‘We All Have Our Own Paths’: 5 Questions with Red Cross Volunteer Sam Dueck

Sam Dueck is a Red Cross worker from Steinbach, Manitoba. He has worked in Jordan, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Germany and Canada. When he’s not overseas with the Red Cross, Sam is an in-demand flooring installer in southern Manitoba.

  1. Why did you first decide to join the Red Cross?
    • I’ve always had a sort of adventurous spirit, you know, wanting to backpack around the world, travel, live in a motorhome, maybe in a tree, that kind of thing. I also have a practical side which says, work hard, pay the bills, be responsible, pay taxes. I am also a Mennonite; working hard, helping others and being a good neighbour are values I hold very close to my heart. So I take this part of me that feels empathy towards all the peoples of the earth, match that with an adventurous spirit and go looking for a way to contribute positively in helping alleviate some the suffering and I find the Red Cross. The 7 fundamental principles of the Red Cross are an amazing set of principles not only on what the organization stands for but also a standard to try and live up to personally. Check them out, they are awesome!
  2. Describe a typical day on a Red Cross mission.
    • Most of the time I deploy internationally as a technician to work in field hospitals that we set up during a time of crisis or after a disaster. In the technician role I am in charge of the electricity, water, sanitation, security, tents, and all the infrastructure. I need to make sure everything is running properly so that the medical staff can work and take care of patients. We always work with many locals, training them on the use of the equipment as it is donated locally after the disaster. In that way they can respond to a new or recurring disaster using the new capacity.
  3. How did your friends and family react when you told them you were joining the Red Cross?
    • I know there were some people that felt uneasy or didn’t understand why I would want to go to some of the places I do. I get it, its dangerous, far away from home and among people and cultures they don’t understand. But that’s fine. For the most part everyone was very supportive and encouraging. It’s pretty important to have support from immediate family or you may be causing harm at home while saving people on the other side of the world. Everyone on earth has the same value, but you need to respect and love your family first.
  4. What do you do when you’re not working with the Red Cross?
    • I am self employed and work in Steinbach. I love working with my hands and nourish my creative side by working with wood and stone, my two favorite materials. I build custom tile showers, fireplaces that sort of thing. These endeavors help my practical side by earning money which in turn pays the bills. Being self employed gives me the freedom to go on Red Cross missions for weeks or months at a time without getting fired since I am the boss. The circle completes itself. I also enjoy my moped and photography. Those things don’t earn me money but they are good for my health.
  5. What have you learned about the world from working with the Red Cross?
    • I have learned that no matter who you are, where you are from or what your religion is, we are all the same. We all want safety for our families, to earn a living, to gather in community with others and to be treated with respect. I am hoping that I can help some people see tomorrow so they can keep working towards those goals.