JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – During Red Cross Month, the American Red Cross recognizes the nation’s Everyday Heroes who give of themselves and in some way help their community.
“March is a time to think of those individuals who help all of us here in Somerset and Cambria counties by giving their time to help their neighbors,” said Colleen Sherman, executive director of the local Red Cross. “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.”
March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month, 70 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since 1943, every president, including President Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross is synonymous with helping people, and has been doing so for more than 130 years.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than seven million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.
Here in Somerset and Cambria counties, the Keystone Chapter responds to approximately 50 local emergencies, provides more than 160 services to military families and trains more than 1,500 people in lifesaving skills on a yearly basis.
“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to become part of the Red Cross and there are many different ways to do it,” Sherman said. “They can develop a preparedness plan for their household, become a Red Cross volunteer, give blood, or take a Red Cross class, just to name a few.”
The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the American Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.
The local Red Cross has a number of activities planned for Red Cross Month, including:
•Johnstown’s Stone Bridge Light Up Event; Wednesday, March 6 to Sunday, March 10; From 7 to 9 p.m., the bridge will be illuminated in red and white to commemorate one of the early Red Cross achievements- its five-month service in helping the victims of the 1889 Johnstown Flood. The event was made possible through the partnership of the Red Cross Keystone Chapter, Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region and the Johnstown Area Heritage Association.
In addition, the Keystone Chapter will hold the following health and safety courses. The classes will take place at the local office, located at 250 Jari Drive in Johnstown.
•Adult CPR/AED; Wednesday, March 6; 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; $70
•Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED; Wednesday, March 6; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $110
•Adult First Aid/CPR/AED; Wednesday, March 20; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; $90
•CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers; Tuesday, March 19; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. AND Tuesday, March 26; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $110