Patrick Campbell, with wife Adriana Rojas and daughter Lila, accepted the Governor’s Fire Services Award for Civilian Excellence in Virginia Fire Service Support on Feb. 25 at the Virginia Fire and Rescue Conference in Virginia Beach. Campbell is senior disaster program manager for the American Red Cross Virginia Region. A military veteran with more than 14 years of experience in disaster recovery, capacity building and response, he earned his bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University. (Courtesy photo)

Red Cross disaster program manager earns excellence award for promoting fire safety in at-risk communities

Patrick Campbell ’12, MA ’14 (conflict transformation) was honored with the Governor’s Fire Services Award for Civilian Excellence in Virginia Fire Service Support. He accepted the award Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Virginia Fire and Rescue Conference in Virginia Beach.

As senior disaster program manager for the American Red Cross Virginia Region, Campbell helped launch a campaign in 2015 to reduce home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent by the end of 2019. He worked with communities, government partners and stakeholders to install smoke alarms and provide fire and disaster safety education to at-risk communities, according to a release issued by Virginia Department of Fire Prevention.

“This award means that we are not doing it alone, but created a coalition,” Campbell said. “Our program has earned credibility and the respect of our colleagues in the fire service.”

He also praised members of his Red Cross team and fire marshals Ron Reynolds and J.D. Jenkins in the State Fire Marshals office for their partnership.

Campbell was called a “relentless champion” of the project, according to the press release. “As a result of Patrick’s leadership and partnership with fire departments and fire marshals across Virginia, more than 4,579 households have been made safer. Since 2015, more than 11,059 smoke alarms have been installed throughout the state.”

Campbell helped spread the message through a state-wide speaking tour. He also built ties with Meals on Wheels, receiving national recognition that led to the two organizations forming a national partnership to provide safety information and smoke alarms to another at-risk population.

“We are saving lives, and many of the homes we enter do not have alarms,” Campbell said. “The trust people have in the Red Cross has allowed us to help undocumented migrant communities, hearing impaired, refugee populations and low-income communities.”

Campbell has memories of responding to house fires in which families have died because of lack of a smoke alarm. “For me, it is about never responding again to a house fire where families have died. You never forget those fire calls. They live with you because it could happen to anyone.”

Campbell, a military veteran, graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in history from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU). In 2014, he earned a master’s degree in conflict transformation from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He has more than 14 years of experience in disaster recovery, capacity building and response.

In addition to his daily responsibilities in Virginia, he also a member of the Red Cross’s Disaster Management Response Team, available to deploy to disaster areas around the country. Campbell also teaches courses in project and program management at EMU.

He is married to Dr. Adriana Rojas, professor of Spanish.

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