Retired postal employee and Pioneer resident Paul Keeton follows his passion for disaster response across the country.
Paul Keeton has had the spirit of volunteerism with him his whole life, and throughout his 32- year career as a postal employee, he always made time to give back.
After retirement, that passion for giving would eventually take him all over the country as a volunteer with the Red Cross. Over the course of more than 30 disaster site deployments, Keeton found his second calling as a rescue worker in shelters across the United States.
“I went to an emergency preparedness fair in 2007 where the Red Cross had a booth, and they asked me to join the local chapter,” Keeton says. “I said, ‘Sure,’ because the mission of helping people just really resonates with me... and deploying to help people affected by disasters is my No. 1 priority.”
Keeton started out as a member of the Red Cross’s Disaster Action Team (DAT). When disasters strike, DAT members are deployed to provide emotional support, financial assistance, and information to help families begin the process of recovery.
He has since become an integral, experienced leader among fellow Red Cross volunteers. Over the past 14 years, he has responded to everything from house fires to hurricanes, including a 2012 deployment to Florida to help residents displaced by Hurricane Sandy.
Keeton says his experience speaks to the breadth of opportunities available to make a difference in the lives of others with the Red Cross. Leveraging those opportunities, he says, has led to some of the most meaningful work of his life, and he is adamant about the immense value it brings to clients and volunteers alike.
“It’s such an important part of humanity to be compassionate and concerned for fellow people in society,” Keeton says. “Everyone needs help at some point in their lives. And for you to be able to meet that need, it’s good for your soul.”
If you would like to sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer, visit redcross.org.