Congratulations to Nancy Mirhashemi, Disaster Volunteer

Each year, the Chamber commends and highlights People You Should Know in its feature of the same name. This year, they asked for nominations of individuals in our community who Lead the Way in their corner of the world.  We are very proud to have Lead Disaster Volunteer, Nancy Mirhashemi, selected as one of the 20 community members highlighted in the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Bay Business Journal!

Continue reading to get to know a little bit more about Nancy, and the amazing work she does for the American Red Cross! Congratulations!

 In a paragraph or two, why did you think of this individual as one of this year’s People You Should Know? What’s his/her story?

It is Nancy’s dedication, commitment, and passion for her volunteer work as a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Team that made us think of her as someone “People Should Know.”

has been a volunteer for American Red Cross for five years. She started with the organization when she watched the devastation that was going on surrounding Hurricane Katrina, Wilma and Rita. The Red Cross put out a call for help and Nancy was there to answer it. Since her first national deployment to Florida for Hurricane Wilma, Nancy has gone out on two other national disaster assignments. These assignments are usually 2-3 weeks, and you leave at a moment’s notice when called upon. Because of a supportive family and spouse, she is able to answer the call for help both locally and nationally when needed. 

How does your nominee “Lead the Way” / exhibit innovativeness in his/her job?

Nancy “leads the way” through her volunteer work by being a mentor to new disaster team members and is a team leads for the disaster services department. What does this mean? As a lead, Nancy coordinates the relief efforts in disasters that affect Red Cross clients. She is on call two weeks of every month from 6:00am-6:00pm to respond to disasters anywhere in our eight county areas. A few examples of these disasters include: single and multiple family fires; Climatic events such as floods, snow/ice storms, tornados, hurricanes; and power outages. These types of disasters result in horrific situation, regardless of the severity.

One never knows what they may come across when they go to the scene of a disaster situation. This is the atmosphere in which Nancy excels in because of her calm nature, critical thinking skills, and flexible nature. An example of her creative thinking was the night of the Port Plaza fire three years ago. It was hard for the residents to identify who to go to for assistance with so many people at the scene. Nancy grabbed a jesters hat with bells hanging from the tips (that she happened to have in her car) and put it on her head to started gathering the residents of the building – all 140 of them. She has said, “God has blessed me in many ways and I can give back by helping people find peace in the middle of chaos.”

 When she is not “on call” you can find her in our disaster storage room organizing it, inventorying the supplies, restocking the disaster van and helping where ever she is needed.

(l-r) Hossein and Nancy Mirhashemi, with Nancy's parents, Marjorie and Richard Stolz

“Its Nancy spirit for her work and passion that distinguishes her,” said Steve Maricque, Executive Director, American Red Cross. “She truly wants to help people during a time of need and make a difference in their lives. It doesn’t matter whether its day or night. She’s ready, willing and able to respond and help in a moment’s notice.”

If fact, she’s always prepared to respond. Many times just being in the area, she will not wait for a call but rather will arrive on the scene and provide immediate assistance and feedback regarding a disaster situation. It’s this passion to help others that makes a difference in our community.

 One example of her readiness was on Friday, November 5, 2010.  Nancy was driving over the Mason St. Bridge and saw heavy smoke coming from the downtown area. She drove down to the scene and discovered a large apartment fire and immediately went into action asking the emergency personnel how can the Red Cross help? She was on the scene to help the people affected even before Red Cross was called to help.  “Nancy is the go-to person for the Red Cross disaster team,” said Yvonne Duffek, Red Cross Disaster Volunteer. “She has all the skills to manage any unexpected problem that arises–in a calm professional manner.

How has the nominee benefited the company through his/her role? Or made a significant impact?

We need people, like Nancy, who give of themselves in such an unselfish manner to help others, who are sometimes at their lowest point. Volunteers constitute 96 percent of our total work force to carry on the humanitarian work of the American Red Cross. We could not provide the services we do in our community without volunteers.

“Nancy possesses and displays the positive, empathetic, and knowledgeable spirit necessary to lead others in the achievement of the goals for the Red Cross Disaster Action Teams, said John Fairchild, Lead Disaster Team Volunteer. “She will remain on- scene and off-scene to assure all efforts have been exhausted. She is a great advocate and devotee for the American Red Cross.”