10/23/2014 1:12:17 AM
Siena Success: Jerry DeFrancisco '68
Monday, July 15, 2013
The Red Cross is a small symbol with large significance across the globe. “The Red Cross is the second most recognizable symbol in the world after Coca-Cola," said Red Cross President of Humanitarian Services Jerry DeFrancisco ’68.
DeFrancisco has traveled the world working to deliver the organization’s mission of helping people in their time of need. He now oversees more than 1,500 local Red Cross locations across the country and around the world. “Everywhere I’ve been, we’ve been welcome with open arms because that symbol, that Red Cross symbol means so much to people. And when they see it, right away they know these are people that are here to help," DeFrancisco said.
Since joining the Red Cross nearly five years ago, DeFrancisco has been charged with mobilizing some 32,000 people during crises, including large-scale natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy. “The scope of the disaster was far beyond anything we’ve dealt with, certainly over the last five years. So it was rewarding, but challenging at the same time because we had to modify our procedures to deal with a densely urban population," DeFrancisco said.
He has met with everyone from Siena College students to world leaders, including President Barack Obama. DeFrancisco said the most rewarding part of his job is working with the people within his organization. “The people at the Red Cross are incredibly dedicated to the mission and humanitarian causes. They’re here because they want to help people," DeFrancisco said. “It’s a great job. It’s kind of like my third career and I’m really enjoying it.”
Fr. Peter Fiore, O.F.M. and Fr. John Van Hook, O.F.M. were particularly influential in DeFrancisco’s development as a student and he said the College’s Franciscan values and sense of community have stuck with him throughout his life. He remains close with the group of friends he made at Siena 45 years ago. He also learned that, regardless of what’s happening on the job, family comes first. “I think the other thing Siena gives you, because of the community feeling, is a tremendous sense of family. My family has always been extremely supportive," DeFrancisco said.
Contact: Ken Jubie
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