Monday, April 11, 2011

Real Hero - Mike Delaney

Nominator: Ralph Goldbeck

Michael Delaney was recruited in 2002 to join a Red Cross advisory committee that was being assembled to re-organize the local chapter. The advisory committee later transformed into a new board of directors and Michael was elected chair. This was a very critical time for our local Red Cross chapter, as levels of financial contributions had fallen to an all-time low in the wake of the enormous outpouring of support for the 9/11 Freedom Fund. The local chapter was severely challenged with a new board, no CEO and operational cash flow of less than 30 days.

Over the next three years, under Michael’s guidance, the board continued to strengthen, fundraising started to increase, and the chapter’s financial position started to stabilize. When the Hurricane Season of 2005 arrived with three major hurricanes in 45 days, the Fresno-Madera Counties Chapter had strengthened to a point where it was able to recruit and train over 300 volunteers and dispatch over 150 personnel directly to the Gulf Coast.

Typically the board chair only serves a two year term, but Michael’s term of service was far from typical. He and the Board agreed that his leadership was still needed as the American Red Cross was re-structuring into a regional format. Under Michael’s leadership, the chapter stabilized enough to be selected by Red Cross National Headquarters as a regional chapter with oversight of a seven county area covering 25,000 square miles.

It is easy to step into a leadership position when the road is paved and things are operating smoothly, but to step into the board chair position as Michael did -took faith, determination and courage. Michael’s sacrifice, resolve and effort in guiding our local chapter during a critical time of need were exemplary, and are truly deserving of the Ambassador of the Year award.

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