“He is probably directing the fork lifts in heaven. RIP, Chuck.” Virgi Mateo perfectly summed up who the amazing volunteer Chuck Sweeten was to the community and to the Red Cross Los Angeles Family. Dedication, loyalty and hard work. He was there when we needed him until the very end.
Last week, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region lost a valuable partner when Logistics Volunteer Chuck Sweeten passed away on Wednesday, April 1. A US Navy vet who served in the Vietnam War, Chuck was a professional truck driver, who worked at different race tracks, and brought all of that experience to our team.
He began volunteering with Red Cross in 1996 when he started with the Ontario Chapter, when there was one. He then transitioned to San Bernardino Chapter before finally coming to Territory 2 and the San Gabriel/Pomona Valleys Chapter.
Logistics doesn’t adequately summarize all of his positions with the Red Cross. Chuck was a Disaster Action Team supervisor and a duty officer for more than 15 years. He deployed many times as a Logistics lead, damage assessment and with Mass Care. He also was Team Captain for local events in Ontario and San Bernardino and did almost anything else he was asked to do. He was a team player even when he would have “done it differently,” said volunteer Frances Weigand, a friend and colleague.
In 2010 he received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Ontario chapter, and he also was presented with the William Crawford Disaster Service Award.
Though, he had some minor health issues in recent years, that didn’t dampen his willingness to help every time he could. On Tuesday, Chuck was moving some materials from the Bell warehouse when he suffered a heart attack and passed away in the hospital the next day.
Losing a colleague never feels easy. But happening as it did – amidst this seemingly all-consuming coronavirus pandemic in which we feel unable to properly express our grief – leaves those who knew Chuck unsettled and sad.
He and his mischievous smile will be sorely missed and can never be replaced. He was one of a kind.