Since retiring from his career with AT&T in 2008, Mike Farrar has worked tirelessly as a volunteer with the American Red Cross filling many roles including Disaster Action Team Leader, Emergency Response Vehicle driver, and Youth Advisor. In April of 2009, he was inspired to work with the Restoring Family Links program and taken on multiple roles including caseworker, instructor, mentor, and most recently advocate. Through the International Humanitarian Law program, he has also worked to ensure that America's next generation will know and have a respect for humanitarian law.
Mike has said that the Restoring Family Links program speak personally to him as there was a period in his life where his family was separated from one another. Because of this, he knows the pain of separation and the joy of reunion. As an instructor, he always encourages caseworkers to approach their work as if they were searching for their own families.
At the Long Beach Chapter, Mike supervises fourteen volunteers doing casework and outreach. Mike is also a National Disaster responder for the American Red Cross with specialties as a supervisor in Safe and Well Linking and Disaster Assessment. In addition he is the Director of the Veterans History Project in Long Beach, which he brought not only to his region but also to all of California in 2010. The project works to collect oral histories from America’s wartime veterans. He has created a training class to teach staff and volunteers the entire process of interviewing Veterans from the initial call through the submission to the Library of Congress. He currently supports 48 volunteers working with him on this project.
While working to support Restoring Family Links caseworkers across the US, reaching out to refugee and migrant communities, building partnerships with key organizations, and educating local youth about International Humanitarian Law and Restoring Family Links, Mike has also been able to aid families reconnect with one another. In the video below, he shares the story of the first case he worked with the RFL program. Mike was asked to search for a man sought by his sister in Cambodia who the chapter had been seeking for a year. After three weeks of searching, Mike found him and was able to put him in contact with his sister.
Mike's passion for the Restoring Family Links program shines through his work. It is through the dedication of volunteers like Mike that the RFL program is able to continue to grow and provide hope to those separated from their loved ones.