Carmela Burke shows up whenever there is a need, like at the Annual Tournament of Rose Parade, and she does it all with style and grace.

A trusted and revered leader, many have said when Carmela is on the job they feel at ease because it will be done well and professionally. She is the epitome of grace under pressure, has an excellent humor and is a person that encapsulates all 5 Cs and lives out the 7 Fundamental Principles. And she is the recipient of the Spirt of the Pacific Division award for the month of January 2022.  

Carmela Burke has been a Red Cross volunteer since 1992, nearly 30 years. She is one of our most seasoned volunteers, having worked more than 9,000 hours (since 2012 with additional hours prior to the creation of Volunteer Connection), including 62 disaster response operations, earning her a Lifetime Hours Award. 

After learning we were short staffed, Carmela answered the call to be a First Aid Volunteer for the Annual Rose Parade. In a few short months, she sat through hours of training, attended exercises and meetings and showed up at 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day to help thousands of attendees with any of their medical needs.  

Her tenure and dedication are only one small element of her extraordinary leadership. Starting with the Red Cross as an instructor, she has gone on to become a Communications Volunteer Partner, External Relations Director, as well as, Public Information Officer, Community Engagement & Partnerships Regional Program Lead, Emergency Management Agency Regional Program Lead, Rose Parade First Aid Station Trainee, Information and Planning Team Member, Disaster Volunteer – San Fernando Valley, International Services – Restoring Family Links Caseworker, Communications Digital Volunteer, Emblem Misuse Investigator Professional Volunteer, Instructor – International Humanitarian Law and Service to the Armed Forces – IHL Expert Level Instructor. Through all her varying work, Carmela talks passionately about her work with the youth. She worked on the beta test of the International Humanitarian Law Youth Program, surpassing metrics and expected outcomes. Not to mention that she is the overall lead of our External Relations team and one of a few volunteers in the Pacific Division at the AD-ER level. She has also modeled for the Red Cross on a campaign with Jamie Lee Curtis. 

And then her latest volunteer shift landed her at Pasadena’s Annual Rose Parade, a centerpiece of the Red Cross experience. Every year since 1964 the Los Angeles team of the Red Cross has provided first aid services at the Rose Parade and surrounding related events. It takes a large team of committed collaborative and compassionate volunteers to execute this work. Amid the challenges of this past year, the team faced a critical obstacle – we were short-staffed. Fortunately, one phenomenal volunteer stepped up to the plate. 

We are grateful knowing that though she may no longer in our region, she is still a part of the Pacific Division. 

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