Rick Lee retiring as Red Cross director

Rick Lee, seen at center, received a lifetime achievement award, shortly before announcing his retirement.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A longtime leader the community, who has dedicated countless hours to helping people in our area, has announced his retirement.

Rick Lee, Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, announced his plans to retire Thursday morning.

Lee made the announcement in front of a crowd of hundreds at the annual Hometown Heroes breakfast at the MassMutual Center. Earlier in the ceremony, Lee was given the surprise honor of a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work.

Lee was appointed executive director 15 years ago, and led the organization through numerous natural disasters, including the June 1, 2011 tornado and Tropical Storm Irene.

Under his direction, the Hometown Heroes breakfast also came into being. The event has turned into the chapter’s largest fundraiser, and he expects it to continue, even after he is gone.

“In the 12 year run, we raised something like $115,000. I can’t see anything there won’t be a Hometown Heroes 2015,” Lee said.

He said that he wasn’t expecting to announce his plans until after the breakfast, but he said that the time felt right to do so. Lee will leave his job as the leader of the local Red Cross in early August.

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