The heart is said to be one of the strongest and most hardworking muscles in the human body. But the strongest heart is said to be that which beats selflessly in the service of others, that of a volunteer.
December 5 is a special day dedicated to this special breed of individuals who risk and put their lives on the line to help people facing the worst times of their lives – accidents, disasters and conflicts. For the Philippine Red Cross, its 2 million volunteers are the lifeline of the organization, the ones who make people feel that the Red Cross is everywhere for everyone, the ones who make them smile during the hardest of times, the ones who give hope, the ones who restore their faith in humanity. Volunteers are the front liners, the prime movers, the ones who lift the heavy loads.
For PRC, the organization has been led by personalities noted for their volunteering work, personalities such as Governor Corazon Alma De Leon, former Secretary General of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC). Governor De Leon has been a volunteer since her grade school years. Aptly named Corazon which means heart and de Leon which translates to lion, a lion heart, the strength of her will to volunteer and serve earned her the award as the Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) in 2016. She is still a very active member of the PRC board of governors of and heads the Volunteer Service Committee. In all this, she has been guided by the principle that “volunteerism is the highest form of public and community service”.
The Commanding General of PRC’s army of volunteers and the man behind the successful Red Cross 143 Program continues to work towards having volunteers in every barangay of the country, PRC Chairman Richard Gordon has championed volunteerism since his days in Olongapo and Subic. Both a public official and Red Cross volunteer, he would always say that “If I were to choose between being a senator and being a volunteer, I will choose to be a volunteer.” Chairman Gordon regards volunteers as priceless and calls them “a special breed of people who join causes bigger and beyond themselves.” He never fails to acknowledge volunteers and their work as making a difference in the lives of other people. Chairman Gordon is also an awardee of the Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
The Philippine Red Cross gives importance to December 5 as International Volunteers Day not just to give thanks to the selflessness of the volunteers but to celebrate the lives they live as men and women for others. As challenges to humanitarian work grow more and more complex and difficult, volunteers’ hearts and will to serve have risen to defy more and more odds to deliver service.
There is a saying going around that humanity is dead. Two million beating hearts, whose lives are being lived for others, will prove that saying wrong. If you have that heart which beats with the desire to move from spectator to participant, from mere bystander to a doer, the Philippine Red Cross welcomes you with open arms.—Source: (PRC)