By Los Angeles Region CEO, Jarrett Barrios

Last week marked an extra special moment for the Los Angeles Region with Angelenos receiving two of the five honors presented at the annual National Leadership Awards ceremony. The awards event was held in Tiffany Hall at our American National Red Cross headquarters.

I was honored to represent Los Angeles at the prestigious ceremony. At the event, five recognitions were given. The Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service is awarded for lifetime achievement as a Red Cross volunteer leader. The Susan Hassmiller Nursing Award recognizes a Red Cross region that is implementing an innovative program to engage nurse volunteers in support of the Red Cross mission. The Bob Hassmiller Excellence in Disaster Services Award goes to a volunteer who has distinguished themselves for their dedication to disaster response and recovery. The Florence Nightingale Medal goes to a nurse who has distinguished herself or himself in service consistent with the fundamental principles of Red Cross and, finally, the International Humanitarian Service Award is presented to the international volunteer or team of volunteers who has carried forth their work in effective and impactful ways.

October 25, 2017. Washington, DC. Leadership Awards Reception and Dinner at the American Red Cross National Headquarters. In this photo with me is Cheri Larson, our Head Nurse, and Gail McGovern, Chief Executive Officer of the American National Red Cross. Photo by Dennis Drenner for the American Red Cross.

This year’s Susan Hassmiller Nursing Award was awarded to the Los Angeles Region, led by Cheri Larson, our lead nurse volunteer.  Cheri and I were thrilled to accept the honor on behalf of the Region. Accompanying this award is a $5,000 grant which will help us achieve our nurse volunteer recruitment goals and further our partnership with the Medical Reserve Corps, leverage Academic Service Learning to serve the community, and help share the story of our Disaster Health Services volunteers with the production of a volunteer recruitment video. Our goal is to provide a replicable plan for all 61 Red Cross regions, and we are excited to develop a video that will serve as a national resource for health services volunteer recruitment and engagement. None of this would have been possible without the collaborative efforts of Volunteer Services Specialist, Anna Laine supporting the project and the application. Congratulations to all who are joining in on the project to engage nurses and partners across all lines of service in our Red Cross mission.

But that’s not all! This year, the Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service went to Brentwood resident, Dr. Laurence E. Paul. Here in LA, we just call him “Larry,” but Larry’s service goes beyond serving past years on the Greater Los Angeles Chapter Board.  In 1999, he served as a non-Governor member of the Biomedical Services Committee. Since

This photo shows Larry Paul receiving the Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service from Gail McGovern and Bonnie McElveen-Hunter. Photo by Dennis Drenner for the American Red Cross.

that time, he has held a number of local and national-level volunteer positions including serving on our board, with subsequent election to the National Board of Governors in 2006, where he served until 2017.  Larry even served as a Vice Chairman of the National Board of Governors from 2008 to 2017.

Today, his volunteer service continues. Larry and his wife Kathleen co-founded our annual Los Angeles Region Celebrity Golf Tournament, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for Red Cross disaster relief. Larry exemplifies the importance of volunteerism and philanthropy, and is extremely deserving of this award, the highest recognition for volunteer service in the entire American National Red Cross. You can read more about Larry and his commitment to Red Cross service in this recent LA Times Article.

While there are many more amazing stories and amazing volunteers in Los Angeles, it is wonderful to have this forum as one of the ways to recognize extraordinary service.  Congratulations to all!

Jarrett Barrios is the Chief Executive Officer at the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. But, above all, Jarrett Barrios is a humanitarian with more than 20 years of experience helping people in need throughout the United States and Cuba.

To learn more about Jarrett Barrios or the America Red Cross Los Angeles Region, visit


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