By Cassylee Mead
Edited by Nancy Waddell, photo by Dan Bates / The Herald
Husband and wife team from Snohomish County, Richard and Kathy Kennard, are “all in” when volunteering for the American Red Cross. From leading disaster actions teams to starring in local parades, they are ready to do whatever they can to help their community.
With previous experience volunteering in Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania, the Kennard’s recently turned their attention to volunteering in their own hometown. “We wanted something where we could volunteer together,” Richard said.
They have been married for 45 years and have been volunteering with the Red Cross for two years.
“We started out at the Red Cross doing a little bit of everything, but mostly local disaster response. Every part of the chapter needed us to help. So we helped in mass care, logistics, events and drove a little car in the Marysville Strawberry Festival Parade,” Kathy said.
Currently, Both Richard and Kathy are disaster action team leaders. In the face of a local response, the Kennard’s help people affected by disasters, providing shelters, food and other Red Cross services. Richard is also the Snohomish County Home Fire Campaign Leader. He got involved because it was yet another way to serve his community. Together they team up to install smoke alarms in residential homes, a critical tool to reduces the risk of death and injury when home fires occur.
And now, inspired by her grandson, Kathy is starting the process of becoming a Pillowcase Project Presenter. The Pillowcase Project is a free emergency preparedness program developed by the American Red Cross for third through fifth-grade youth. It is designed to increase children’s awareness and understanding of natural hazards and empower them to take preparedness actions.
According to the Kennard’s, the best part of volunteering is experiencing things together. After 45 years of marriage, they say working side-by-side for the American Red Cross has brought them closer together.
Volunteers make up 98 percent of the Snohomish County chapter and 90 percent of the American Red Cross. None of the lifesaving work that the Red Cross does could be achieved without dedicated volunteers. There is a wide variety of things you can do as a volunteer to contribute to your community. To learn more about roles you could be a part of, visit: http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities