March is American Red Cross Month, a time that recognizes the organization’s rich history and the heroic acts of individuals who drive our mission forward. A series of “Heroes” events are scheduled throughout the state to pay homage to everyday citizens who give of themselves, and in some way help our community. During this time, Oregonians are encouraged to uncover their own inner heroes by supporting the Red Cross.
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 sentiment is echoed in Oregon; Governor John Kitzhaber recently proclaimed March 2013 to be American Red Cross Month.
“Red Cross Month is a great time to uncover your inner hero, and the Red Cross offers many different ways to do it,” said Maree Wacker, regional executive for the American Red Cross Oregon Region. “Becoming a volunteer, making a monetary gift, donating blood, or enrolling in a Red Cross First Aid or CPR class is a first step in developing skills or making a contribution that will help others.”
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.
Last year in Oregon, Red Cross assisted 668 families after disasters such as house fires, floods and winter storms. Nearly 2,000 deployed service members were connected with their families through Red Cross emergency communications, 82,000 people were trained in Red Cross health and safety courses, and 19,000 people participated in Red Cross preparedness training. In addition, the Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region collected 182,800 units of blood, of which nearly 90 percent is used for patients treated in Oregon hospitals.
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.
Throughout the month of March the public can receive a ten percent discount on American Red Cross products at the organization’s online store by using the coupon code PREPARE at www.redcrossstore.org.
Also throughout Red Cross Month, for every one-dollar donation that C.E. Lovejoy’s Brookswood Market shoppers make to the Red Cross, the market will add 50 cents to the donation. The market is located at 19530 Amber Meadow Drive in Bend.
In addition, Oregon Red Cross has a number of activities planned during March:
March 3 - University of Portland Wind Symphony presents “Heart, Healing and Hope,”
5 p.m., Buckley Center Auditorium on the University of Portland Campus. This free concert, conducted by Dr. Patrick Murphy, includes two pieces in honor of the American Red Cross, including “Soliloquy for Solferino” and “American Red Cross March.”
March 6 - Southern Oregon Chapter Heroes Breakfast, 7:15-8:45 a.m., at Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville. This celebration recognizes community members who have been selected as Red Cross “Heroes.” Nominated by local peers and selected by a volunteer committee of the Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Red Cross, heroes will receive awards for their extraordinary acts of courage and compassion.
March 12 - Oregon Trail Chapter blood drive, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., 3131 N. Vancouver Ave. in Portland. Nearly 90 percent of blood used for patients treated in Oregon hospitals comes from the Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region. To schedule a blood donation, go to www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
March 14 - Oregon Pacific Chapter Everyday Heroes Lunch, noon-2 p.m., at Valley River Inn in Eugene. The luncheon celebrates people, organizations and animals that have made an extra effort or taken an extra step to help others in Lane, Linn, Douglas, Benton and Coos Counties.
March 20 - Oregon Mountain River Chapter Heroes Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m., at the Riverhouse in Bend. The event recognizes local heroes and helps to support the chapter's many community services in Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook, Wheeler, Grant and Harney Counties, and Warm Springs.
March 26 - Together We Prepare, 6-7 p.m., Oregon Trail Chapter, 3131 N. Vancouver Ave., in Portland. This free class provides participants receive information on how to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters by making personal disaster plans, establishing family meeting places and addressing emergency communication strategies.
For additional information on these events, visit www.redcross.org/oregon.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.