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  • Writer's pictureNEIA Red Cross

Nice to Meet You: Erica Mascarello

Erica Mascarello is part of our talented volunteer services team. She devotes her time to ensuring our volunteers feel engaged and appreciated. The American Red Cross is 90% run by volunteers, which makes volunteer satisfaction a key priority. Learn more about Erica's role with our Red Cross region.


Q: Could you explain what your title means and take us through your work day, or what projects you work on?

A: I am a volunteer engagement representative. Our Volunteer Engagement team is comprised of Nathan Woodruff and me. We kind of share all duties, but each of us focuses on certain aspects of engaging our volunteers. I mainly focus on recognition and appreciation. Events, swag, awards, thank you's, etc. All of my days are very different, which I like; and I get to work with all lines of service and all of our valued volunteer workforce throughout the region. The best part of my day is hearing from a volunteer about how they feel recognized and appreciated. I like that I can make dreams come true for our volunteers.

 


Erica Mascarello and family

Q: How long have you been with the Red Cross? Is this your first position with the Red Cross? If not, what was it?

A: This is not my first position. I started working for the Red Cross as far back as 1998. I have mostly worked in the Service to Armed Forces (SAF) department in many different locations throughout the country. My first Red Cross position was as a SAF Caseworker at the naval submarine base in Groton, Connecticut.  I started in my current position in April 2022. 

 

Q: What do you like about your work?

A: My job is a great balance of creativity and action. Sometimes it is a lot of planning and computer work. Other times it is recognition, like sending Red Cross items to volunteers, or implementing engagement events and sending prizes. 

 

Q: What do you like to listen to during the workday?

A: I have lots of playlists on Spotify. The 80s, Christian, Broadway, Flute Jazz. My interests vary. Some days you just need to belt out a Broadway tune and others, background jazz is what is required. 

 

Q: In what part of the region are you located, and what do you enjoy about your community?

A: I am in Bellevue, Nebraska, so kind of the middle of our region. I enjoy the military focus of where I live because it is a comfort for me to be around those who have lived as I have as a military spouse for many years. I enjoy supporting those who are living that life now in return.

 

Q: How do you spend your time when you aren't working?

A: If I am not at one of my daughter's bowling events, volunteering for a local dog rescue, at bible study, or doing household jobs, you will find me either reading, crocheting, creating pet paracord items, watching football, NASCAR Cup races and the Hallmark channel or out walking my dog. Oh, and I run a pet services business in my spare time.

 

Q: What has most surprised you while working for the Red Cross?

A: The sense of mission and purpose. In my previous positions with SAF, there was a different "mission" so to speak, centered around the emergency at that moment in time, a very narrow focus. Returning to the Red Cross in my current role, I was surprised by how much more the Red Cross does outside of the SAF line of service and how everyone involved in all of the lines of service focuses on mission and teamwork and by doing so, makes great strides. 

 

Q: What is a Red Cross moment that has stuck with you?

A: I had just returned to military casework after a short time away, and my first shift started at 4:30 P.M. after the office staff left. I worked remotely. No sooner did they turn the phones over to the answering service, and my pager started blowing up. By 6:00 PM, I had 14 active cases I was working on and about 10 more messages still to be answered. There had been a large tornado in a town near the local military installation where many military spouses lived. One of my return calls was to a very young mother with a newborn baby who, in tears, asked me if I thought it was safe to come out of the bathtub where she had been hunkered down with her baby for over an hour. I will never forget her shaky voice of desperation and the baby's cries. I helped her navigate out of the bathroom safely over the phone and asked her if she felt safe to provide the information I was going to need to begin the process of notifying her husband in the military about the damage and need at home. She said yes, but then just started sobbing. I just listened. I affirmed everything she was feeling. By 8:30 P.M. that night(my shift wasn't over until 8:30 P.M. the next day), I had handled over 40 requests for emergency communication messages. This was more than I normally did in a month of part-time shifts. Even though I had very little knowledge about all that the Red Cross provides in disaster situations, I knew I provided my part of the service I was tasked with to the best of my ability, and another Red Crosser would be helping that young mother and her baby find a safe place to lay their head for however long was needed. 

 

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