By: Kathy Huston
It’s Black History Month and we wanted to celebrate an honored member, and leader within our Eastern Pennsylvania Region, Gregory L. Smith.
Smith has a long history of dedication to the American Red Cross, which started in 1992 as a volunteer. Since then, Smith has worked his way to his current role as Regional Disaster Program Officer for the Eastern PA Region, headquartered in Philadelphia.
“In this role, I am the lead employee responsible for preparedness, readiness, response and recovery activities for the 17 counties that comprise the region’s territory,” Smith said.
Smith has held a number of titles during his years of service, including Disaster Cycle Service supervisor, manager and director in Northern California, Columbus, OH and Philadelphia, PA, and at the national headquarters, where he also served as the VP of Volunteers, Youth and Nursing Programs from 2000 through 2002.
Over the past two decades, Smith has seen his fair share of major disasters. His wealth of information and knowledge come, in part, from deployments to support 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, OK and Joplin, MO. He was also on the scene for the relief efforts that followed 9/11 in New York City.
During the month of February, when we reflect on the contributions of African Americans and the cultural richness and diversity of our country, Smith explains why honoring diversity and inclusiveness ultimately helps the organization succeed in following through on its mission.
“Diversity is vital for the American Red Cross, because we must reflect the diverse communities we serve, whether translating the care and concerns of our donors into actions, or engaging volunteers in the delivery of our services,” he said.
In talking to him, it’s clear that Smith is motivated by the impacts he has made, and continues to make, on individuals, families and communities, as they prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and emergencies.
“My greatest motivation is that I can engage and support community volunteers in these efforts,” he notes.
For Smith, black history is a year-round celebration, as is his determination to carry out his unwavering service to the American Red Cross.
“I do my best every single day to demonstrate that you can look like me and not only deliver the Red Cross mission, but be a leader in the movement as well,” he said.
Smith’s dedication and commitment to making a positive impact on the communities he serves is certainly an example we can all look up to.