Meet our new Regional Volunteer Services Officer and see why joining the Red Cross is personal for him.

By Patrick Mcgee-Regional Volunteer Services Officer Cascades Region

My journey to the American Red Cross begins in 1972, when I was only 2 years old. I had an uncle who died from injuries he received in an automobile accident, injuries that could have been combatted had he received blood – an option that wasn’t considered, as his parents (my grandparents) lacked knowledge and the proper education on blood transfusion.

Patrick Mcgee-Age 2.

That story would remain with me throughout my life. When offered the opportunity to be a part of a blood drive, his memory (or lack thereof) made it a no-brainer for me. I was also inspired by my aunt who has Sickle Cell Disease. There were many days when all she could do was lay in bed. I would go to her school and pick up her assignments because she would miss many days, mostly because the night before was spent in the emergency room. The whole family pitched in and helped her on this journey. I became a regular blood donor and have been for more than 15 years.

Hurricane Harvey flooding.

Fast forward to August 2017, as a resident of Houston, Texas, I witnessed the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the city. Residing in one of the least impacted communities, I found myself on the back of a 26’ box truck riding through the city on “rescue missions”. Though we were consumed with being a part of the solution, our attention to detail was an afterthought. After a number of trips, a lady at one of the shelters adorned in a Red Cross vest asked, “Have you all had water or food?” In the midst of being of service, we found ourselves being served.

These are a few of my personal “whys” but in studying the data, I found a much bigger “why”. Research suggests that African Americans and Latinos are more likely to experience physical hardships and trauma during and after a disaster, including personal loss, damage to property, and delay in restoration of utility services, such as electricity and water, and other basic resources including food, shelter, and income.

Among specific cultural minorities groups, socio-cultural factors may heighten risk for exposure and vulnerability to disasters, including mistrust of government and authorities, concern for family and other members of their social networks, and adherence to cultural values. There’s a reliance on family and a reluctance to burden others by seeking support. There’s a trust issue. A mistrust of anyone who doesn’t look like them or come from where they are from.

Patrick Mcgee donates blood for the first time as a Red Crosser.

Therein lies the opportunity… an opportunity for representation in underserved areas – YOUR areas. An opportunity for YOU, with the support of American Red Cross to be a vessel to not only educate in your community but to also be a conduit that has the potential to save lives before, during, and after a disaster. Opportunity to educate on the importance of blood donations. Consider donating blood at or volunteering at