When Ben Green was 15 years old, he made a decision that would help shape the course of his life: he became a Red Cross volunteer. That was 1968, and Green was a junior at Mehlville High School in St. Louis, Missouri.
Today, Green is preparing to leave as the Red Cross San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter Executive Director. However, his affiliation with the organization he has loved for some 48 years is not over, since Green plans to return back to the ranks as a volunteer.
Green’s life-long commitment to the Red Cross began when he joined the learn-to-swim program as a volunteer. He remembers the admiration he felt for his first swimming supervisor and hoped to someday be as good as his instructor in teaching children to swim. By then, he was hooked on the Red Cross and continued teaching swim programs for the next 20 years as a first aid and water safety instructor trainer.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation administration from Missouri State, Green began a career in non-profit management. He continued his Red Cross involvement as a board member with the Springfield and Rolla, Missouri, chapters. By 1980, Green was working in Chicago and served as a member of the board of directors with Chicago’s Red Cross Mid-America Chapter. That year, Green attended the national Red Cross convention held in Los Angeles as a Chapter representative and voting delegate. The experience was a game-changer in terms of his life plan, and he vowed to someday return to California permanently.
He got his chance in 1984, after taking a job with the City of Palm Springs as the Recreation Director. During his time there, he served on the board of directors for the Red Cross in the Coachella Valley. In 2002, he began forging a strong relationship with the Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley communities as the executive director of the Pasadena Senior Center.
In early 2007, Green came back to the Red Cross as CEO of the Red Cross San Gabriel Pomona Chapter. Having been a lifelong Red Cross volunteer, Green said his management philosophy has always been simple when it comes to volunteers: “All I ask is what I can do to help, and then get out of the way.”
Under Green’s leadership during the past nine years, he was responsible for overseeing all Red Cross services provided to the 44 communities within the Chapter’s jurisdiction. This included the long-standing tradition of providing Red Cross first aid services at the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl game and many other community events. Green hosted the Pasadena Showcase House of Design in 2010, which resulted in $1.5 million in capital improvements to the Chapter headquarters. That same year, the Chapter was recognized as the outstanding Pasadena Charity by The Magazine. More recently, he oversaw the Chapter’s Centennial
activities in 2014, initiated the Chapter’s Community Ambassador Program and created a Home Fire Preparedness Coalition in El Monte and South El Monte.
As to what Green will miss the most, that’s easy. “I will miss working with our dedicated volunteers and donors and seeing the appreciation on the faces of people that we help.”