Dedicated to Service: Rich Dansizen

“It’s good for everyone to give back to their community and this is a great way to do that. There are lots of opportunities within the Red Cross.”
-Rich Dansizen

Rich Dansizen has spent most of his life serving others. For 23 years, he served our country in the United States Air Force, starting in the veterinary service and then spending the majority of his years doing communications work.

As part of his duties, Rich hosted radio and television broadcasts, doing everything from spinning tunes to delivering the news. “Our mission was to provide that touch of home to the servicemen and women who were serving overseas,” he says. “Quite often, I did the morning show on the radio and the TV news at six. It was a dream job, and I was so happy to have done it.”

In addition, he helped the American Red Cross during his time with the Air Force, serving as the point of contact with the Red Cross for soldier emergency communication situations, for example, if there was an emergency in a soldier’s family.

Rich recalls his mother starting a job with the Red Cross years ago, shortly after his father retired from his career. She too, worked with service members as part of her role.

Fast forward to today, and you will find Rich volunteering for the Red Cross, helping with tasks for the Communications and Service to Armed Forces teams. He says, “When I retired I was looking for some more things to do and I thought the Red Cross would be a good fit.”

Rich helps the Service to the Armed Forces team with completing follow-up work and helping with referrals for military members and their families. He helps Communications, by organizing a list of volunteers, coordinating and delegating volunteer responsibilities each week, along with other tasks.

“We are glad to have Rich on the team,” said Crystal Smith, regional director of Red Cross Service to Armed Forces & International Services. “His background and expertise as a retired service member help him provide valuable insights as a Service to the Armed Forces volunteer and relate to military families in crisis. Rich is a great asset to the Red Cross and the military community.”

When he is not volunteering his time, Rich loves to travel with his wife, Judy. He lists New York, Las Vegas, Sturgeon Bay, WI and Indiana Dunes as some of his favorite trips.

Thank you, Rich for your service to our country and for all you do for the Red Cross!

Visit redcross.org/volunteer to sign up as a Red Cross volunteer.

Written by Illinois Region Communications Manager Brian Williamsen.

World Blood Donor Day: Gary’s Story

When you hear about the need for blood, what do you think about?

United States Air Force Major Gary Novak (Retired) thinks about the times he cared for wounded soldiers, while flying thousands of feet in the air and having no time to wait for administering lifesaving blood.

Major Novak completed several tours as a Critical Care Flight Nurse for the Air Force Nurse Corps. His dedication and talents helped keep injured service members alive, as did the blood kept on board the aircraft.

We always made sure we took blood with us. A lot of the patients, we had to give so much blood to keep them alive. I saw such a need for that and, because of that, I just feel it’s my duty now to give blood.”
-Major Gary Novak

Major Novak went on to a career as a nurse and continued to see the need for blood on a daily basis. He regularly donates blood, and recently did so at the Danyel Pitts blood drive in Springfield.

He says, “You just never know. The blood you give may save somebody’s life that you know and love. It’s always good to help out where you can.”

Thank you, Major Novak for your brave and selfless service to our country, and for giving the gift of lifesaving blood!

If you would like to give blood, please visit redcrossblood.org.

Written by Illinois Region Communications Manager Brian Williamsen