Helen Golod has been with the Martin County Chapter of the American Red Cross in Disaster Services only four years, but her original affiliation with the Red Cross goes back to a hospital in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. She wrote letters for GIs and did what she could to help alleviate their suffering. When she retired to Martin County, she remembered the satisfaction she got from that work and decided the Red Cross mission was one she could wholeheartedly commit to.
Golod’s commitment to disaster relief service has been the focus of her life over the past four years with our chapter. At the local level, she serves as a leadership member of our Disaster Response Team. In this capacity, Golod’s wears a pager around the clock for two weeks at a time. Pager communication enables rapid response to 911 operators, who alert the on-duty DRT captain when a fire, hazmat spill, or other community disaster requires direct relief assistance to victims or canteening for fire/rescue workers. Golod has responded in all weather and at all hours to bring Red Cross relief when it is most needed in our community.
Golod’s is a skilled and caring caseworker who is much in demand at disasters on the national level as well. She has worked 12- to 15- hour days on 14 different national disaster relief jobs, often in primitive conditions, at the scene of disasters caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding, tornadoes, and terrorism. Golod spent a total of 10 weeks in New York City after the fall of the World Trade Center Towers. For three weeks in NYC, she supervised a team of social workers working the high-rise buildings around Ground Zero to identify individuals, families, and businesses affected by the terrorism with either immediate or long-term needs. They literally pounded the pavement with a goal of offering immediate aid and comfort to any who needed it and to familiarize all victims with the range of services available to help them cope with disruption of their lives and other losses.
As a member of the Red Cross roster of national disaster workers, Golod has rapidly risen from an inexperienced technician to a highly regarded team supervisor in less than three years. Golod does not passively wait to be called into action as a disaster relief worker. She shares her expertise at her home chapter by serving as coordinator of local disaster volunteers, staffing all special events sponsored by the Disaster Services division and ensuring that trained shelter workers are available for our 6-month hurricane season. Golod is an active trainer and has taught dozens of classes to new recruits.