Doing it for Mom: A Volunteer’s Journey to the Red Cross

I’ve been asked why we wanted to create a cycling event with the Red Cross throughout the course of our involvement by many friends and family. Until very recently, I thought I had a great story: when I was younger I couldn’t afford a car and when I could they broke down. So I would ride to and from work and school on my bike. This led to longer rides and culminated with a ride across the country as part of a charity event benefiting the American Cancer Society.

I have done numerous rides for various charities over the years and was always a blood donor for the Red Cross. One day my wife and I were talking about how the Red Cross should do such an event. In fact, I became adamant that the one thing all those rides had in common was that they all probably received support from the Red Cross in some form or another. Why not give the Red Cross something back?

SAF-Dog-Crop

The rest of the story is simple, we told our friend Ken Bauer who is on the local Red Cross Board and he wanted in,. We pitched it to the local CEO and BAM! We are putting together the 1st annual Operation: Ride for the Red bicycle ride to support Service for the Armed Forces, a program built to help local retired and active service personnel and their families. Given the location of a Red Cross office in Camarillo and that the routes going along two of the Ventura bases, it seemed a natural fit.

So what is my new story or explanation as to why we’re doing this? I was sharing our efforts with my Mother, Faye Delson, and she shared with me her involvement with the Red Cross. During World War II when both of her older brothers went oversees she was left to help her single mother raise her two younger sisters and find work where she could.

They happened to live near a Red Cross building and one day she decided she wanted to help but didn’t know how. The solution came from a Red Cross volunteer who offered to teach my mom how to knit. They would provide the materials, only if she would make a Red Cross sweater that would be sent overseas to a serviceman. She did, and has spent a lifetime knitting and later crocheting. I have watched her create many blankets over the years and never knew why she did it.

When she told her story to me I could see in her eyes that she was proud her son was paying back a gift of a lifetime. So now I just say I am doing it for my mom!

The first annual Operation: Ride for the Red event takes place on Saturday, November 7, 2015. Registration is still open – join us today!

Kevin Delson
Red Cross Volunteer

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