Carly Vester joined the Red Cross volunteer communications team in February, 2021

By Ray Lapine 

The films were shown, drive-in style, on an improvised screen hung between two silos. That was the Oregon Documentary Film Festival’s adaptation to the challenges of the Covid-19 epidemic. 

Carly Vester, the newest volunteer on the Red Cross Northwest Region Communications team, was just fine with that. Her latest project as a filmmaker was on the screen, beginning its journey to other film festivals and likely wider distribution. 

Titled “700 Feet Down,” the film tells the story of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows bridge in 1940 and the efforts of a group of divers to create a video record of what remains of the bridge on the bottom of Puget Sound. 

Carly is developing a career as a documentary film maker and photographer with a focus on the outdoors. The path taking her there includes jobs in marketing and communications, as well as a master’s degree in environmental science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana. 

That path also led through a trip to the Bahamas, after Hurricane Dorian hit, as a volunteer for the animal rescue group Wings of Rescue. There she got to experience first-hand a massive humanitarian relief effort. Carly says, “That was what really sparked my interest” in documenting natural disaster work. 

She connected the dots to the Red Cross during one of our conversations. (Full disclosure: Carly has been a family friend for several years now.) She told me: “I heard about your work with the Red Cross, and that sounds like it would be a really cool and local way to give back with my skill set.” 

I’m really happy to see Carly make this connection with the Red Cross. She tells me, “I’m looking forward to the many ways I can document the work of the Red Cross and the way they are involved with communities.” 

I’m confident that, with her talent and enthusiasm, she will be a great asset for the Communications Team. 

American Red Cross Northwest Region

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