A central Ohio woman is the sole recipient of a prestigious national award, presented annually by the American Red Cross.
On April 15, Cindy J. King was scheduled to accept the Presidential Award for Excellence in Humanitarian Services for her 32 years of volunteering with the Red Cross. However, the annual National Awards and Recognition Dinner in Washington, DC was canceled because of COVID-19.
“I understand but am disappointed that I didn’t get to see the cherry blossoms,” King said about the cancellation.
The 67-year-old started volunteering with the Red Cross in 1988 because she missed teaching. Her first assignment was on the First Aid Services Team (FAST), next came the Disaster Action Team (DAT), and currently serves as a Volunteer Services Screening Lead.
“I had a friend who was involved and told me about it,” King said. “I thought, ‘where can I go to teach?’”
Training volunteers across Ohio on new technology is part of what garnered King her humanitarian award. “It was really an accumulation of my volunteer work,” the award winner said. “Recently, I got them set up with RC View. It was a total mindset change for them.”
RC View is a situational awareness tool that is used for many things, one of which is managing calls for assistance and dispatches to the Disaster Action Teams (DAT).
“Cindy was a key component in helping to introduce RC View DAT Dispatch to our DAT workforce regionwide and continues to answer questions daily about RC View and the DAT Dispatch system,” Emily Aloto, Senior Disaster Program Manager, wrote in her nomination form for King. “Regardless of the hour, Cindy is the person everyone calls when they are having a problem with RC View or need advice on a tricky DAT situation.”
King praised her fellow volunteers for their willingness to adapt to new technology and to help people suffering through a disaster. “Working with those volunteers, they are fantastic,” she said. “The dedication of everyone is amazing. The work is certainly not for the lighthearted.”
King’s other specialty, financial management, has proved invaluable to the Red Cross. “She has a really amazing skill set with finance. She’s worked with financial analysis and case sampling and become a known leader across the nation,” Aloto said. “She often gets a by-name request [from the national Red Cross].”
King moved to Columbus from Buffalo, New York, to take a position with the Defense Supply Center Columbus where she worked for 28 years.
King’s now the Volunteer Services Screening Lead, a position that allows her to share her love of volunteering with others. “I keep moving up and learning so much,” she said. “I’m working now to get the new volunteers into the right positions.”
King is responsible for conducting preliminary screenings of volunteers, helping organize teams and scheduling trainings. She said there’s been an influx of new volunteers who are taking an interest in areas of high need.
After more than three decades, King remains as committed as ever to volunteering. “It’s getting to do something you love and that is positive,” she said. “To me, it’s the people in the Red Cross that I like and keep me coming back.” ~Jessica J. Burchard –Red Cross volunteer
If you would like to learn more about volunteering with the American Red Cross, please visit us at www.redcross.org/volunteer