National Volunteer Week is being observed April 12-18 and the American Red Cross is celebrating its hundreds of thousands of volunteers who help fulfill the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering during emergencies.
These volunteers help staff blood drives, volunteer at Veteran’s Hospitals, teach people lifesaving skills like First Aid and CPR, respond to house fires in the middle of the night and so much more.
One of these volunteers is Carol Anderheggen, who gives her time to help the Rhode Island Chapter of the Red Cross. After retiring as a school librarian, Anderheggen tried several organizations before finding a home with Red Cross Disaster Services in 1997 as a disaster responder. She has helped people in her community, and deployed on multiple disasters across the country such as Hurricane Floyd in 1999, September 11th and Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.
When out on a large national disaster, Anderheggen’s experience as a media specialist is valuable to Disaster Services Technology (DST). She helped track, maintain and update volunteer records for the chapter for several years and currently serves as Coordinator of Disaster Services Volunteers. In this role, Anderheggen welcomes incoming disaster volunteers and ensures they receive the proper training, guiding them through their development to becoming leaders.
She also coordinates data input at Rhode Island’s Disaster Headquarters during events. Anderheggen considers her work with the Red Cross a way of contributing to society. “It’s important to be attached to something bigger than you,” she said.
“There is nothing Carol has been unwilling to help with,” said Elizabeth McDonald, senior director, Emergency Services, Rhode Island Chapter. “She’s a Red Cross volunteer inside and out. She loves what she does and we love her. She brings so much to the organization.”
BECOME A VOLUNTEER Red Cross volunteers give their time to help their community. Sign up today to join their ranks and be part of the lifesaving work of the Red Cross. There are many ways you can get involved. Go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.
The new Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign offers volunteers the opportunity to help reduce the number of home fire injuries and deaths by 25 percent over the next several years. They are going door-to-door with local organizations in neighborhoods at high risk for fires to install smoke alarms and teach people about home fire safety. Launched last October, volunteers have already installed more than 50,000 fire alarms and helped more than 23,000 households develop escape plans. Many of our chapters will be doing alarm installations this month. Find out how you can help by visiting www.redcross.org.
If you’re not quite ready to be a volunteer but want to help when a disaster strikes your community, download the Team Red Cross app. You can use the app to sign up to help, learn about basic volunteer tasks and receive notifications about Red Cross disaster volunteer opportunities in your community. Click the link to find out more.