Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director, Sharon Hudson - June 2017

It is an honor and a pleasure to be working for the best humanitarian organization and serve as the new Executive Director for the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross.  I have been inspired by the humanitarian work our volunteers, board, and staff do every day.  My vision is simple: Mission, Money, People and Team because it takes all of these pieces working together for a successful chapter. During my first few weeks I have experienced this vision each day!

During my first week, the East Tennessee Chapter Lead Volunteers provided a check to our Board for $846,203 and the monetary equivalent of their volunteer time.  This was volunteer time donated on a regular basis.  The personal sacrifice when someone in their worst hours lost everything to a home fire, and our volunteers were there; time welcoming home military members and their families; providing first aid for the University of Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis; and for those volunteers that supplement our staff with raising money, teaching skills that save lives, answering phones and coordinating the mobilization of our volunteers, they are Always There!

Memorial Day storms hit our area, and our East Tennessee teams sprang into action opening two shelters in Roane and Blount counties.  We assisted thirteen families whose homes were destroyed by those storms.  We also provided emergency supply distribution in Cumberland, Loudon, Blount, and Roane Counties.  We are neighbors helping neighbors.  This past week, we mobilized a pop-up phone bank for National Dispatch Center to receive calls from the Memphis area after the storms.  We have had an incredible bee-hive of activity and our volunteers have mobilized, socialized, and taken on tasks to ensure work is done and phones are answered.

Also in these first few weeks, I am proud to share that our own Jess Hernandez recently accepted an award from the Knoxville American Legion for his team's community support.  Mary Franklin, our Aquatics lead volunteer, will be going to the Asian country of Burma to teach the National Red Cross Society water safety.

My first month as Executive Director has been very busy, but it is a good busy.  I have been on-boarding with the absolute best of the best! I have seen our volunteers in action every day in this office, and we have had an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm in the halls.  I am thrilled to be here everyday living our mission and getting to know our volunteers.  I am in the right place, at the right time, feeling incredibly blessed.

Sharon Hudson
Executive Director

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