RED CROSS: Retired Pawhuska native loves job as Red Cross volunteer

Mike Erwin |
Native Pawhuskan Andy Treat, center, is shown here during this summer’s Osage In-Lon-Schka celebrations. The retired engineer has helped provide assistance all over the country as a member of the American Red Cross chapter in his adopted home of Harlingen, Texas.

Andrew Treat retired as an engineer, but the Pawhuska native is continuing to work as a American Red Cross volunteer.

For more than 25 years, Treat has traveled the country in the wake of hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods and mudslides. The resident of Harlingen, Texas, helps bring Red Cross assistance to the victims of these catastrophic events.

“I love it,” said Treat, who serves as Red Cross South Texas Regional Engagement coordinator. “I’ve been a person who volunteered my entire life.”

Treat seemed destined to help others almost from the day he was born. The son of Oklahoma homesteaders grew up on the Osage Reservation, where he said he was named “Helping Hand” by members of the tribe. At 12, Treat joined the Pawhuska Boy Scout troop.

Around 1950, while studying electrical engineering at Wichita State, Treat took his first job, working for Boeing. When Boeing laid him off, he enlisted in the Army, and served the next three years in Korea. Returning home, Treat went back to college. He earned an electrical engineering from WSU in 1953.

During his career as an engineer, Treat worked with the Boy Scouts of America and AT&T. He answered the Boy Scouts’ call in 1957 and served as Wichita’s district scout executive. Six years later, he took a job with AT&T, where he worked as an engineer until his retirement.

In 1989, Treat was living near Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri’s Ozark Mountains when he took a job as Barry County’s emergency management coordinator. At the time, the county was struggling to pull itself out of a deep financial hole, so he took the job for a salary of $1 a year.

That’s about when Treat met up with Red Cross workers who had come to the Ozarks helping fire victims.

“I fell in love with the Red Cross as I saw them doing all this great work,” he said.

Treat has helped at three or four disaster sites each year since being named as a national member of the organization in 1993. Over the past year, he has assisted thousands of Texas flood victims. More recently, he helped the flood victims of Louisiana.

“My entire life, I’ve reached out to people,” Treat said.