like this, “I really just want to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to serve and support the Red Cross humanitarian mission for these past 27 years.”
Hopefully after he moves across the country and has some down time he’ll go back to his roots. Because you know, 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce is made up of volunteers!
Gregory, the entire Eastern PA team is wishing you the best of luck in retirement!