Texas Gulf Coast Region Interim Executive Shawn Schulze: “Service is in my Blood.”

Style Magazine Newswire | 1/11/2024, 12:31 p.m.
Shawn Schulze says he learned the power and value of the American Red Cross decades before he assumed a leadership …
Shawn Schulze, interim executive of the Texas Gulf Coast Region

Shawn Schulze says he learned the power and value of the American Red Cross decades before he assumed a leadership role in the organization.

Schulze, 53, who recently assumed the role of interim executive of the Texas Gulf Coast Region, first came into contact with the Red Cross in the sixth grade when he and his family were flood victims in his native Victoria, Texas. After his grandfather rescued them by boat, he remembers being given a five-gallon Red Cross bucket filled with personal items to help them address their most basic needs at a time of trauma and tragedy – including an oversized Red Cross T-shirt.

“We moved into a little motel, and I remember wearing that shirt every night for some time. It is a powerful memory. It was probably a month until we figured out how to get back into a different house,” Schulze said. “I understood two things: the power of water and how destructive it was. And I understood that the Red Cross was powerful as well.”

Schulze’s admiration for the Red Cross was reinforced during three years in the U.S Air Force and another 22 years in the U.S. Army. Through Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces, he could see first-hand the organization’s commitment to the military and their families.

“I had a soldier laying in a dirt hole in the middle of a desert somewhere and we got a message about a family crisis and that he needed to get home,” he said. “The Red Cross is the only one that gets those messages and delivers those messages.”

Schulze, married with two children, has lived a life of public service. It started with the Boy Scouts, where he rose to the rank of Eagle Scout. After nearly three decades in the armed services, he served four years a deputy director for the southwest region of AmeriCorps. Schulze joined the Red Cross in 2018, serving in several capacities in the Colorado and Wyoming region, including chief operating officer. In addition to being the interim regional director for the Texas Gulf Coast region, he continues to serve in that capacity for the Louisiana region.

“I think service is in my blood,” Schulze said. “It’s easy to lose yourself in service because you are thinking about what you are doing for people. Service is about helping people. Once you realize that someone else is counting on you, you can’t stop.”

Schulze fills the post previously held by TGC Region CEO Charles Blake, recently appointed principal administrator of the Red Cross Elected Officials Liaison Network. Schulze will serve as interim executive until a permanent successor is found. Fortunately, he says he has two advantages as he enters his new role. First, his return to Houston is a bit of a homecoming for the Louise, Texas, native. Second, he’s known Blake and many of the people in the TGC region for a long time.

“It’s no different than taking over a business or taking over a military command,” he said. “You do a quick assessment that takes a couple of weeks.” That assessment includes giving a fresh look at the region’s strengths and weaknesses from a new perspective.

“You just continue to lead and provide that leadership until the next leader comes in and takes over,” he said. “Life is about managing change, right?”

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information about volunteering or contributing to the Red Cross’s mission, please call 1-800-RED-CROSS, visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross.