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Red Cross volunteers make good impression

check presentation
You could tell they enjoy what they were doing- getting out in the community in a moment of need and helping out.

Training prepared American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter volunteers to do their jobs during the August flooding in 13 Missouri counties, but it was their attitude that also impressed St. Robert Wal-Mart manager Curt Wieda.

“One of the things that struck me the most dealing with Red Cross volunteers - and any other of the volunteers from other groups - particularly the volunteers at the shelter, was that they were just outstanding,” Wieda said after recently presenting the chapter with a $10,000 Community Disaster Relief Grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation. “They were very, very professional.

“You could tell they enjoy what they were doing- getting out in the community in a moment of need and helping out.”

Rain started early on the morning of August 6 in Pulaski and neighboring counties. Rising water hit the Waynesville area hard and before the sun rose Red Cross volunteers were setting up a shelter in St. Robert, which borders the stricken city.

Wieda said his first contact was with the chapter’s shelter volunteers, who requested supplies from Wal-Mart for area residents evacuated from their homes because of the rising water.

Wal-Mart staff also helped a Red Cross shelter volunteer who lives in Cuba transfer her prescriptions to the store’s pharmacy so she could continue her work at the facility without having to return home to get her medicine.

“That struck a tone with me on the type of dedication and the type of people the Red Cross has working with them,” Wieda said. “It really touched me. It really did.”

Wieda put his feelings into action while he was working in the emergency operations center (EOC) after the initial impact of the flooding when the topic of ways to help came up. One of the people at the EOC suggested Wieda look into the Wal-Mart Foundation Grant.

Phillip Iman, a chapter disaster specialist who also served as assistant director for the Red Cross disaster response, helped Wieda with information for the grant application.

Wieda filed the grant application and in a matter of days, the Wal-Mart Foundation approved a $10,000 grant.

“That’s pretty normal for Wal-Mart,” Wieda said. “They know the importance of getting funds in the right hands to make a difference when these events come up. I think as a company we do a really good job on the turnaround on things whether it’s events like this or just general business. We turn things around pretty quick.”

Wieda and some of his Wal-Mart associates presented the check to chapter Executive Director Dave Griffith and Major Gifts Officer Nancy Sell in an informal ceremony Sept. 6 on the store’s parking lot.

“It is no surprise to me that our volunteers make such a great impression on the people they work with and the clients they serve,” Griffith said. “Our volunteers are just very special individuals who do for others with no thought of reward for themselves.

“They make me proud to be a part of the American Red Cross.”