Tony Iwamoto

Disaster Action Team

I always worked full time since right after college.  Made myself busy enough. 

In early 2011, I was laid off due to economy, and earthquake in Japan happened.  I have experienced earthquakes and hurricanes in my life, but made me think at that time without work.  Decided to make my time off in better use.  Got Los Angeles Fire Department CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Training completed.  then introduced to American Red Cross.  Found out there is something more than blood donation and large disaster support, “DAT”  I saw that I can participate in DAT even I am fulltime working.  I got job, but stayed with DAT.   People ask why I do it?   I sign up night or weekend shift due to my fulltime work.    I see DAT clients.  Many are displaced due to fire. Even I get a call at the middle of night, I will have home and my own bed to go back to, but those client may no longer have those home and/or bed to go back to.  That is why I do it.  Just provide some small comfort or support ARC can provide.  Mickey Mouse provide smile to a kid.  Bottle of water provide a little easier breath.  Blanket provide a little warmer feeling.  Yes, financial aid is helpful, but I like seeing a small smile when I leave the scene.  When I wake up in the morning without any call the night before, I feel a little easier that there was no need for DAT… 

 My ability to support with ARC is limited, but I try my best to do what I can do and when I can do. “

DAT Co-Leader Julie Woodruff says: Tony is an incredible DAT Leader who often responds when not on call, including this last weekend when it was his birthday. Tony takes every opportunity to further train the volunteers around him and monitors LA Fire Department alerts in case there is a large response that could use his expertise. Tony exemplifies the ready, reliable, and reachable qualities of a DAT volunteer and truly cares for our clients affected by disasters.


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