When disaster strikes, heroes in red vests can be seen assisting authorities and people everywhere. They’re known for they’re selfless acts of kindness in times of sorrow and despair.
March is American Red Cross Month, first declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the organization’s honorary chairman, in 1943. More than 350,000 employees and half a million volunteers will be celebrating the Red Cross’ impact since 1881.
The Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters a year. It is a volunteer-based organization that has steadily grown for more than 100 years.
According to the Red Cross, on average, more than nine million people attend Red Cross trainings, consisting of first-aid, water safety and life-saving techniques. Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood-related products in America
The Red Cross urges Americans to donate blood to save lives. More than four million people give blood each year.
Calling Americans to unite in times of difficulty has been one of the major keys to why the Red Cross plays such a pivotal role in society.
The local chapter of the Red Cross joined with Governor Rick Scott to recognize March as Red Cross month, as other government officials have done since Roosevelt. Scott joined dozens of Red Cross volunteers, employees and supporters in the Capitol courtyard on March 1 at 11 a.m. to kick off the celebration. Red Cross representatives were there urging people to support their organization.
The Big Bend’s Red Cross has teamed with Cabo’s Island Grill & Bar for “Dine Out for Disaster,” an ongoing celebration where Cabo’s gives 10 percent of customers’ total bill to the Red Cross every first Monday of the month.
“They are truly a gift from God,” said Arthur Wilks, a car crash survivor speaking of the Red Cross. “These people truly helped save my life. I am forever indebted to them.”
During March, the local Red Cross asks that you help by supporting the life-saving services they provide for the community.
Relying solely on donations to stay afloat, the organization has served the Big Bend community for more than 90 years. For every dollar donated to the Red Cross, 91 cents will go to research, disaster relief and other services. The local branch has more than 350 volunteers and seven employees.
Christina Rojas, a Red Cross fund developer, said, “The unique thing about Red Cross is that we have unduplicated services and these unduplicated service are what keeps the American Red Cross relevant.”
The local Red Cross responds to nearly five incidents a week including house fires, providing shelter and food services, and emotional support.
“We are always providing assistance to our veterans and their families,” Rojas said. “We work very closely with state veteran departments and other organizations.”
Last year the Big Bend Red Cross chapter responded to 156 single-home fires within the eight counties it serves. Red Cross organizations around the country assist an average of 200 house fires a day.
“It’s an amazing organization with a mission that I believe in,” said Rojas. “Everyone has time to volunteer for the Red Cross. Even if it’s just one hour a month, we would love your help!”