by Adriana Arbelaez, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
Susan Weeks, vice provost at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, is a clinical nurse specialist, licensed chemical dependency counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist.
She is also an American Red Cross volunteer, having joined the organization after the Oklahoma City bombing on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995. The main reason she joined the Red Cross was that “the organization was aligned with my skillset as a health professional.”
Susan’s commitment with the Red Cross has not stopped since her first day as a volunteer.
Susan’s role at TCU does not leave her enough time to keep regular volunteer hours, however, her contribution to the Red Cross has not ceased. Currently, she serves as a Board Member for the North Texas Region where her main goal is to advocate for the Red Cross on a daily basis.
Weeks has held multiple roles during her quarter-century service to the Red Cross. Her first assignments included service and leadership roles in Disaster Mental Health Services and Disaster Health Services. These roles are the ones that gave her the opportunity to deploy and face the experience of working in the aftermath of catastrophe. After responding to the Oklahoma City bombing, she also deployed in the wake of the 9/11 attack in New York City (2001) and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (2005).
Susan has experienced several moments that continue to shape her life and reaffirm the great impact Red Cross volunteers have in the lives of those in need.
One of those moments happened after arriving at JFK airport in New York ready to help after the terror attack on the World Trade Center.
“I was walking across the taxi line. It was 2001, six years after the Oklahoma City bombing, and two people were looking at me,” she said. “I was trying to figure out who they were and they asked me ‘pardon, are you with the Red Cross?’ and I answered them ‘yes, I am,’
“They said ‘you helped us in OKC, we lost our daughter.’ At that moment, their taxi arrived and they drove away. They too were in New York as volunteers helping others. And even though I did not recall them from Oklahoma, it was a good reminder that as a Red Cross volunteer I have the opportunity to touch the lives of people everywhere.”
Natural disasters happen almost on a daily basis and life can change in just one second. Red Cross volunteers offer fundamental support to those impacted.
“For most of us as human beings, we have the desire to do something: donate blood, give monetary donations or other types of contributions. Always we have some way to connect and contribute.”
Susan has several stories that make her proud to be a Red Crosser, especially because “the Red Cross responds to large disasters, but also to day to day disasters such as home fires.”
For Susan that commitment to help, the work that every single volunteer does, and the support from donors are “moments that do not leave you.”
If you want to join Susan as a Red Cross volunteer visit redcross.org/volunteer.