Ezequiel Alejandro has spent more than four decades volunteering with the American Red Cross, even after suffering a heart attack while he was volunteering.
He most recently was deployed to North Carolina for 14 days to help the people affected by Hurricane Florence.
“You connect with people and that’s the thing that drives me,” Alejandro said.
Alejandro moved from Puerto Rico after college and was a public school teacher in Hartford and has been a security guard at Robertson School in Manchester for the last six years.
Over the years, he started to become involved with the American Red Cross, responding to local emergencies like house fires to assist the affected families.
He then started volunteering statewide and eventually started traveling nationally and internationally to help people affected by natural disasters.
Alejandro has worked in shelters, handed out food and water, done damage assessment and served as a translator.
Even after suffering a minor heart attack while volunteering, he deployed again.
He said seeing the struggle people face after natural disasters makes him that much more grateful for what he has.
“Just to see the faces of the people smiling and saying, ‘Thank you for coming here and helping us,’ that is enough reward for me. I encourage everybody, at least once in your life, get an opportunity to go out on a deployment with the Red Cross. It will change your life forever,” Alejandro said.