As we come to the end of 2014, I look back with amazement at the power of our mission providing assistance to our community through the work of trained, dedicated volunteers supported by the generosity of our donors.
Just last night, two disaster action team members met a family at 3 a.m. to ensure they had a place to stay, food, and clothing. Today, a volunteer nurse is working with the family to replace essential medications. At the same time, other volunteers are responding to an apartment building fire. Thankfully, no one was injured in either incident. These are just two of over three hundred such events.
Educating our friends and neighbors on the steps to take in preparing for emergencies are volunteers who work diligently to guide us toward a safer community. Some of these volunteers spent a Saturday morning this fall going through neighborhoods distributing smoke alarms to those with a need. Partnering with the fire department they helped make our community safer. Other volunteers have facilitated the Pillowcase Project utilizing an interactive process to teach basic preparedness steps to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. So far they have interacted with over 1100 students.
Starting last summer, we strengthened our relationship with Biomed Services when we began hosting blood drives at our Kingsport office. Each month, donors arrive to give the gift of life. We have learned, given, and become stronger through this partnership. A team of fantastic volunteers host the event and register the donors.
The American Red Cross has a long history of service to our armed forces. Since the Civil War, we have worked with service personnel and their families. Last month, a family in our community was connected with their service member in Germany by contacting us. A member of the family was seriously ill and they were requesting that the service member be informed of the situation and, if possible, come home to support the family. The situation was verified independently and the service member came home to be with his family at a critical time. Serving veterans as well as active duty personnel, our volunteers are active at the VA Medical Center in Johnson City. One unique program they provide is the monthly Birthday Party for the residents in the extended care facility. These parties ensure that each veteran receives a small gift and acknowledgement of their special day. For these veterans it is a reminder that we as a community have not forgotten their service to us.
These are but a few examples of the ongoing service in the community through the wonderful people that are the American Red Cross working to fulfill our mission. We look back on 2014 with pride as we prepare for the opportunities of 2015. Join us!