By Ashley Hicks/American Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

Kimberly Patel Awarded HAVA Joan Hanlon Memorial Award

After nearly 15 years working with and leading American Red Cross volunteers in a variety of situations including fires and floods, Armed Forces programs, first aid, CPR and more, it wouldn’t seem a surprise that Kimberly Patel, Red Cross Volunteer Services Regional Manager, has been recognized by the Houston Association of Volunteer Administrators (HAVA) with its prestigious Joan Waite Hanlon Memorial Award. Even so, Kimberly was grateful for the honor which was bestowed upon her last Wednesday, January 27, at the annual HAVA Joan Waite Hanlon Award Reception at Houston’s Canopy Restaurant.

DSC07067 (2)
Kimberly Patel

“In my early years at the Red Cross, I was very hands-on and got to see the Red Cross mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering become a reality in a variety of situations,” said Kimberly. “Now that I’m in volunteer management, I get the opportunity to help people find the right fit within our organization so they can serve our community and feel a sense of pride in doing so. It’s a true privilege.”

According to Ian Todd, HAVA Education Chair, Kimberly’s significant efforts in multiple avenues have helped the community and increased volunteer participation in Houston.  For example, she led planning for the InterAmerican Conference, a four-year effort culminating in the participation of 300 delegates throughout the Americas and more in 20 observer countries. She also presented a workshop with Todd to a packed house of over 100 fellow volunteer administrators at the national Points of Light Foundation Conference on Volunteering & Service.  Both conferences showcased Kimberly’s commitment to developing, engaging, and promoting best practices in the field of volunteer management.

“Without question, Kimberly embodies our criteria for the Joan Waite Hanlon Memorial Award, which each year recognizes the top professional for volunteer management in Houston,” said Todd. “This includes her administrative and program development leadership as well as a deep-rooted desire to mentor and encourage others to use their skills in a meaningful way through volunteerism.”

DSC07066 (2).jpg
Left to right: Jerry Hanlon, Kimberly Patel, Patti Kent and Thomas Hanlon at the January 27 Annual HAVA Joan Waite Hanlon Award Reception

In an organization that considers “mobilizing the power of volunteers” as paramount to serving those in need throughout the world, the Joan Waite Hanlon Award gives the Red Cross a good sense of how people are viewing its work and dedication in this area. Cecilia Pham, Regional Volunteers Service Officer, said “The Award gives us an opportunity to highlight one of our great staffers who recruits and gains volunteers. If we didn’t have people like Kimberly—who combine the right skill set with tremendous dedication—we wouldn’t have the volunteers we need to carry out the mission of the Red Cross.”

Even during her moment in the limelight last Wednesday evening, Kimberly turned her thoughts to what she feels is most important. “We welcome all volunteers at the American Red Cross. I hope people will read this article and consider serving!”

If you would like to be an American Red Cross volunteer, please click on