Cherished volunteer is taking her talents to Toledo

Lake to River Chapter says goodbye to Tab Alden

August 16, 2019- The first moon landing was still a year away when Tab Alden first volunteered for the American Red Cross.  She has been a mainstay in the Lake to River Chapter ever since, screening prospective volunteers when they first come through the door of the Youngstown office, registering guests at the annual Acts of Courage awards, and visiting hospitalized veterans at the region’s VA facilities are among the many tasks she has tackled in the past 51 years.

Tab doesn’t plan to stop volunteering for the Red Cross anytime soon.  But she does plan to do it from a different location.

Tab is moving back to Toledo.

“It’s important to be with family, and I have a brother and nieces and nephews back in Toledo.  I’m moving back to be with them.”

The staff of the Lake to River Chapter surprised Tab with a going away party on Thursday, August 15. She reminisced about the more than half a century she has spent as a Red Cross volunteer.

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“It may be hard to believe, but I wasn’t very outspoken back then,” she said.  “The Red Cross helped bring me out of my shell.”

Karen Conklin, the executive director of the Lake to River Chapter, said she’s known Tab longer than almost anyone else. “She’s been with me so long, I can’t imagine what it will be like without her.”

She said Tab will always have her Red Cross family in the Lake to River Chapter.  “We’re going to miss her.  We’ve been so blessed to have her here for so long.”

See more photos from Tab’s going away party in our Flickr album.

Volunteer dedicates ‘heart and soul’ during five decades of service

A volunteer profile will post here each day during National Volunteer Week

By Mark Sitch, American Red Cross volunteer

April 11, 2019- Volunteers are the lifeblood of the American Red Cross. But not many can say they have over five decades of service. In line with National Volunteer Week, we found a super committed volunteer in Tab Alden, who serves in the Lake to River Chapter. So naturally, I had some questions about her resilient service.

What was your profession before your volunteer career?

I was a bus driver for the Maplewood and Champion school districts in Trumbull County transporting and working with mentally challenged children and adults. I was also a workshop specialist for the developmental disabilities workshop program.

2017 Tab & VA patient

Tab Alden at the Cleveland VA Medical Center during the Christmas season 2017

How did you first become involved with the Red Cross?

I became involved while working with a CB radio group doing the communications between the Red Cross teams at football games in Warren.

What are some of the Red Cross services you’ve been involved with?

After my CB radio operator stint, I received certification to treat basic and advanced first aid and taught as an instructor and later was added as a receptionist. I currently serve our chapter as volunteer coordinator and all around go-to person in our office.

What do you like best about your volunteer experience?

Meeting new people and learning new methods of helping wherever I can. I’m presently learning the ins and outs of DAT (disaster action teams).

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Tab Alden with fellow Lake to River Chapter volunteers

Why should one consider volunteering for the Red Cross?

If someone is willing to give their time and energy for volunteering, there’s not a better place to learn what the Red Cross can do for you. You must be committed to giving your heart and soul to do what is asked and have patience.

What do others say about Tab’s volunteer service?

The executive director of the Lake to River Chapter, Karen Conklin, offered these comments about Tab’s demeanor: “Lucky me, the first day I walked into the Red Cross in 2010, the first smiling and familiar face to greet me with a hug was Tab! She made me feel at home because she was a volunteer when I was CEO for another organization.”  Karen added, “For me, Tab is not just an amazing volunteer but also a good friend and my go-to when something needs done.”

The Lake to River Red Cross is blessed they have such a dedicated volunteer they can count on every day!

For more information and to learn of volunteering opportunities with the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, visit redcross.org/volunteer or call 216-431-3328.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.