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National Volunteer Week

The American Red Cross celebrates the work and support
of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers


The American Red Cross celebrates the work and support of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers during National Volunteer Week. Red Cross volunteers fulfill many roles from coordinating blood drives, to responding to house fires in the middle of the night, to serving as board members and many more.

Nationally, the Red Cross has more than 300,000 volunteers, over 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce.

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Why I Help

By Sharon J. Alfred, Red Cross Senior Volunteer Journalist

Several years ago, Pauline Rhoades met the American Red Cross up close and personal. The Red Cross team responded to a fire in her home which started in an upstairs apartment and raged down to burn a hole in Rhoades’ living room area.

The helpful attitude of the responding Red Cross team made quite an impression on Rhoades. She became a volunteer with the organization, focusing on the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign (HFC).

As a HFC volunteer, she is under the direct supervision of Ray Sorensen, Disaster Program Manager of the Eastern South Dakota Territory for the American Red Cross. Rhoades recalls that whenever she meets someone new, she asks them about the status of their smoke alarms. She offers to check batteries or install brand new smoke alarms.

Her favorite interesting memory (so far) was when she helped install new smoke alarms in a man’s home. A little over a week later, he had a fire in his home. He told her that if the smoke alarms hadn’t been installed, he never would have gotten out of his home alive.

Because of this story and others just like it, Rhoades loves to install smoke alarms in homes. She said that the smiles and thank-yous that she gets from new friends “makes her heart feel good.”

The Red Cross invites the public to be a part of its lifesaving work and to sign up to volunteer and donate blood. People can go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, people should visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. People can also download the Red Cross Blood Donor App to schedule and manage their donation appointments. To download the app, text “BLOODAPP” to 90999 or search “American Red Cross.”

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Why I Help

By Sharon J. Alfred, Red Cross Senior Volunteer Journalist

Dave Hitt is an American Red Cross volunteer with the Southern Tier Chapter in Endicott, New York. He volunteers for the American Red Cross Home Fires Campaign (HFC). Hitt has been an HFC volunteer for about two years, ever since the Southern Tier Chapter initiated this program. The HFC program aims to save lives by educating people about home fire safety and installing free smoke alarms in homes that don’t have them.

Hitt takes fire safety details very seriously. He is also a volunteer with the local fire department. He said that talking with others about fire safety is just a “thing” that he must do. He goes door-to-door giving lectures to raise people’s awareness of fire prevention and/or safely coping with home fires. He also goes out on appointments to install smoke alarms in homes. Hitt does all this because he knows that having precious knowledge or having a head start of a precious few seconds during a fire emergency can save lives.

Dave Hitt is supervised by Melanie Pandich. She is the disaster manager for the Southern Tier Chapter. Additionally, Rebecca Snow-Nicosia, the Northeast Division Manager for the American Red Cross, thinks Dave is an invaluable worker in the HFC campaign.

Hitt can talk nonstop about fire safety. And, he fondly recalls the time when he travelled out of state to help out a neighboring chapter in the New York region meet its HFC goals. That’s what Dave Hitt does. He loves “being where the action is” so he can help.

The Red Cross invites the public to be a part of its lifesaving work and to sign up to volunteer and donate blood. People can go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, people should visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. People can also download the Red Cross Blood Donor App to schedule and manage their donation appointments. To download the app, text “BLOODAPP” to 90999 or search “American Red Cross.”

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Why I Help

By Deborah MacSwain, Red Cross Volunteer Journalist

“My internship is over, but I am still volunteering for the Red Cross,” said Janette Williams, a recent graduate of George Mason University. Williams works as a volunteer for the International Services Department out of the Arlington Chapter in Virginia.

When she was looking for places to intern, she remarked, “There were over 100 agencies and organizations to choose from for my internship at George Mason University. I chose the American Red Cross, International Services Department for two reasons. The Red Cross helped me when we had an apartment fire years ago, and I donated blood for years to the Red Cross.”

Williams said that both experiences gave her a sense of comfort and accomplishment. She is passionate when she talks about people relying on the Red Cross to help them. “People call on the Red Cross because they believe we [the Red Cross] can work miracles. And, sometimes we can! Like the case of the two brothers who were separated when their mother was released from a labor camp at the end of World War II. She was too ill to care for them. The brothers lost touch with each other. Sixty years later they were re-united thanks to the family tracing efforts of the Red Cross.”

Williams interned in Restoring Family Links, which is the Red Cross International casework program to help locate family members who have been displaced through primarily disasters and wars and be reconnected. She had the patience and a sincere interest in listening that are skills crucial to those providing this service.

Recently a young girl called who wanted her aunt in another country to come visit her mother who is in hospice. After hearing her story, Williams was able to give her information on how to contact immigration for an emergency visa. Williams proudly said, “Manning the Red Cross help line may not sound great, but it does so much for me. Helping others makes me feel good!”

The Red Cross invites the public to be a part of its lifesaving work and to sign up to volunteer and donate blood. People can go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, people should visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. People can also download the Red Cross Blood Donor App to schedule and manage their donation appointments. To download the app, text “BLOODAPP” to 90999 or search “American Red Cross.”

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Volunteer

Learn more about volunteering and finding your local Red Cross. Visit Volunteer Opportunities for the next steps.

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Give Blood

Become a part of the lifesaving work of the Red Cross by donating blood or hosting a blood drive.

You can find more information by visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS.