By Olha Hirka and Ekland Durousseau, American Red Cross

Andy Treat receiving first annual Regional Volunteer of the Year Award from Steve Vetrano, Regional CEO.

After a year filled with difficult challenges in their chapter, Iris Juergens, Executive Director for the South Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross, believes Andy Treat personifies grace under pressure. “Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors,” she said. “Andy Treat has proven to be our main anchor. Andy has been the heart and soul that brings us back to the mission. Always.”

This is why Juergens recently nominated Treat for the newly-created Regional Volunteer of the Year Award. The award showcases multi-year outstanding leadership and builds on the criteria of the chapter level Clara Barton Award for meritorious volunteer leadership by expanding it to include service at the regional level. Many were nominated for the award but Treat, from the South Texas Chapter, emerged as the inaugural recipient.

Treat has been a Red Cross volunteer for more than 20 years, three of those in South Texas. He was drawn to the Red Cross after retiring from AT&T and becoming active in his local county in Southern Missouri. The first time he attended a Red Cross training event he immediately recognized what they could do in his own county. He and his wife established a Red Cross presence in their area with 20 volunteers, eventually becoming captains and deploying around the country.

Treat is currently the Disaster Services Technology lead for the South Texas Chapter, where he serves as a mentor to both new and existing volunteers. Juergens says  he is a respected professional who leads by example and has a gift for identifying and developing volunteers in their best roles.  As a Staffing Services Supervisor, Treat has seen his share of disaster relief operations and is known and applauded for finding ways to get the job done in spite of any challenges. Through his leadership and sheer resourcefulness, Treat has been able to support and energize his volunteers, resulting in renewed commitments that helped build his team into one that is ready for whatever comes in blue or grey skies.

When asked what the awards meant to him, Treat said “I have had many blessings in my life. I was raised on an Indian reservation and grew up extremely poor. Throughout my life I have been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, but these two Red Cross awards – the Clara Barton Award and the Regional Volunteer of the Year Award – have completely blown me away. I feel like they define my life. My Indian name, translated into English, means Helping Hand.”

A recent news story shines a spotlight on Andy Treat’s strong dedication to the communities he serves. Click and watch here: Valley Central–Andy Treat