How and why Gordon Williams volunteers with the Red Cross

By Jen Astion

The American Red Cross is fortunate to have distinguished author and business reporter Gordon Williams serving as a writer for the American Red Cross Northwest Region Communications Team and as a dispatcher for the Red Cross Greater New York Region.

Gordon Williams in Frankfurt, Germany (1965)

Williams knew he wanted to be a writer from the age of seven. After serving in the army and earning a degree from the University of Illinois, he began his journalism career working for the Chicago Sun Times. He became Assistant City Editor for that newspaper.

A second part of his career was writing for Business Week Magazine. “I wrote for Business Week for twenty years and became the magazine’s Assistant Managing Editor,” Williams said. While there, he won nine awards for magazine journalism including the Overseas Press Club Award for Best interpretation of Foreign Events in a Magazine.

Gordon Williams in the ABC News newsroom in New York. “My segment was filmed here in the early days of the show until they built a set designed for me in another ABC building.” Photo credit: Gordon Williams Business Report.

The third chapter of his career was on TV and radio. “I was on a TV show called Business World. It aired Sunday mornings on the ABC Television Network from 1986 into the early 1990s. I was one of the three network correspondents assigned to the show,” he recalled. His radio program, the Gordon Williams Business Report, ran for thirteen years and was carried on hundreds of stations including Classical KING-FM in Seattle.

A fourth role he played was as a freelance writer for a variety of national publications and consulting firms. “I wrote an article for Vogue about a philosophy of finances. For Smart Money, I wrote about college 529 savings accounts. For whatever topic they proposed, I became an expert,” Williams said.

Gordon Williams volunteering as a ham radio operator at the New York City Marathon (2018)

Williams began his volunteer work with the American Red Cross as a disaster responder for the Greater New York Region. “Being able to help people as one of the first people on the scene of a fire is exciting and fulfilling,” he explained. “I must have been on the scene of hundreds of fires.” In 2011 he began working as a Red Cross radio dispatcher (dispatcher 238) in the wake of Hurricane Irene.  It was the first hurricane to hit New York City directly since 1821, and caused horrendous flooding north of the city. He has been dispatching for other Red Cross disaster response teams in New York ever since.

These days, Williams divides his year and his Red Cross volunteering between NYC and the Pacific Northwest. He joined the NW Region communications team in July of 2017, and began contributing to Northwest Region blog. Since then, the rate of stories generated and traffic to the blog have doubled.

Gordon Williams on assignment at the Red Cross office on Joint Base Lewis McChord. (2018)

“We have wonderful volunteers on our local editorial team, but Gordon is my MVP,” said Betsy Robertson, Red Cross communications program manager for the Northwest. “He has a voracious appetite for new assignments and does an exceptional job telling our story. Gordon is not just a volunteer and partner, he has become a very dear friend.”

Thank you for the many ways you share your talents with us, Gordon! We are so fortunate to have you on our team.

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