“I cannot say enough good things about him.” That seems to be the sentiment across southeastern Iowa when you ask about American Red Cross volunteer and board member, Larry Jarvis.
Three years ago, Jarvis, was asked to take over the Heroes of the Heartland event in Ottumwa. He agreed with the expectation that during the first year he would help his predecessor run the event so he could learn the ropes. Scheduling conflicts resulted in Jarvis taking over as chair for the event sooner than he anticipated, but he rose to the challenge and organized his first successful Heroes of the Heartland event. Jarvis found the work he did to be so rewarding that he has continued to devote hours to ensure local heroes receive recognition and the Red Cross has the money it needs to continue its mission. Most recently, thanks to Jarvis and other volunteers, the 2014 Heroes of the Heartland event in Ottumwa took place on April 4 and recognized seven Iowans who performed extraordinary and heroic acts.
Of course Jarvis’ work with the Red Cross doesn’t stop there. When asked about memorable volunteer experiences, Jarvis recalled an Oskaloosa family who had a fire in their home. He and several other volunteers and staff members were getting ready for the Heroes event when that family came into the Ottumwa office. Jarvis and the others worked to find them a place to stay and get them food and clothing. It is the everyday moments like these that are important to Jarvis. “It’s often when people are at their lowest that the most good can be done,” he said. “[In Iowa,] we do not have to worry about natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, but we have far too many home fires.” With approximately 50 home fires in southeastern Iowa in recent months, Jarvis is committed to the responsibility the Red Cross has to provide relief services for the community.
Like so many Red Cross volunteers, Jarvis is dedicated to offering this aid to his neighbors. Brandon Holstrom, the Regional Disaster Functions Support Manager, has worked with Jarvis on the Heroes of the Heartland events. Holstrom said, “[Larry] takes on way more than an average person and gives back 300%.” In fact, while Jarvis stays very busy with his current Red Cross volunteer work, he would like to eventually respond to disasters. “It is Larry’s passion and commitment that makes him an extraordinary volunteer,” Holstrom said. “In all instances of his volunteering, Larry demonstrates his dedication to both the community and the values of the Red Cross mission.”
Jarvis embraces his work with the Red Cross and believes the best part about his involvement with the Heroes of the Heartland event is that it is a chance to identify people in southeastern Iowa who otherwise wouldn’t be acknowledged. “Far too often we do not thank and recognize people who do really good things,” he said. “Heroes of the Heartland is a great vehicle to do just that.” However, Jarvis remains humble in his generosity. He refuses to take all of the praise for the success of the Heroes of the Heartland events, asserting that it’s the people of southeastern Iowa who deserve the credit. “People here have been supportive,” he said. “Local businesses and industries deserve a huge ‘thank you’ for supporting and sponsoring our heroes.” Thanks to Jarvis’ heartfelt work and true kindness, the great work these individuals, businesses, and the Red Cross do in southeastern Iowa can be recognized.
For more information on the recipients of the 2014 Heroes of the Heartland in Ottumwa, please see http://www.exploreseiowa.com/pages/18680835.php?