By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer
CLEVELAND – Decades of volunteer service will be honored next week when American Red Crosser Mark Cline receives the top individual award from Greater Cleveland Volunteers.
Cline will be in the spotlight when the David F. Leahy Volunteer Excellence Award is presented at Greater Cleveland Volunteers’ annual “Sparkle at the Zoo” benefit Sept. 21 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
“I volunteer with the Red Cross because it gives me the opportunity to use my 40+ years of emergency response training,” Mark says. “Helping people prepare for a disaster or helping people in need after a disaster makes me feel like I’m making a difference in their lives.”
Actually, Mark – now 61 – has been serving the people of northeast Ohio since he was old enough to join Boy Scouts. He worked his way up through the scouting program to the rank of Eagle Scout. He went on to become an Explorer Scout with the Wickliffe Fire Department, eventually becoming a part-time firefighter and EMT.
Helping those in need motivated Mark to join the Emergency Response Team at Cleveland Hopkins Airport while he was working for Continental Airlines. He also took on the role of Explorer post advisor, working with teens interested in aviation.
When back injuries ended Mark’s days on the tarmac, he went looking for other opportunities to serve. That’s when he discovered the Red Cross. Since joining the Greater Cleveland Chapter in March 2016, he’s been putting in 40 hours a week with disaster services.
Mark is a Disaster Action Team (DAT) leader, administrator-on-call and DAT induction trainer, a presenter for the Pillowcase disaster preparedness program, and volunteer partner of the chapter’s disaster program manager (DPM), Jeremy Bayer.
“Mark is a tremendous asset to the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland,” Jeremy says. “His personal sacrifice of time and energy has made countless numbers of people more comfortable in their time of need during disasters. Mark is also an integral part in the administration as the DPM (Disaster Program Manager) volunteer partner of the Greater Cleveland Chapter.”
The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people, who donate time, financial support and life-sustaining blood to help those in need. Volunteers are always welcome and you don’t have to commit 40 hours a week like Mark.
To learn more about the many volunteer opportunities within the Red Cross – from preventing and responding to disasters to serving our armed forces to teaching first aid, babysitting or water safety skills – visit https://www.redcross.org/local/ohio/northeast/volunteer.html