Faces in the Crowd: Ken Michaelson
Ken's life has been filled with volunteer experience, but after retirement, he decided to continue his giving spirit with the American Red Cross.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — When disaster strikes, the Red Cross is there, but they wouldn’t be as effective without the help of volunteers.
In the nine years that volunteer Ken Michaelson has been donating his time and talents, the local Red Cross staff say they’ve never heard him say no to a volunteer opportunity. Ken describes the Red Cross as an organization that is there for families with immediate, short term care after an incident. Somewhere victims can turn for a hand up, which makes it a great organization to be a part of.
Ken Michaelson, American Red Cross volunteer, says, “People that you work with, the volunteers, and I’ve been associated with and the helping of other people. I’ve been on seven national D.R.s, which is a disaster recovery, and I sure met a lot of wonderful people.”
Ken’s work with Disaster Relief takes him all around the country, working 10 plus hours a day – weeks at a time. His many years as a banker paved the way for his volunteer specialty, working behind the scenes, preparing reports and information for the Red Cross.
But sometimes he gets out to meet the victims and recalls many special moments.
Ken says, “A couple of years ago I was in Louisiana at a shelter, with my beard, the one lady there called me Santa Claus. She would come and give me a hug every morning and say ‘Hi Santa,’ so it’s fun, you know the people are so appreciative.”
Ken has also been on scene with the local Red Cross chapter, delivering water and food to the firefighters who are battling wildfires. And the feedback they get is worth the time spent.
“My experiences with the Red Cross has been great, the personal satisfaction is just knowing you’re out there filling a position to help other people.”
For more information on how to volunteer at the American Red Cross, click here.