Devastating events such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the destructive 2011 tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia have put the spotlight on the need for specially trained volunteers to respond to natural disasters of every kind. Red Cross volunteers fly across the United States and overseas to provide assistance to residents affected by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. While disaster relief volunteers are often required to maintain certifications such as CPR or other lifesaving skills, volunteers are also needed to handle supplies, donations and administrative tasks, as well as offer comfort and assistance to survivors of the crisis [source: Red Cross].
Retired physicians, nurses, EMTs, pharmacists, and other medical professionals can also lend their time and talents to the Medical Reserve Corps, a volunteer disaster relief organization under the direction of the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States. The Medical Reserve Corps also needs volunteers -- including retirees -- to serve as interpreters, chaplains, office workers and legal advisers, among other positions [source: Medical Reserve Corps].