Written by: Clarice Nassif Ransom, Communications Volunteer
Years of volunteer service: 3
Profession: Dog Trainer
Resides: Sterling, Virginia
Meet Christine Weber, volunteer for the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) for the past three years. As a volunteer, Christine helps people recover from disasters like home fires and makes sure they are cared for in their time of deepest despair.
“I love helping people, it’s in my nature.”
For example, Christine will go onsite to where a home fire occurred, day or night, and help identify alternative shelter, food, supplies, and financial assistance for impacted individuals and families.
One such house fire occurred very early on Christmas morning in 2019. Christine said the house fire impacted five family members and a dog and was particularly hard on the family because it was the holidays, and they were displaced from their home. Christine said she was proud to have helped the family through this hardship by ensuring they had alternative shelter and food.
Many times, Christine works side-by-side with her father, Mike Weber, who is also a volunteer for the American Red Cross and the inspiration for Christine to become a volunteer. This father-daughter team has also helped the American Red Cross provide assistance at state funerals at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., for the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush and the late Reverend Billy Graham, according to Christine.
“We helped support the crowds of people who came to pay respects to the late President George H.W. Bush and the late Reverend Billy Graham,” said Christine. “It was both sad and awe-inspiring at the same time because of the significance of these two individuals.”
Christine and Mike also have worked as American Red Cross volunteers at the Marine Corps Marathon, helping to aide runners along the way by providing beverages and other supplies. Additionally, they have conducted a number of American Red Cross Pillowcase project presentations in local grade schools. According to Christine, these presentations teach children the importance of being prepared to respond to disasters by having a pillowcase ready to go with supplies such as food, water, flashlight, and medicine. Christine also said another very important preparedness tool for families is to have an established place for the family to meet (like a neighbor’s tree) once they leave their home in an emergency such as a fire in the middle of the night.
Additionally, Christine is the American Red Cross volunteer who issues mission cards for the Loudoun and Prince William Counties Chapter in Northern Virginia to volunteers who are deploying. A mission card is like a pre-funded debit card issued to deployed volunteers, which the volunteers use to pay for expenses while they are deployed and responding to disasters, said Christine.
Christine described a recent situation where she called one volunteer to arrange a meeting time and place to issue a mission card. Christine said she realized over the phone that the volunteer was having a medical situation, and she informed others in American Red Cross leadership, who then contacted the volunteer’s family member. Christine said the family member went to the volunteer’s house to check on the volunteer.
“The volunteer was indeed having a serious medical situation and ended up in the hospital for several days,” said Christine, who said she felt good about helping out another person.
“I think it is important to be a volunteer so you can help people,” said Christine.
“I know everyone has busy lives, but you can always find time to help somebody"
"You feel better about life by volunteering because you know you helped someone else out. I know I would want someone to help me out if I experienced a disaster, the way I help out others through volunteering for the American Red Cross.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Volunteer for the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team
Most of the 60,000 emergencies that the Red Cross responds to each year are local, personal disasters, like home fires. Trained and available, Disaster Action Team volunteers are ready to respond to these emergencies, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. From offering a shoulder to cry on, to meeting any immediate needs for sheltering or supplies, to connecting people with long term recovery services, Red Cross volunteers ensure that families don’t have to face tough times alone. Join the Red Cross to answer the call when your neighbor needs help.
For more information and to join us, visit: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/disaster-action-team.html