Local Hero: Tzviatko Chiderov

DISASTER RELIEF

Presented to an individual who exhibited heroic efforts in response to a disaster.

Tzviatko Chiderov insists that he isn’t a hero.

“Honestly, I thought that the Red Cross had made a mistake,” he comments. “I didn’t think I had done anything exemplary to deserve the award, so I thought they must have had the wrong Tzviatko.”

The motivated and humorous 26-year-old began volunteering in 2007 at the age of 23 because he was new to the Twin Cities and wanted to get involved. He didn’t take on just one volunteer role, though, he fully immersed himself in the Minneapolis area by mentoring an elementary student, teaching English as a Second Language, coaching a soccer team of 5-and 6-year-olds, founding ALPFA Twin Cities—a premier Latino professional organization, and serving on the Twin Cities ONE Campaign to end extreme poverty.

From 2008 to early 2010 he volunteered with the Twin Cities chapter of the Red Cross as a disaster action team responder, taking two overnight on-call shifts a week despite working full-time. (He has since moved to Chicago and now volunteers with the Red Cross of Greater Chicago.)

In his role as a disaster action team responder, he communicated with the fire chief and the affected family, led the damage assessment, oversaw the completion of required documentation, issued funds to be used for food and clothing, and provided moral support to the family.

“He wants to help those when they need it most and feels that a friendly face can go a long way when people are in the midst of these types of disasters,” says Reena Dhake, a friend who nominated him for the award.

Tzviatko is quick to give credit to the Red Cross rather than himself. When everything is lost in a fire, “I can’t describe how thankful the families are to have our services,” he says. “The organization provides tremendous support to the community.”

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