Monday, April 10, 2017

The Power of Volunteers and Generosity of Donors

The American Red Cross needs two things to fulfill its mission: the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. As we approach national volunteer week, we take time to recognize some incredible volunteers and to share our thanks for the generosity of our donors. One donor, in particular, Great-West Financial and Empower Retirement, supports first responders who are powering our community for a brighter future. Through the generosity of our partners at Great-West Financial and Empower Retirement, the Red Cross is honored to serve alongside these everyday heroes and highlight their heroic contributions to the community each year. 

Left to Right: Tisha Schuller, Everyday Hero Award Winner Rex Laceby,
Brian Schuller and sons

The adjective “everyday” is defined as ordinary, typical, or usual. When added to the noun “hero” we have an ordinary person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. This perfectly defines the first responders who risk their lives daily to protect and serve their neighbors, friends, families, and even total strangers. Their “typical” daily activities are often heroic by the very nature of their work; firefighters, police officers, soldiers, and others fall into this category, and many volunteer countless hours in their communities.

Here at the American Red Cross, as secondary responders, we get the opportunity to work with some of these amazing people like Brian Schuller, a volunteer firefighter with Four Mile Fire Protection District.
In January 2001, Brian’s wife Tisha Schuller, Vice Chair of the Red Cross Mile High Area Board, “dragged” him to a community firefighting training event where he got his feet wet in the first responder world. He became engaged with some amazing people and fell in love with the work. As he began going on calls, he realized what an important contribution it was to his community and how impactful it was to people who were in a time of need. He also found it had an unexpected impact on him: “I find it personally rewarding to be there for those people,” said Brian. “You are protecting people and they are counting on you.”
With his training in wildland firefighting, Brian holds an officer position within the Four Mile department. Along with responding to calls, he helps with administrative duties that are necessary but may not be directly part of emergency response. He gives the time and talent he has, as often as he can.

In the early years before kids, he and his wife trained and responded together and always prioritized the value of community. Now as parents, the Schullers try to demonstrate that sense of community to their children, to create a culture of giving. Collectively, they do an incredible job of balancing family life, work, and many hours of volunteer service.    
In closing, Brian humbly said, “I can find you a person who does a whole lot more than me.” With regards to others that do a “whole lot more,” he said “they are appreciated and just because myself, or someone else who wants to volunteer can't give 100 percent most of the time, it shouldn't stop anyone from giving 100 percent some of their time,” he said. “Imagine if more people gave 100 percent, even one percent of their time.”
The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.  We want to thank those volunteers and first responders who give that 100 percent, be it a little or a lot of their time. You are the Everyday Heroes who make our communities stronger and safer.

About Great-West Financial and Empower Retirement: Established nearly 125 years ago, Great-West Financial’s offerings range from investments, life insurance, annuities and executive benefits products marketed under the Great-West Financial brand to retirement savings products and services provided by Empower Retirement, the nation’s second-largest retirement plan record keeper by participants. The company manages a total of $469.5 billion in assets for more than 8.5 million retirement, insurance and annuity customers.

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