Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Never Resting, Always Ready—The Red Cross When the weather forecast shows the beginning of a hurricane, the whole nation waits. Except the Red Cross. Everyone there is in high gear, preparing. Shelters to line up, food to arrange for, supplies to transport. Relief teams, mental health workers, technology whizzes—volunteers are readying to go, to be the first on the scene—and the last to leave.
Lee Johnson, who retired from his role as general manager of a large regional transit district, leads the Disaster Assessment Team, first in to provide crucial data to the Red Cross system to enable the organization to scale up (or down) to match the need.
Additionally, for Hurricane Harvey Lee headed up the technology team, using satellite to re-establish the communication systems that are so critical for coordinating the efforts of the Red Cross volunteers. Deployed teams usually commit for a two-week period and are then relieved by other Red Cross volunteers as needs change.
Unlike hurricanes, most disasters strike suddenly. Some encompass a wide area and many people. Some, like a house fire, are localized but just as devastating to the family and their friends. So the Red Cross never rests, never stops preparing.
In the in-between times, Lee checks the fleet of Red Cross vehicles to make sure they are all ready to go. He also instructs training courses for volunteers.