HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- Joe Hunkler may have retired as a General Electric engineer, but he is anything but retired. For the past 2 years, Monday through Friday, he has arrived at 5am every morning to the Red Cross Diamond Head Headquarters, ready to work a full 8-hour day, as one of Red Cross' hardest working volunteers. Even after he leaves the Red Cross office at 1pm, he continues to be on call every week day until 6pm to enable disaster victims to pay for essentials like food and clothing immediately after tragedy strikes.
During the 2008 hurricane season, he helped deploy 41 disaster volunteers from Hawaii to the Gulf Coast. When American Samoa got hit with a devastating tsunami, Joe not only prepared 20 Hawaii volunteers to deploy, but met them at the airport at 6am when they got back.
Joe recognized the difficulty of tracking and training new disaster volunteers, so he created a committee and Mentor Program to ensure that new volunteers were being nurtured and offered opportunities to serve.
Joe is so valued and depended upon, that it's hard to remember that he's not a paid staff member. He is enormously proud of the mission and work of the Red Cross, and knows that volunteers are the lifeblood of the Red Cross. Joe is a hero for making the Hawaii Red Cross the best it can be!