Red Cross hires new director
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 25, 2004 1:59 PM
The Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross has a new director.
Chuck Waller, 44, took over the directorship Friday. Waller had been the interim director since May 1 when Cindy Bell left to take a job in Asheville.
During his time as interim director, Waller said, the chapter's main goal was to "make sure that our service delivery didn't miss a beat so we could be there when folks needed us to be there.
"We still collected blood. We still taught health and safety classes. We still helped victims of single-family fires. We still handled emergency communications."
After taking over as director, Waller began gathering data for the chapter's internal audit, planning the annual meeting and doing an allocations package for United Way.
One of his goals is to keep the Red Cross visible in this community through the news media and let people know what the Red Cross is doing.
Waller's first experience with the Red Cross dates back to 1984 when a tornado ripped through Mount Olive. "My mother was on the Red Cross board at that time and she asked me to help set up a shelter," he said. "Seeing the hardships that those people had to endure always stuck with me. I wanted to help. I was hooked."
Since that time, he has done everything from picking up paper to raising money for the chapter to teaching Red Cross classes in the schools. He has also served on the Red Cross board three terms and has been board chairman several times. He was board chairman when he became interim director.
Waller noted that the chapter has made lengthy strides in the last four or five years in community outreach, such as the Home Alone program in the schools, water safety awareness day, the Heroes Campaign. He said there are new things coming on the horizon.
"And that's the result of the efforts of an awful lot of people -- volunteers and staff," he said.
Waller said he gives a lot of his time to the Red Cross because it "touches everybody. A lot of the other entities out there are for specific people. Everybody needs blood. Everybody's kid needs to learn how to swim. Everybody needs shelter from natural disasters."
He said there's no question in his mind that the chapter is needed. "Ask the people who receive blood we collect," he said. "Ask the people we help whose houses have burned down. Ask the people who get those emergency communications delivered in the middle of the night. Ask the people who go to the shelters when the winds howl.
"I think Red Cross will be here forever, and I think it needs to be."
Donna Edmundson, Red Cross board chairman, said the board "certainly feels that Chuck has been an outstanding volunteer for years with the Red Cross. He displays a passion for service. ...
"We feel he is absolutely the person for the job and that he will enable the board and Red Cross staff to move forward to make sure we take care of our community needs."
Prior to his involvement with the Red Cross, Waller worked in mortgage lending for 15 years, then as a stock broker for five years.
"At the end of 2001 I decided that I was just going to walk away from it all and do volunteer work," he said. He has been volunteering full-time at the chapter ever since.
He is a graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan College. He has been married to his wife, Lisa, for 20 years, and they have two daughters, Jessica and Katherine.
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