The American Red Cross spreads its humanitarian mission throughout the country with the support, dedication and generosity of its vast volunteer network. More than 95 percent of the organization's workforce is comprised of hardworking volunteers. This year, the local Red Cross in Western Pennsylvania will highlight the extraordinary work taking place throughout the region with a volunteer 'Get to Know Us' series.
For the month of July, the “Get to Know Us” series will begin with a spotlight on the Corry Chapter, and long-time Red Cross volunteer and Corry resident Mike Magoon.
The Corry chapter is one of 11 chapters that make up the Western Pennsylvania Region of the Red Cross. The Corry Chapter serves communities within the Corry School District. The Corry Chapter is mainly comprised of volunteers, some of which have been serving the organization for years.
About Mike Magoon
Mike Magoon of Corry, Pa. has been a Red Cross volunteer since 1985. Magoon is a board member, disaster response leader and regular blood donor, as well as a U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War era.
He first got involved with the Red Cross during the 1985 tornado in Corry. While on his way to dinner with his wife, he noticed many response vehicles racing by on Route 6 just west of Corry. Concerned, he followed them and reached an area devastated by the tornado. Immediately Magoon got to work, helping navigate through the fields around where the trees had fallen across the road and assisting paramedics and volunteer firefighters to carry the injured from the houses that were destroyed over the fallen trees to the ambulance. Then he worked with the Red Cross volunteers in providing aid to the tornado victims. Mike has been volunteering with the Red Cross ever since.
Magoon has a history of serving others. He was a volunteer firefighter before moving to Corry. He has given back to others throughout his life and finds deep personal satisfaction in doing so.
“There is nothing like being on the ground, seeing that kind of disaster first-hand,” said Magoon. “Television doesn’t do it justice. Someone has to be there to help.”
For Magoon, the best part of volunteering is being able to help children after a home fire. As a disaster responder, Magoon is often called on scene for fires, floods and other emergency situations to provide immediate aid and relief.
“Adults are able to recover from losing everything, but children lose their whole world,” said Magoon. “It’s rewarding to see the look on their faces when you can give them something as simple as a stuffed animal, just to give them something to hold on to.”
Magoon is just one of more than 60 dedicated volunteers at the Corry Chapter of the local Red Cross. Magoon emphasized that the tight-knit community makes the Corry Chapter special.
“The Corry Area population is only about 15 thousand people, so everyone is close together and always willing to help out, even citizens who aren’t Red Cross volunteers. If there is a fire, the whole community is there to provide assistance,” said Magoon. “There are more people than we know what to do with!”
The Corry community cares for one another and looks out for their own. However, they are always willing to provide a helping hand to any community in need.
“If the phone rings, we are there,” Magoon insists. “Corry Red Cross volunteers are prepared to provide aid to the Corry community or for any neighboring communities which may need back-up assistance. Corry volunteers are out there in all weather conditions, at all times of day or night.”
Magoon expressed how impressed he is with Corry volunteers and their commitment to the Red Cross and its services.
“People are really busy these days. But our volunteers will do what they need to do so that they can be there if they are needed,” said Magoon.
Corry Chapter volunteers work mainly in disaster response, most often responding to home fires and canteening for the first responders at disaster scenes. However, they also help with fundraising and blood services. The community has a great response at blood drives, collecting record amounts of blood. The Corry community also generously donates money to ensure that Corry volunteers have the proper resources to provide aid in emergency situations.
“The organization and volunteers here are great. I can’t say enough good things about them. It certainly makes the job easier. We like to have a good time,” said Magoon.
The Corry Chapter is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join their organization. If you are interested in getting involved, please visit www.redcross.org/pa/corry or call (814) 663-2394.