Red Cross director to retire

Published 8:51 am Monday, March 19, 2007

After five years and two hurricanes, John Goodrich is retiring — but that doesn’t mean you won’t see him around.

Goodrich currently serves as executive director for the Adams County chapter of the Red Cross and helped the organization aid the flood of evacuees when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the coast.

He formally announced his plans to retire at a Red Cross board meeting Thursday, he said.

Email newsletter signup

Goodrich first got involved with the Red Cross in 2002, when he was asked to be a member of the board.

“When my predecessor left, I was the only one who was really retired,” he said. “So, I sat in for an interim and went ahead and applied for it.”

His tentative date to leave the position is May 4. After a fall from a roof onto a concrete slab a few months ago, he’s still recovering from some back and neck injuries, he said.

“Sitting behind a desk, I’m not getting the exercise which would create a healthy environment in which to recover,” Goodrich aid. “I still have some back pain, shoulder pains, things working in the yard would help fix. Pushing a pen is not great exercise. I need to push a lawnmower a little bit more.”

But he won’t be leaving the Red Cross completely, Goodrich said.

“I’m going to stay as a volunteer, and I’m going to help the new director, whoever it might be,” he said. “I’ll be staying involved in the community. I always have, and I suppose I always will.”

The board will start the selection process in the next two or three weeks.

Though the job can be challenging, it has its moments, too, he said. Getting thank-yous from victims of house fires and drawings from children displaced by Katrina are rewarding.

“I had a guy two years ago who wanted to get recertified for CPR,” Goodrich said. “He had saved a guy who had gone into cardiac arrest, and he even got a letter from the president.”

The time that sticks out most in his mind is serving people who had to evacuate because of the hurricanes, he said.

“We issued 11,500 checks for $13.5 million in five days with no problems,” he said. “We did things right here. That’s got to be a high point.”

Heather Kearney, a Red Cross volunteer, said Goodrich played a key role in helping her get her feet on the ground.

“I came into the Red Cross with really limited Red Cross experience,” Kearney said. “As a kid, I did the lifesaving and baby-sitting lessons, but I really didn’t know about how the Red Cross worked.

“He’s the one who sat down with me and helped me learn and helped me find where I could donate my time. He’s so knowledgeable and so dedicated to it.”

Red Cross board member Angie Brown said Goodrich was a tremendous asset to the organization.

“He’s a really great guy to work with,” Brown said. “His military background is absolutely wonderful. It’s helped a lot in keeping things organized.”

And when things get stressful, Goodrich steps in then, too, she said.

“He’s got a good sense of humor,” she said.

“He can lighten the mood.”

As a manager, he lets people do what they need to but helps where he’s needed, she said.

“He doesn’t micromanage, and he doesn’t interfere,” she said. “But he’s always there if you have questions or concerns. And if he doesn’t know the answer, he will get it for you.”

Board Chairman Stan Owens said John has helped the chapter tremendously and was an enormous asset.

“He loves what he did — he put his all into it,” he said.

“He’s going to be missed, without a doubt. He’s a special fellow.”

When Goodrich stepped in, the chapter was close to losing its charter, Owens said. But with his help, the chapter will celebrate its 90th year in April.

“He and a bunch of people worked really hard, and John was one of the main ones behind saving our charter,” Ownes said.

“He was instrumental in keeping our charter locally, and that was a great plus to our community.”