March is American Red Cross Month, and it's a good time to honor the everyday heroes who help in our communities.
The American Red Cross has, in its more than a century of existence, come to the aid of thousands upon thousands of people. And, yes, there are thousands of Red Cross administrators and volunteers across the nation and the world who have saved the day time and time again in so many ways following disasters and emergencies.
Local chapter Executive Director Kathy Musso asked that we remember those who volunteer with the Red Cross in Jefferson County by giving their time to help their neighbors.
"We want to thank our heroes during Red Cross Month - our volunteers, blood donors, class takers and financial supporters who help us assist those in need," she noted.
The chance that you or someone you know has been affected by a fire or some other disaster, such as flooding, is great. Tragedies can and do occur, sometimes leaving victims injured, homeless or hungry.
Luckily, behind the victims of disasters stand the people of the American Red Cross. Long known for its blood drives and being on the scene of man-made or natural disasters, the American Red Cross has been steadfast in its mission to provide for victims in need.
Through local chapters families are assisted with food, shelter and clothing following fires. Red Cross officials and volunteers sometimes work around the clock in freezing temperatures to provide the basic needs of life to those affected.
But the Red Cross helps in other ways that many may not be aware of. It works with the military to relay messages about family illnesses, deaths, births and other emergencies, and the organization offers health and safety programs, including adult, infant and children cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid instruction as well as lifeguard training.
Locally, our chapter responded to 35 local emergencies, assisted 62 military families and trained 1,990 people in lifesaving skills in a year's time. And, people from this area donated 2,580 units of blood.
So we applaud the work of the many Ohio Valley volunteers who give their time and talents and rededicate themselves year after year to help others through our local Red Cross chapters.
We're also calling out to area residents who may have some spare time, from high school and college students to senior citizens. There's no time constraint at local Red Cross offices, and volunteers can choose to work 10 hours a day or just 10 hours a month assisting with such tasks as office duties, greeting blood donors, teaching CPR or delivering hot meals to residents during a crisis.
Highly trained, hard working and dedicated best describe the officials and volunteers behind the American Red Cross. They've been providing comfort to victims in need for well over 100 years, and it's hard to imagine where America would be without them.
In honor of the month's celebration several blood drives are planned, including on March 18, from noon to 6 p.m. at the chapter offices, 81 Talbott Drive, Wintersville; March 20, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Eastern Gateway Community College; March 28, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Trinity Medical Center West; and March 29, noon to 6 p.m., at Bell Chapel Methodist Church. Your donation is always appreciated.