The Volunteer Behind the Success of the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign

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20150131 American Red Cross Pasadena  smoke alarm campaign photography by Henry N

Tom Bryan is something of an operations expert. As the Lead Volunteer Coordinator for the Red Cross Los Angeles Region’s Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, he’s already successfully lead the planning and execution of campaigns in areas of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Pasadena.

Under his guidance, the Campaign took hundreds of Red Cross and coalition partner volunteers door-to-door to ask neighbors what steps they take to increase their chances of surviving home fires — accidents that claim the lives of seven Americans each day.

“It’s always better to be part of the solution than part of the problem,” says Bryan, who makes sure to change the batteries in all of his home smoke detectors twice a year.

So how did he come into the job? Five years ago, shortly after retiring from a 30-plus year career in executive-level supply chain operations management for the entertainment and gaming industries, his older daughter, Katie, who worked as the Youth and Volunteer Services Director for the Red Cross Los Angeles Region, made a suggestion.

“Basically, I was thrown under the bus,” he jokes. “[I’d] been active in several types of activities and programs … And my background was primarily in program and project management when I was working, so I [brought] some native skills to this particular campaign.”

Now in his fifth year volunteering with the Red Cross, the Torrance native continues to give 30-40 hours each week in a variety of roles: teaching health and safety courses, and serving as a Community Disaster Education Chairman as well as a Government and Community Partner Liaison for Disaster Response.

Outside of his volunteer role, the father of two adult daughters enjoys spending time with his family and young grandchildren, Mason, 2 ½, and newborn Sophia. He also partakes in fishing as a hobby.

“I enjoy any and all types … it might be deep sea fishing, sport fishing, or lake and river fishing,” he says, adding that he hopes to soon also take the whole family on a mountain camping expedition.

In keeping with a full schedule, Bryan continues to enjoy his mix of service to others at the Red Cross and home life.

 “It’s not a work/life balance; it’s a life/work balance. Set your priorities right, and you achieve that,” he added.

by Sandy Van, Communications Volunteer

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