Navin’s Dedication Has Changed Countless Lives
I will never forget the many summers I spent in Texas visiting my cousins Navin and Nita when I was young. We always had so much fun jumping on the trampoline in the backyard, going to baseball games, and watching movies together. It was my last summer visit when I was 12 years old, though, that I remember most clearly. I distinctly recall driving with Nita to the Chisholm Trail Red Cross chapter to visit Navin as he was teaching a First Aid class. I remember Navin teaching my mom and me the Heimlich maneuver and giving us the American Red Cross first aid kit that we still keep in our van to this day. I was so fascinated by his stories of rushing out in the middle of the night to respond to disasters and my interest in volunteering with the Red Cross was peaked. As soon as I returned to New Jersey I asked my mom to drive me to our local Red Cross chapter. The volunteer director was surprised to have someone so young express interest and when she asked me why I wanted to volunteer I proudly told her all about Navin who was then the Chair of the National Youth Council.
The next time I would go to Texas would be for Navin’s memorial service. Reflecting on Navin’s life, I was struck by how much he was able to accomplish in his 23 years by dedicating his life to service. He had responded to countless local and national disasters, trained hundreds in lifesaving skills, and advocated tirelessly for Red Cross youth on the national level- all while battling cancer. My work with the Red Cross took on a new meaning and what began as hours of typing swimming labels on a dusty typewriter turned into a life changing connection with the Red Cross that is a defining aspect of who I am today.
In the years that followed, winning the speaker award and college scholarship in Navin’s name, joining the American Red Cross National Youth Council with Nita, and founding and chairing the National Youth Council Alumni Board have been amazing experiences that Navin inspired me to pursue. Navin’s legacy continues to live on through the thousands of youth volunteers he has paved the way for.
This month marks the 10 year anniversary of Navin’s passing. Anyone who has known or even heard Navin’s story is inspired by his selfless devotion to service through the American Red Cross. The Navin Narayan College Scholarship is so important because it not only recognizes students who share Navin’s passion for service and outstanding academic record, but also keeps Navin’s memory and inspirational story alive within the organization. To learn more about Navin and how you can support his scholarship fund, please click here.
Mahati Acharya, Navin’s cousin