How can you get to hear the death-defying stories of everyday heroes? Like the police officers who saved a man after a motorcycle accident. Firefighters who rushed into a home near the brink of collapse to rescue a trapped victim. A soldier who survived an attack while serving his country overseas. Members of the Associate Board are unique American Red Cross volunteers who put a year into preparing to honor the heroes behind these stories.
In Central Ohio, the Associate Board is a group of young professionals who work under the guidance of the Red Cross Board of Directors to raise funds for the local chapter. The Associate Board’s main fundraising event has been an annual Heroes Gala in which local heroes are recognized for the extraordinary contributions they make in their communities. This black-tie affair honors police, firefighters, military personnel, and blood ambassadors who have gone above and beyond in their responsibilities in the line duty. They truly deserve the recognition and gratitude from their community!
There is no typical day for a board member, which is one of the many reasons it’s such an engaging and energizing group. At some point a member may be meeting with a prospective volunteer to educate them on the importance of fundraising for the Red Cross. Another day may consist of reaching out to community connections to obtain sponsorship and financial support for the gala. Some may focus their time on collecting donation items for the silent auction.
The only typical day is the day of the Heroes Gala, which occurs every November near Veteran’s Day, a fitting day for this kind of event. The members are responsible for coordinating the silent auction that day, but outside of that responsibility they are guests at the very event they’ve planned. Associate Board members and their guests dress in elegant attire and have the humbling opportunity to meet the local heroes that they had spent nearly a year planning to celebrate. They walk the room filled with local celebrities and company executives who see the value in honoring these heroes and supporting the Red Cross. They bid on auction items. They share in a meal and listen to the stories of the heroes they have helped honor. These heroes, and so many others like them, are why the Associate Board dedicates their not-so-typical volunteer time to the American Red Cross and the Heroes Gala.