Donald Springer was inspired to volunteer at the age of ten. He and his mother were the first on the scene when a small plane crashed in Wappingers Falls, New York in 1968. His mother began administering first aid to the victims while he stood watching in his Cub Scout uniform. He decided after that experience that he wanted to always be prepared to help in case of an emergency.
Mr. Springer took the Standard First Aid Instructor course through the American Red Cross at the age of 12. He became the youngest instructor ever to be certified to teach. He then joined the Civil Air Patrol and attended “Ranger” training camp two years later at the age of 14 to begin a career in Land/Air Search and Rescue.
In 1975, Mr. Springer enlisted early in the New York Guard and became a New York EMT. One year later he joined the Sloper-Willen Volunteer Ambulance Service and the Dutchess County Ambulance Service. He then became certified as a dispatcher, driver and eventually an attendant.
Mr. Springer moved west to Utah in 1978 and continued his work. He began teaching classes for the Red Cross there and was able to help the Salt Lake Public Works with sand-bagging the Jordan River in 1982. During the floods of 1983, he served as Shelter Manger for the Farmington Shelter and Murray Armory Shelter. Mr. Springer served on the Disaster Action Teams until 1987, and he continued to teach First Aid and CPR classes. He also developed a communications plan for the Salt Lake Chapter of the Red Cross and received the “Volunteer of the Year” award for 1987 from the Salt Lake Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Mr. Springer took a break from his volunteer service to attend college; however, in 1995, he took a Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) course and became involved with the newly formed citizen advisory board called the Association of Valley Emergency Response Teams (AVERT). He joined AVERT in 1998 as a Director of Team Support and was elected as Chair of AVERT in 2001.
Since that time, Mr. Springer has reorganized AVERT. He has planned and implemented CERT drills and emergency preparedness fairs, developed the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile Non-medical Volunteer program for the Utah Department of Health and worked countless hours promoting the CERT program throughout the world. Since 1996, he has also maintained AVERT’s web site and has helped in the formation of new CERT groups and helped arrange advanced training in their areas.