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March is Red Cross Month, A Time to Recognize Red Cross Heroes

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“Volunteers are the heart and soul of the American Red Cross"

Across the nation, the American Red Cross is recognizing volunteer heroes during Red Cross Month. 

March has been recognized as Red Cross Month for over 70 years, ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the first Red Cross Month proclamation in 1943, calling on Americans to “rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross.” Every President since that time, has recognized the critical role the Red Cross has played for more than 130 years, in helping people across the country and around the world.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of the American Red Cross.  Ninety-five percent (95%) of our workforce is volunteer, and we couldn’t do it without them.  They give their time, talent and compassion to fulfill our vital humanitarian mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawaii Red Cross.  “During Red Cross Month, we honor and applaud them for their invaluable contribution to the community and ask you to consider joining us and making a difference.”

The Red Cross depends on local heroes to fulfill its mission. They are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and respond to home fires and other disasters in Hawaii every 4 days, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. The Hawaii Red Cross also educates local youth, organizations and businesses on how to prepare before disasters strike, provides 24/7 support to members of the military, veterans and their families, and trains thousands of people in first aid and other lifesaving skills. 

The Hawaii Red Cross has been helping local residents in need for over 100 years. And much of our work is accomplished through the work of our volunteers. In fiscal year 2017, the Hawaii Red Cross responded to 79 local emergencies, installed 1,741 smoke alarms in 627 homes, taught disaster preparedness to 2,753 keiki, assisted 2,143 military families with emergency communications, and provided lifesaving training to over 16,000 people.

“It’s easy to become a Red Cross hero,” said Matayoshi, “go to to sign up as a Red Cross volunteer, make a financial donation, and see how you can get involved.” 

New Next Generation Emergency Response Vehicle.  Thanks to the support of the local community, the Hawaii Red Cross now has a new next generation Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) just in time for Red Cross Month!  

When disasters strike, the people of Hawaii know the Red Cross will be there to respond.  The ERV is instrumental in almost every phase of disaster response- from prepositioning people, cots and blankets before a hurricane strikes, to distributing food and water following a brush fire, to providing a safe place for a Red Cross worker to offer physical and emotional support to a family following a home fire.  

The new ERV is more ergonomic for workers, easier to drive, provides ample storage room for supplies and meals, and adjusts to the needs of disasters large and small.  It also has reduced maintenance costs, a longer life-span and is more fuel efficient. 

Special thanks to KHON2 for helping to raise $122,000 through their Red Cross Disaster Relief Telethon in March 2017, which included generous donations from HMSA and First Hawaiian Bank.  Also, thanks to the Samuel and Mary Castle Foundation for helping to fund the ERV. 

GIVING DAY The Red Cross is also asking everyone to support people impacted by disasters and #help1family on Giving Day – Wednesday, March 28. Your donation can help provide hope and urgent relief such as food, blankets and other essentials to people who need it most. Giving Day is a 24-hour fundraising campaign supporting the work of the Red Cross, helping people across the country in need of emergency assistance. Donate now by visiting, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10. 

The Red Cross is a non-profit humanitarian organization which provides assistance to meet the immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters. All Red Cross assistance to disaster victims is free. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it depends on public contributions to help others. Your gift supports the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross in your community, across the country and around the world.  To send a contribution, mail your check to American Red Cross, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, Hawaii  96816 or make a secure online donation at or call (808) 739-8109.