Meet Ken Noltie
Updated: Feb 18
Ken Noltie says the best part of his job is “getting to talk to the old rusty crusties every day.” As an American Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces volunteer and the Military Hospital Clinic Lead aboard Offutt AFB, Noltie he has regular interaction with those visiting the clinic.
“Hearing their stories and experiences is far better than any history book one can pick up off the shelf at the library,” Noltie said. “Here, I am hearing it in real life.”
Since 1995, Noltie has volunteered his time in many different areas, changing lives one person at a time. His volunteering career began during his 36 years of living in San Diego while an active member of the Navy.
From the East Coast to the Midwest, Noltie has proven his passion for helping and interacting with people, as he has dedicated his life to helping others.
Noltie medically retired from the military after spending 10 years working as an aviation storekeeper. He worked on the flight deck, loading and unloading flight craft. After retirement, Noltie knew that his paychecks could be better spent in a smaller town than in a bigger city. He also didn’t want to completely leave his military background behind.
“I wanted to stay connected to the military because of the brotherhood that is created within the years of service,” Noltie stated.
While looking for a new home, Noltie searched for a quiet, smaller-sized town that was near a military base and near the Missouri River. He found Plattsmouth, Nebraska; it was a perfect fit.
Plattsmouth is a short distance from Offutt Air Force Base (AFB). It is where Noltie did not just discover a new life, but also new opportunities. He found the American Red Cross and now is an active volunteer.
Kevin Zuroski, the Services the Armed Forces (SAF) Director for the Red Cross of Kansas, Nebraska and Southwest Iowa, says Noltie has been the driving force in the growth of the SAF footprint within the clinic as the liaison between the SAF Director and the military leadership. He ensures that all volunteers are informed of specific healthcare setting requirements. Zuroski calls him the first “Red Crosser” that clinical residents meet when they arrive at the treatment facility.
Noltie welcomes residents to Offutt and thoroughly explains what the Red Cross does to support the clinic. The clinic is Noltie’s favorite part of his volunteer work and the area he is most passionate about. He loves interacting with the people who come and go throughout the clinic. Zuroski points out that Notlie’s commitment to the mission and understanding is the framework for volunteer services in the Military Treatment Facilities. He encourages professional volunteers such as registered nurses, physicians’ assistants, nursing students and nurses’ aides to join the volunteers for the Red Cross and he ensures that these credentialed professionals are in-processed immediately.
“Ken is dedicated to the cause and highly respected by all levels of leadership, which has really made our program one of kind,” Zuroski said. “The organization couldn’t do it without him.”
Noltie plans to continue his work at Offutt AFB and around Omaha. He believes that one can make the world a better place one person at a time, and he will continue to do so in whatever way he can. Outside of his normal duties at the clinic, Noltie assists the military community by volunteering in various settings such as the Veteran Affairs, Back to School Program for Youth aboard Offutt AFB and Children of Deployed Service members. He is a perfect example of a volunteer who goes above and beyond what is expected of him. He is cherished by his co-workers, clinical residents, friends and everyone he meets daily.
His advice to anyone who is looking to start volunteering to “pick a subject that you are passionate about, and if that particular spot doesn’t meet your needs, don’t give up, keeping looking for that interesting subject.”