By Joanne Nowlin, CEO American Red Cross LA Region
Great news to share – Bernie Nazari was selected as the recipient of the Spirit of Pacific Award. This award recognizes a volunteer or paid staff member across the entire Pacific Division of the American Red Cross who acts with a sense of purpose, has a passion for service and willingness to go above and beyond. Simply put, Bernie does it all. His commitment, perseverance, and creativity advances our mission and elevates our work. We are a better organization because of his support.
Bernie has been a highly engaged Red Cross volunteer at the region, division and national level for more than 25 years. He currently supports every line of service, is an active member of the senior leadership team, serves as a volunteer partner for both Norma Vega, our chief external relations officer, and myself. He leads disaster responses, serves as our chief innovation officer, connects our development team to major partnerships and supports our life-saving COVID-19 responses.
At the start of our COVID-19 response, as we stood up a feeding partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District that would serve more than 40 million meals, Bernie served as our lead for information and planning. Managing key response data, Bernie encouraged every member during the darkest and earliest hours of COVID-19. More so, Bernie continued to support our Los Angeles Unified response while he found himself quarantined in New York with Marie, his now-wife, at the height of the pandemic. While working late east coast hours, he kept his LA team moving forward, feeling encouraged and serving our clients.
Bernie also served on our 2020 California Wildfires response as a public information officer at the incident command post. He spent days and nights ensuring all information was conveyed accurately and that the Red Cross was always part of the equation.
Currently, Bernie supports Norma with a massive rapid response operation providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to our most vulnerable communities. In partnership with our elected officials, CERT, EDS and community partners, Bernie has personally organized, distributed and brought PPE to our most vulnerable communities. Reaching hundreds of community members with each distribution site, our response operation reached the mayor’s office gaining his support and commitment to reach an additional 20,000 Angelenos.
And to top it off, Bernie graciously served on the regional disaster officer search committee and brought great perspective to the table.
Thank you, Bernie, for all that you have done for the region. You have invaluable to all of us, and I am thankful for how much you helped me when I arrived in LA.