2020 - David Tuckman
*This photo was taken prior to COVID-19*

COMMUNITY: Red Cross volunteer spends weekends helping those in need

The Quakes and Wells Fargo are humbled and inspired by the amazing work of our frontline communities and neighbors in this time of crisis. Each week, we’ll be featuring and highlighting the work of one fantastic neighborhood hero, showcasing the great work they are doing and the organizations our community can rally around.

Additionally, a donation will be made to an organization or community project on behalf of each week’s hero. This week we will be donating to the American Red Cross, Los Angeles Region. 

At the age of 16, David Tuckman started volunteering for the American Red Cross at the recommendation of his high school career counselor. As a youth trainee, he learned CPR, first aid, and how to help people in emergency situations. 

David has remained committed to his volunteerism over the years, and now as an adult he volunteers as the Captain of the Disaster Action Team in the Los Angeles Region. He also is a Red Cross District Youth Advisor, which allows David to mentor youth and young adults to be leaders of tomorrow, similarly to how he was mentored as a high school student. 

“I have been able to have good mentors when I was a youth and adult in the Red Cross program. They shared their experiences with me and inspired me to become a leader and take on greater roles,” says David. 

As a Disaster Action Team Captain, David volunteers his time on the weekends for on-call 12-hour shifts wherever the needs arise. Action teams range roughly five to six people, including a team leader and trainee or two. Sometimes large-scale events call for up to 10 people on a shift. 

“The public doesn’t realize the Red Cross is out there seven days a week, on 12-hour shifts, and all volunteer-led,” says David. 

The Red Cross responds to an average of 40,000 home fires every year nationally. Since February, the Red Cross has helped 136,000 people recover from 25,000 fires nationwide. Since April 16, they have initiated 51,000 hotel stays for displaced people in need. 

Red Cross workers respond to scenarios where people are displaced from their home or don’t have access to immediate needs after a disaster. David and his team arrive to emergency calls and talk with affected individuals or families, find them a place to stay, a meal to eat, or even necessities like clothes and toiletries. 

Another thing David does in this role is visit impoverished or low-income areas and install smoke alarms through the Home Fire Campaign’s Sound The Alarm Program. Through this, residential fires can be prevented, and families can be educated about disaster preparedness. The Red Cross also provides safety training at schools and public libraries to educate kids on safety procedures for earthquakes and fires. They host Red Cross Sesame Street Earthquake Preparedness Fire Safety puppet shows, led by Red Cross youth puppeteers and responders like David, teaching children to Stop Drop & Roll and Duck & Cover. 

“There's no such thing as a minor disaster,” says David. “For the people who go through it, everything is a major disaster.”

David recently was rushed to the hospital when a virus entered the pericardium of his heart. Despite being in recovery, he still wanted to make a difference even if he couldn’t be active in the field. He took on the role of Public Information Officer, which allowed him to still make a difference while remotely recovering at home. In this position, David talks to the media about what great things the Red Cross is doing in the community. 

David hopes that by his involvement and leadership in the Red Cross, he can inspire young people to volunteer the same way he was inspired. Skills learned through the Red Cross such as disaster education, leadership, CPR and first aid, are skills that can last a lifetime. “If you inspire a young person to get involved at a young age… We’re helping to inspire our future leaders,” says David. 

To learn more about the Red Cross or find information on how to volunteer, click here


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