By Vicky Brown, American Red Cross

H. Rick Goff has worn many hats: Husband, father, veteran, scholar, public official and author.  Now he’s got a new one: American Red Cross volunteer.

Goff brings with him 20 years of experience in the U.S. Air Force and 15 years as a corporate executive with Six Flags theme parks and SiriusXM radio.

“The military helped shape me to be what I am today, teaching leadership, compassion and understanding,” said Goff, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in intelligence and operations management. “The corporate experience enhanced my people skills in working with different personalities.”

Goff couldn’t simply sit at home in San Antonio while his fellow Texans were suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. His wife of 35 years, Carol, urged him to take action. And he wanted to continue to set an example for his two adult sons, showing them the importance of giving back and making a difference.

“I have always been a news junkie.  I couldn’t watch anymore on TV. I had to do something,” he said. “I always had the desire, but didn’t know where to channel my energy until I found the Red Cross.

“I have a lot of operational experience to help make processes more efficient. I want to touch people and be on the ground.  I want to be directly involved with helping.”

As assistant manager of the Red Cross Greenspoint shelter, Goff helps see to it that more than 500 residents have a clean, comfortable and orderly place to stay, three meals a day, and health and emotional support.

“I find it rewarding, and challenging,” he said. “I feel I’m helping in the small victories.  If someone asks for something like a clean shirt or a toothbrush, I can help. It’s the little victories that send me home happy each night.

“There are challenges, like not knowing all the answers and (residents’) uncertainty of being homeless, but basic needs are being met.  People are being fed, sheltered and moving on.”

“Rick’s contribution to the Red Cross mission, and our shelter in particular, cannot be overstated,” said his supervisor, Greenspoint shelter manager Amy Hegy.

“His Air Force experience and corporate leadership are apparent throughout his time with me. He took ownership of tasks, provided strong leadership to his team and simply got the job done.

“And most importantly, he did it all in a client focused and compassionate manner.”

Goff speaks with command authority when he talks about the opportunity to help his fellow man.

“There are many ways people can give and support disaster relief. Go to the Red Cross web site.  Find out where you fit in.  Be involved personally,” he said. “It is the greatest sense of satisfaction in helping.  Remember, (being displaced by a disaster) could have happened to any one of us.  Any one of us could need help.”

Rick Goff
Tracy Olson (left) and Rick Goff help move supplies from the Red Cross shelter at the Chinese Community Center Shelter into the new Greenspoint shelter. (Red Cross photo by Vicky Brown)