Brian Kenney started volunteering with the American Red Cross in Texas in 1992. In his 15 years or so of active volunteering he has taken on many roles, but the one he has enjoyed the most is being a Disaster Services volunteer.
He explains his favorite part of volunteering is to give people experiencing disasters comfort during difficult times and to stand with them to be the hope in their darkest moments.
Brian shares that his most memorable volunteer moment with the Red Cross was in 2000 in Minooka, IL when a mother came to him after a flood asking for help with her daughter who would not stop crying. He calmed her down and engaged her imagination. With the help of ‘Mr. Fear’, he helped her by telling her to squeeze his hand and that Mr. Fear left her and now went to him, making her less scared during this time.
“Volunteering gives you a whole new perspective on the world around you—the more I volunteer, the more blessed I am.”
Brian wrote a poem about insight to his experience volunteering with the Red Cross:
In the Midst of the Storm by Brian Kenney, DSC, Illinois, Region 4
I really can’t imagine the disaster victim’s plight,
How in such a very short time their day’s been turned to night.
The world as they knew it has suddenly been taken away,
Now they look to you for answers but there is nothing you can say.
Your outstretched arms may just be the answer for right now,
As on your shoulder a shattered life rests and to you their problems they endow.
You embrace them ever so gently as the tears begin to flow,
Both yours and theirs fall to the ground in amounts we’ll never know.
Now the tears that they’ve been pouring out have seemingly reach
their peak, They raise their head ever so gently and prepare to try and speak.
So now you silently motion to them that what’s transpired is OK,
Because it’s been your privilege to be there for them this day.
You will never forget this meeting and what it’s meant to you,
For rather than just helping one you discover it has helped two.
You wonder how the time flew by as you shared in another’s loss,
Your life has made a difference through serving the Red Cross.
Thank you to all the men and women who give so tirelessly every day utilizing their time, energy, and talents to make a difference serving as American Red Cross Disaster Service volunteers.
Brian Kenney, DSC
Thank you Brian for your amazing poem, continuous hard work and passion for working with the Red Cross and our mission. We are lucky to have you!