TO THE FINISH – Actor Josh Duhamel joins Los Angeles area youths in an American Red Cross run on Santa Monica Beach Dec. 2 to support disaster preparedness efforts.

On Dec. 2, Los Angeles area youths got together in Santa Monica for the third annual American Red Cross Youth Run to Prepare Southern California.
The day was beautiful with the sun shining and no clouds in the sky, on what was supposed to be a very rainy day. Many in attendance were sporting their red “Red Cross” shirts and ready to run for a great cause.
Film and TV actor Josh Duhamel came to host the event for the third time.
“I choose the Red Cross because they have always been the first ones in and the last ones out when people are suffering,” said Duhamel. “I’ve always admired the work they do and was thrilled when they were willing to help me organize my first event. We are now on our third youth run and I am proud to have them as my partner.”
Duhamel, 40, has been featured in many box office hits, including the “Transformers” series. He is a member of the Red Cross relief organization’s national celebrity cabinet and has received the Red Cross Spirit Award.
The event consisted of a two-mile beach run that Duhamel led. The participants ran north toward the Santa Monica Pier and back. Although the morning began bright and early, everyone was excited and ready to support the Red Cross.
The morning consisted of free food and prizes from local vendors such as Puma, Coca-Cola, Glacéau Vitamin Water, Don-A-Matrix Training, Glacéau Smart Water, Honest Tea, Fat Burger, Ford Motor Company, KROQ, and the Santa Monica Fire Department. Before the run, there was a warm-up to get the crowd going. Duhamel also made some comments about how important disaster preparedness is for the nation, saying, “the more prepared you are, the better off you are.”
People of all ages attended the run in order to support disaster preparedness efforts. Each participant was asked to make a small donation of $10. In the end, the Red Cross successfully raised $40,000. All the proceeds went to the American Red Cross PrepareSoCal campaign to help Southern Californians get ready for disasters and gather relief supplies.
Duhamel, who sported orange and yellow Puma shoes and a Puma hat, was happy to meet and greet all the youth who came out in support. The actor said he really wanted to send an important message to the youth of Los Angeles through the event.
“The original idea when we did this three years ago, was for everything going on in Haiti (following the devastating earthquake in 2010). There was this need to want to do something and to give youth a voice, to empower them, to actually contribute physically,” said Duhamel. “This is a way to not only raise money, but to also give them a voice and to set an example for the rest of the country. There is a lot of strength in that.”
Ford Motor Company was also a big sponsor for the event and is a national partner with the Red Cross. They donated a vehicle that is used to get the word out on what people should do when an emergency happens.
“This vehicle will actually be used to go out to schools and teach kids about disaster preparedness and what to do in case of an emergency,” said Jim Vella, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund Foundation.
“Our emphasis is on trying to work with the Red Cross to make sure people are prepared when it does happen. As opposed to when you see some corporations, when something happens, they write a check, but by the time that check gets into the system it’s way too late. They need to be ready now; they need to have vehicles, and people need to be educated. If they are not, no amount of money is going to do the kind of good by the efforts that they are doing today.”
Vella continued, “We also made a donation to the Red Cross so that they can hand out backpacks and things for elementary school kids. We are working every day in communities like yours to make sure that they are prepared.”
Duhamel noted how he has friends and family who have been personally affected by natural disasters.
“My hometown got hit two years ago by the flood, so they are still recovering from that. These are things that are happening all over the country, it’s not just New York City. There are other parts of the United States that don’t get a lot of attention, that are struggling big time and that’s where I’m coming from,” said Duhamel.
When asked about any future plans for this event, Duhamel said jokingly, “Next year it’s going to be a marathon. We’re going to start in Palos Verdes and we are going to head back to Malibu.” The actor has high hopes for the future of the Red Cross and plans to continue the run next year as well. §