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Bradford-Sullivan Red Cross Needs Volunteers

By Rick Hiduk

Although Red Cross chapters throughout parts of the state that were affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee enjoyed a burst of volunteerism and support from parent agencies during the course of those disasters and primary recovery phase, Bradford/Sullivan County Red Cross director Irene Melly is concerned that local interest in the organization has evaporated with the flood waters.

In a recent press release, she remarked that “words cannot express” the agency’s appreciation for those who worked in shelters, provided cleanup items, made food for victims, and helped to clean up homes and businesses, which helps the Red Cross to fulfill part of its mission to “provide relief to victims of disaster.” As the flood volunteers get burned-out and drift away, however, the organization will be challenged to satisfy its goal to “help prevent, prepare for, and respond to” future emergencies without a new influx of like-minded people to fill key roles.

In fact, the coordination of future training seminars in many aspects of Red Cross readiness are directly related to the number of volunteers available for such classes. Melly, who assumed her post at the end of June, looks forward to receiving additional training herself, but those courses can’t be scheduled without enough interested volunteers to fill the classes.

Because the recent flooding was classified as a Level 5 National Disaster, local Red Cross chapters were immediately linked to regional emergency command centers, Melly explained, and she received the assistance and guidance she needed without having to ask for it. New volunteers, she noted, are needed to help prepare for and assist in situations that might not require such a massive effort and across-the-board attention, such as fires and blood shortages. People are needed to learn about disaster shelter setup, mass feeding, bloodmobiles, general office work, and response to manmade disasters, for which local Red Cross chapters provide assistance to both emergency responders and victims of such tragedies.

Melly refers to the September flooding as an “eye-opening, very humbling experience,” during which she learned much from Bradford County emergency management coordinator Robert Barnes and fellow Red Cross associate Sharon Lowrey.

“The scope of everything amazed me,” said Melly, adding that few people could imagine what goes into coordinating so many supplies and people simultaneously. Bradford/Sullivan County Red Cross response was moved to the county’s emergency command center in North Towanda Township not just for efficiency but also because the offices at the Bradford County Airport into which the local chapter had just moved were cut off by floodwaters that inundated all but the main building at the airport.

Dave Douglas of North Towanda Township has become a fixture at the airport office in South Towanda Township, having been placed with the Red Cross via the Experience Works program, a government-funded initiative for senior citizens that helps to keep those with the desire to continue working after retirement active in their communities.

“I’ve learned quite a bit,” said Douglas, who retired from GTE Sylvania after working for many years there as a chemical engineer. “I do feel that I’m helping,” a sentiment echoed by Melly, who appreciates his assistance. Douglas answers phones and does general bookkeeping.

“It’s needed, and it’s also rewarding when you are able to accomplish something important,” he stated. “And the people here are pleasant to work with.”

Melly noted that, not only is working with the agency fulfilling, serving with the Red Cross looks good on a resume, whether one is a college student yet to enter the work force, or someone who is in between jobs.

Readers who would like to help the Red Cross in its mission to help people in the community may contact Melly at 570-265-2797 or via email at bsarcchapter@frontier.net.

 

Red Cross Needs Volunteers

Page ONE

 

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Bradford/Sullivan Red Cross Reaches Out for Volunteers

By Rick Hiduk

 

Although Red Cross chapters throughout parts of the state that were affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee enjoyed a burst of volunteerism and support from parent agencies during the course of those disasters and primary recovery phase, Bradford/Sullivan County Red Cross director Irene Melly is concerned that local interest in the organization has evaporated with the flood waters.

In a recent press release, she remarked that “words cannot express” the agency’s appreciation for those who worked in shelters, provided cleanup items, made food for victims, and helped to clean up homes and businesses, which helps the Red Cross to fulfill part of its mission to “provide relief to victims of disaster.” As the flood volunteers get burned-out and drift away, however, the organization will be challenged to satisfy its goal to “help prevent, prepare for, and respond to” future emergencies without a new influx of like-minded people to fill key roles.

In fact, the coordination of future training seminars in many aspects of Red Cross readiness are directly related to the number of volunteers available for such classes. Melly, who assumed her post at the end of June, looks forward to receiving additional training herself, but those courses can’t be scheduled without enough interested volunteers to fill the classes.

Because the recent flooding was classified as a Level 5 National Disaster, local Red Cross chapters were immediately linked to regional emergency command centers, Melly explained, and she received the assistance and guidance she needed without having to ask for it. New volunteers, she noted, are needed to help prepare for and assist in situations that might not require such a massive effort and across-the-board attention, such as fires and blood shortages. People are needed to learn about disaster shelter setup, mass feeding, bloodmobiles, general office work, and response to manmade disasters, for which local Red Cross chapters provide assistance to both emergency responders and victims of such tragedies.

Melly refers to the September flooding as an “eye-opening, very humbling experience,” during which she learned much from Bradford County emergency management coordinator Robert Barnes and fellow Red Cross associate Sharon Lowrey.

“The scope of everything amazed me,” said Melly, adding that few people could imagine what goes into coordinating so many supplies and people simultaneously. Bradford/Sullivan County Red Cross response was moved to the county’s emergency command center in North Towanda Township not just for efficiency but also because the offices at the Bradford County Airport into which the local chapter had just moved were cut off by floodwaters that inundated all but the main building at the airport.

Dave Douglas of North Towanda Township has become a fixture at the airport office in South Towanda Township, having been placed with the Red Cross via the Experience Works program, a government-funded initiative for senior citizens that helps to keep those with the desire to continue working after retirement active in their communities.

“I’ve learned quite a bit,” said Douglas, who retired from GTE Sylvania after working for many years there as a chemical engineer. “I do feel that I’m helping,” a sentiment echoed by Melly, who appreciates his assistance. Douglas answers phones and does general bookkeeping.

“It’s needed, and it’s also rewarding when you are able to accomplish something important,” he stated. “And the people here are pleasant to work with.”

Melly noted that, not only is working with the agency fulfilling, serving with the Red Cross looks good on a resume, whether one is a college student yet to enter the work force, or someone who is in between jobs.

Readers who would like to help the Red Cross in its mission to help people in the community may contact Melly at 570-265-2797 or via email at bsarcchapter@frontier.net.

 

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