Celebrating Black History Month: Employee Spotlight on Tia Jackson

Tia Jackson is a business operations specialist and started working for us as an executive assistant in 2016. In her current role, she manages operations at American Red Cross facilities in Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield and Decatur and she is responsible for making sure facility needs are met.

“I like being able to help the Red Cross and people who are working in the buildings and it makes me feel good when someone tells me a facility is clean and in good condition,” she said.

Part of Tia’s role is recruiting, training and working with volunteers. She is quick to compliment them for being great partners in what she does on a daily basis.

“Volunteers are very helpful to me, because they can be my eyes and ears in the buildings when things need to be fixed. It’s satisfying when volunteers feel they can come to me and talk about any issues they’re having and talk about their accomplishments. It’s great when the team and I can get together and work through things and talk about fun things, too,” she said.

Five years after starting here, Tia says she enjoys her role and is looking forward to what the future holds.

“Business Operations is a great team and it’s amazing working for the Red Cross,” she said.

Tia lives in the Peoria area with her family and loves to travel. Her favorite travel memory is from a trip to Mexico, when her husband proposed to her.

You might find Tia wearing green and gold, because she is an avid Green Bay Packers fan – a team she roots for in honor of her uncle, who was a lifelong fan.

Thank you, Tia for all you do!

Written by Illinois Region Communications Manager Brian Williamsen

Retired People: Travel Safe, Travel Far!

On the news last night I caught a clip about the increasingly adventurous traveling habits of retirees. A long weekend in Wisconsin doesn’t cut it anymore. Retired people are taking epic trips across Europe, visiting the Great Wall of China and exploring our National Parks. This is fabulous news—I’d love to be active and traveling well into my retirement (t-minus 40 years from now). But this clip also reminded me that vacation healthcare emergencies should be a consideration among aging travelers, and my family knows ALL about that.


Several years ago, my grandpa and his wife left their home in Arizona to summer in Vancouver. That’s pretty darn far away from where my family lives here in Chicago. When my grandfather got a scrape on his head, he figured it would heal on its own and didn’t treat it. A week later, my dad took an emergency trip up to Canada because Grandpa was in the hospital with a wicked infection. It was scary for a while—they feared the infection might spread to his blood.

It pretty much ruined the summer, but hasn’t stemmed my grandpa’s sense of adventure. He and his wife still like to flee the heat for far-flung spots. And they should! But now they’re a bit more cautious, and so goes the direction of my tale: If you, your parents or grandparents are setting off on a vacation, consider these tips:

Now that you’re feeling a little safer, hooray for people who are taking these vacations. Do you have a dream vacation planned for your retirement? Tell us about it in the comments!

Kristin Claes is the senior writer for the chapter. She wants to travel to San Sebastian, Spain, in retirement and never leave. Thanks to withoutyou for the image!