Volunteer Week: Walt Disney

Volunteer Walt Disney 1919      

As the always insightful Mr. Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” The American Red Cross could not agree more, and recognizes the vital importance of volunteers to their organization.

It is National Volunteer week at the American Red Cross, a time when every Red Cross helper should be appreciated for all they do. Dedicated and passionate volunteers have made the efforts of the Red Cross possible for over 132 years. Currently, volunteers constitute 94% of the total workforce to carry out our humanitarian work. In celebration of volunteer week, we decided to give a little background on one of our favorite former Red Cross volunteer. This talented artist and visionary helped children around the world to discover their imagination. He is remembered as a creator, filmmaker, entertainer, and most importantly an American Red Cross volunteer.

In the fall of 1918, Walt Disney attempted to enlist in the military in the wake of WWI. After being rejected because he was a minor, he joined the Red Cross and was sent overseas to France where he volunteered as an ambulance driver. True to Disney form, Walt covered his ambulance with his creative drawing and cartoons, as seen in the picture above. His duties for the Red Cross included being a driver for mechanic supply trucks and an ambulance. Even though Disney stayed busy with his Red Cross duties, he found time to develop his passion for art. He created war related cartoons that were submitted to Life magazine and illustrated posters for the Red Cross. Disney instilled a lasting relationship with the Red Cross and today The Walt Disney Company still donates millions to Red Cross relief efforts.

Disney is just one of many volunteers that have assisted the Red Cross and helped millions of people. Even though this week is dedicated to our volunteers, the Red Cross strives to thank their helpers, who make the organization possible, every day. So next time you drive by a fire, or watch a disaster on the news, take Mr. Rogers advice and look for the helpers, because I guarantee you will spot a Red Cross volunteer. To find ways you can help the Red Cross, visit http://www.redcross.org/support/volunteer.

Written by: Alyssa Barford

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