Monday, April 24, 2017

National Volunteer Week: Dr. George Pantalos

What is service? Is it being enrolled in the armed forces? Is it fighting fires or helping people flee disasters? Is it helping families get in contact with loved ones overseas?

Service can be a multitude of different acts of kindness: Just ask the American Red Cross and their longtime man of service, Dr. George Pantalos. Dr. Pantalos first became involved with the Red Cross in 1962. Initially serving as a swim and first aid instructor, Dr. Pantalos has served the Red Cross in many roles throughout the years.

Dr. Pantalos in the process of
during a competition
to see who could bring in the most donors.
One of the significant ways Dr. Pantalos contributes to the Red Cross is through blood, plasma, and platelet donations, with his first donation occurring 22 years ago during graduate school. Pantalos attended Ohio State University (OSU) for training in biomedical engineering and cardiovascular physiology. His donations continued when he took a faculty position at the University of Utah and increased in frequency when he moved to Louisville due to the Red Cross’ proximity to his office.

Dr. Pantalos understands the importance of blood in sustaining life and the large impact donations can have on those whose well-being relies on such donations. Dr. Pantalos’ wife and three children also share his dedication to blood and blood product donation. Pantalos enjoys participating in the annual blood donation competition between OSU and their Michigan rivals. Pantalos and his daughter Natalie, a current OSU student, refer to this annual participation as their “daddy daughter donor date.”

The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of the blood donations through establishing criteria to decrease the risk of transmitting infectious diseases. While everyone may not be able to donate blood or blood products for a diverse range of reasons, Dr. Pantalos emphasizes the many avenues individuals can take to get involved with the Red Cross and ensures that “one way or another, there is a place for you here.”

Knowing that hundreds of thousands people are positively helped by the Red Cross gives Dr. Pantalos a sense of pride in his beloved organization, and motivates him to continue serving through monthly blood donations and other means. He appreciates everything the Red Cross has to offer and helps to support every aspect of the Red Cross. To answer the question “what is service?” look no further than Dr. Pantalos. He is true model of what service looks like and will continue to be a part of the Red Cross family for as long as he can. Dr. Pantalos’ advice to those who are thinking about becoming a part of the Red Cross team is to work hard, learn a lot, make new friends, and enjoy the people you work with.

If you would like to find out more about joining the Red Cross as a volunteer, please visit

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