An Interview by Jordan Rodgers, Red Cross Volunteer Services Manager
Last Saturday, Feb. 20, the Los Angeles Region celebrated volunteer achievement at the annual Volunteer Excellence Awards. This year looked different in many ways.
Due to the pandemic, our event went virtual with more than 200 amazing volunteers watching from the comfort of their homes. There was no venue, no buffet, no mingling with friends. Like the last 11 months, it was distant and technical. However, we still had a theme and one that felt like a fitting tribute to the mayhem of 2020 — California Jones and the Responders of the Lost ARC.
We still had appreciation and gratitude and love for our volunteers. We still had our Red Cross humor and resiliency. And we still had an emcee. I was able to sit down and chat with California Jones one last time.
Jordan Rodgers: Thank you for joining us today, California Jones. I know you are a busy man.
California Jones: Happy to be here and chat with you.
JR: Was this your first time hosting a volunteer event?
CJ: Yes. I was going outside my comfort zone a bit, talking with people instead of rocks and ancient artifacts. But I had an excellent time. The scavenger hunt was right up my alley and I enjoyed getting to learn more about the Red Cross.
JR: That’s great to hear! We are thrilled you have been able to be a part of our family these last few weeks. You and Short Round, of course.
CJ: Can never forget him!
JR: What was your favorite part of the Volunteer Excellence Awards?
CJ: As I mentioned, the scavenger hunt was really great. The presentation was wonderful. Congratulations to all the honorees and the nominees. What strong work being done in LA. Val Andler hitting 70 years of service is incredible!
JR: We are so glad you had an excellent experience.
CJ: Thank you for inviting me. But truly, I am just a guy in a nice hat who showed up. The volunteers are the true heroes here, and everyone who put this event together. Nothing about last year was easy, but with these people and this team, it seems like anything is possible.
JR: Well, we have officially made you an honorary Red Crosser, so we do hope to see you again soon. March is Red Cross Month is just around the corner. Between that and our Sound the Alarm home fire safety campaign, we have many opportunities to see you again, Dr. Jones.
CJ: Thank you. That all sounds exciting! I am hoping to get back out into the field again, but maybe our paths will cross again someday. Best wishes to all of you!
JR: Thank you, California Jones!
Thank you, readers. And thank you to all our volunteers for another year of service, one fraught with uncertainty and obstacles, but completed with grace, resiliency and smiles in true Red Cross fashion. We look forward to another year of mission work and saving lives in Los Angeles.
Speaking of the scavenger hunt, did you figure out all the clues? Check out this video to find out.