By Roylene Roberts

Volunteers are a valuable resource.  They give their time, training, education, and creativity to support the mission of the American Red Cross. Every volunteer is unique and contributes diversity and experience.

Deanna “Dee” Delesandri came into the Hill County Chapter office in Kerrville, TX about five years ago.  Dee recently retired from Peterson Medical Center as an IT and administrative support professional.  She was still consulting but was seeking an opportunity to use her skills and give back to her adopted community.

Dee is a native Texan, born in Hitchcock only 16 miles from the Gulf Coast.  She has experienced Texas hurricanes up close and personally.  She lived on a small ranch in Waelder, moved to Bandera (Cowboy Capital of the World), and finally to Kerrville.

Dee chose to stay in Kerrville near family members who had relocated to the area. She worked at the hospital. A friend gave her a black and silver Afghan hound named Simi.  He was the runt of the litter but grew to be a gorgeous dog who won several awards including the “Best of Breed” awarded in Kalamazo Michigan. Dee became interested in American Kennel Club conformation showings and not only showed her dog but assisted in the management of events.  She and her friend Bob often travel to AKC events across the southwest. 

Dee showing her Afghan, Simi.

Dee’s next dog was a black Afghan named Flirt whose coat occasionally had a bit of a purple tinge.  She earned the title of #1 AKC Lure Coursing Afghan Hound in the nation 2 years running.

Dee has become a keystone of the Hill Country chapter’s “steady state” office operations.  Her primary Disaster Service project is the Sound the Alarm campaign.  She assists in the organization of each event, preparing supplies, event mapping, data entry, and preparing the monthly supply inventory.  She provides logistic support and is responsible for ordering office supplies and assists with the building maintenance.  Dee assists the Executive Director by logging chapter fund raising donations into a database and acknowledging each donation with a personal “Thank You” card. Recently, she assisted in the preparation of a non-congregant living availability survey for counties within the Hill Country region.  In addition, she has responded to local disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and the recent tornadoes. Dee willingly accepts any challenge or project.  She once remarked at a volunteer meeting that she can operate a forklift, a tractor, and the ERV.  If you need something done or information about what is happening in the Hill Country chapter, just give her a call. 

Flirt lounging at home.

When asked what are the benefits of volunteering?  Dee responded: “There is a satisfaction in helping others; my mom was a nurse and it seems to be in my blood to help. It is an opportunity to make new friends that if not for the Red Cross I may not have met. I have the opportunity to put my years of experience and training to good use and I get to make a positive contribution to my community.”

When asked why do you volunteer?  Dee responded: “I have time, I need something to do, and Kerrville is my chosen home.  We are all a family.  The Red Cross volunteers, our clients and neighbors are part of my extended family.”

We are pleased that Dee is a member of our Hill Country family.