Thursday, February 11, 2016

Letter from Northeast Tennessee Executive Director, Glenda Bobalik-February 2016

Earlier this month, 34 Red Cross volunteers and staff toured the National Weather Service facility in Morristown.  The Chief Meteorologist, George Mathews, and his team gave informative and interesting presentations while showing us the equipment and methodology used to forecast the weather.

All of the information made the event interesting, but what was really special was listening to the people in our group interact with each other.  We are a very diverse crowd!  The one thing that runs through all the conversations like a common thread is the interest in and desire to help other people.  

Another observation is that most of the group has a talent for relaying stories and experiences.  Funny how when asked to talk to the media or speak to a group everyone becomes speechless!
This tour was our All-Volunteer meeting for February.  Meeting each month we are working to improve communications and develop relationships so that our team is even stronger. Someone, not a member of the team, asked me why we have these meetings.  There are multiple answers, but the main reason for me is so that we can get to know each other.  When we need to provide service to the community, we will be more effective and more efficient because we know and understand each other.  Yes, it was fun learning about the National Weather Service and it was entertaining playing trivia in July and learning about the first 24 hours following a disaster when we met in January, but the real win for me comes with the open sharing of information that we have achieved.  Is it enough?  Not yet, but we are moving forward.

Our average attendance for the nine months we have had meetings is 28 people.  That is great, but leads me to wonder about communicating with the over 300 volunteers who are unable to attend.  In the weeks ahead, we will explore ideas for increasing the sharing of information not only with volunteers but our donors, partners and the community as well.  If you have thoughts on this, please let me know.  We have a story to tell.  We need to share it with others.

As for the weather, it is going to continue to be a fairly typical February.  For more details, check out the National Weather Service forecast at


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