Terry Nefcy answers the call to help 24/7

Harriet Vanderbelt/Red Cross Cascades Region

Terry Nefcy’s parents taught him the importance of helping those in need from a young age.  “Dad and Mom told me that we must do something for others,” Terry recalls. “I remember so many times we rendered aid to people in dire circumstances.”

Terry worked 38 years in the technology industry where he donated to the Red Cross through his company’s matching gift program. “I always contributed generously.” After retirement he started donating his time.

“I retired shortly before the Pandemic began.  I wanted to find a volunteer job that focused on assisting others.  The Red Cross was a perfect match.  In 2021, I applied online to volunteer with disaster responses.  As I like to travel, I was happy for a deployment out of Cascades Region in addition to local deployment.”

Terry completed his Red Cross training and joined the Disaster Action Team (DAT).  DAT volunteers provide emotional support, financial assistance, and information to help families begin the process of recovering from a disaster. Terry responded to 160 disasters in his first two years as a DAT volunteer. Many of those responses were home fires which often happen in the middle of the night.

“I am always ready to take calls.  If I make personal vacation plans, I simply opt out.  I loved the flexibility of the Red Cross.  I recently took a 2-week road trip to California with my brother and sister.”

Disaster Action Team volunteers are assigned shifts and expected to respond to emergencies within two hours, night or day, rain or shine. Terry shared an amazing story about one deployment to Seaside to do an assessment after a home fire.

“When Alan Puterbaugh (another Red Cross volunteer) and I saw the home, we found only rubble – the house had burned to the ground.  The family of eight escaped with only the clothes on their backs.  The landlords of this rental, a couple from Bend, came to Seaside and paid for lodging for this family.  In addition, the landlords cancelled a trip to Egypt, and bought this family a fully furnished home!”

In addition to responding to disasters, Terry also volunteers by installing smoke alarms, transporting blood and has learned to setup emergency shelters.

“The Red Cross volunteers are good people. I have formed good friendships.  I feel good helping out and being useful.  I like to provide value and to work with other volunteers who feel the same.  I want to give to others”.

Have you been thinking about volunteering with the Red Cross? Take the first step by visiting www.redcross.org/cascades and clicking on the ‘Volunteer’ link.