By Elizabeth Rubio
Don Ruckelshausen of San Angelo has been responding to emergencies for most of his adult life. After serving in various branches of the military and working in civil service, Don has devoted his time to raising awareness around emergency response.
When Don moved to San Angelo in 2001, he knew he would not last long without something to do, so he went out to look for volunteer opportunities. The two organizations that first caught his eye were the Red Cross and AARP. Since then, Don has been an active volunteer with several Concho Valley area organizations.
Twelve years ago, Don became an instructor for the AARP Driver Safety Program, reminding San Angeloans of basic driving skills they may have forgotten and helping them let go of bad driving habits. A few years later, he became a zone coordinator, responsible for the program in 14 counties.
He also devoted many years--and more than 18,900 hours--volunteering with the Red Cross, coordinating responses to local disasters and rewriting local response plans to better reflect the Concho Valley as well as traveling to disaster areas to help with organization.
In the past, Don also drove San Angelo area veterans nearly 200 miles round-trip each month to the nearest VA hospital in Big Springs for medical care.
Don is dedicated to everything he does. Described by those who know him as kind, humble and extremely reliable, Don says he’ll keep doing what he does as long as he is needed. The Concho Valley has truly benefited from Don’s great work—and work he continues to do. That’s why Donald Ruckelshausen is one of AARP Texas’ 2013 Andrus Award winners.