the local chapter.
"There was a volunteer [at the blood drive] and I asked the guy if
the chapter needs volunteers," Douglas said. "I went to talk to the
volunteer director and that was it. I never looked back and it's been
The 66-year-old began volunteering nearly five years ago after
taking an early retirement from the banking industry. The Red Cross'
disaster services volunteer team sparked her interest.
"I am in charge of recruiting volunteers for disaster services,"
she said. "We have disaster action teams -- four teams each comprised
of five members. They are assigned to be on call for an event. I'm
trying to get new volunteers to be trainees for the teams."
But being a volunteer recruiter isn't easy especially when she is
faced with the challenge of attracting volunteers in the first place,
So she wants to try to recruit and retain more volunteers using a
"We kind of let volunteers come to us," Douglas said. "I'm trying
to work on a way to change that. I want to target volunteers, in
other words, go out and seek people."
The Glendale-Crescenta Valley Chapter of the Red Cross currently
has five employees and about 150 volunteers.
"I want to develop a rapport and relationship with organizations
that specialize in real estate," said Douglas. "One of the things
Realtors know is the construction of a house or a neighborhood.
Volunteers need to go out and make damage assessments if we have a
big disaster like an earthquake. So people in real estate business
could tell quickly without any training how much damage there is."
Douglas' plan also involves targeting retired firefighters, police
officers and nurses for the development of the volunteer base.
"She is now working in some specialty areas and helping to promote
more of the disaster workers," said chapter executive officer Ron
Farina. "Val has a deep appreciation of the people who make up the
organization and respects and values everyone. She has been an
advocate to volunteers."
In addition to her responsibilities as a volunteer recruiter,
Douglas is also a duty officer. She is in charge of receiving calls
from emergency personnel who require the assistance of the Red Cross
volunteers during an emergency or disaster situation.
As a duty officer, Douglas is on-call for service during the
evenings and weekends.
"My heart and attention is focused on the volunteers because they
are the life blood of this organization," Douglas said. "And if we
can't keep either replenishing or adding to our volunteer staff, then
when a disaster happens, we are not going to have the people who can