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When Compassion Meets Compression

As a new Red Cross employee, getting trained in the basics of CPR, AEDs and first aid were at the top of my list. I headed to Fort Belvoir this month to the on-site Red Cross chapter. (P.S., if you don’t know about the work the Red Cross does with the military, check it out!) My training was in a standalone house built during World War II, now converted to a Red Cross training center and chapter building.Fort Belvoir

I was joined by many teachers, who were now required to take this training for their Virginia teaching license. There were also some aspiring babysitters and in-home daycare providers, medical assistants and Boy Scout leaders.

To say training is hands-on is an understatement. I was lying on the floor, rolling people over, and getting a lot closer to a manikin than I ever thought I would. But I took away extraordinarily valuable information.

Here are the top things I didn’t know before I went (other than, you know, how to correctly do everything in general):

  • Don’t pull an embedded object out of someone. Maybe it’s the “splinter effect” or the “bee sting effect,” but I’ve always thought if something is stuck in my body that’s not suppose to be there, I need to get it out! Not the case – the item can act like a plug to stop additional bleeding. Only trained professionals (ie people at the emergency room) should remove the object.
  • Back Blows. What? You’re not supposed to help someone choking only with a bear hug from behind and shove your fists in their stomach? A fellow trainee confirmed the utility of the back blow as she described her husband choking on peanuts. When abdominal thrusts didn’t work, she instinctive started hitting his back as an alternative, which worked to dislodge the object. Remember, five back blows, five abdominal thrusts.
  • How to help a choking infant. Um, a modified Heimlich maneuver? Minus two points! The Red Cross doesn’t teach the Heimlich maneuver per se, and you definitely wouldn’t do anything close to that to a baby. The correct procedure involves holding the baby on your leg, with their head towards the ground, and using back blows and chest thrusts to remove the object blocking the airway. My instructor described having to help two choking babies recently, both in airports, both eating something they shouldn’t have been – gum and hard candy. Parents, please do not feed your 9 month old baby gum or candy.
  • How to approach an emergency. Check, call, care. Before training, I think if I saw someone collapse, I’d run over to see what happened and try to help right away. I discovered I was missing a couple steps. You should first CHECK the situation to make sure you’re not walking into danger, point to someone else specifically to have them CALL 911 (if you determine the situation requires it), and then CARE. Before you care, you have to inform the person you are trained in first aid and CPR, and ASK their permission before continuing to assess their condition and giving care. (For those inquiring minds, an unconscious person has implied consent.)
  • CPR takes practice. You hear about times it’s needed, you theoretically know how to do it, but until you spend theManikin and face mask better part of your Saturday afternoon on the floor beside a manikin, perfecting the art of rescue breaths, it’s not something you want to leave to chance and “I saw it on TV once.” To help lay responders remember, or those of us who like step-by-step instructions, the Red Cross first aid app helps break down what to do for someone who’s unconscious and not breathing.
  • Shock is a crazy body adaption. Our instructor told us about a woman in a previous training who had her own testimony describing one way shock works. She was in a car accident, and informed police she was ok. What she didn’t know was that her armed was almost severed off. Her body was in shock, constricting her blood vessels to stop some blood flow and apparently stopping her from feeling her injuries. But as you can imagine, this state of decreased blood flow to vital organs is a life-threatening situation and needs to be addressed along with other injuries.

During the training, I started thinking of all those times when something could go wrong. Alone with my husband eating dinner and he starts choking. At Thanksgiving back in Ohio and a grandparent has a stroke. Riding the metro and someone next to me starts having a seizure. Or anytime we drive somewhere and we encounter an accident.

I got home and started adding to our grocery list – roller gauze, non-latex gloves, compress dressings – plus a breathing barrier to stick in my purse.

I was glad I finally took the class. It felt empowering. I’m not the kind of person who seeks out danger, but I am the kind of person who likes to be prepared. Plus, I realized I’d want anyone around me to be just as prepared if I ever need help. Now it’s time for you to take a training!

 

 

I Wish You’d Been Here

By Duane Hallock,  Red Cross Advanced Public Affairs Team

I really wish you had been with me in the mayor’s office.

duanehallock

I was in Darrington, Washington, the small logging town hit hard by the March 22 mudslide that destroyed much of the nearby community of Oso. The slide buried about a mile of the highway connecting many of the 450 families in Darrington with their jobs, their grocery shopping and even the shipments to and from their lumber mill.

On disaster assignment for the American Red Cross, I went to city hall with our district operations manager to talk about our work in the community. When we entered his office, the mayor rose from his desk stacked high with papers and gave us a hearty handshake. He wore a ball cap and flannel shirt – just what a Midwesterner like me would expect to find in a lumber town quietly tucked away high in the Northern Cascades. A faint smile on his unshaven face, however, failed to mask the strain of his mayoral duties.

“Initially we had concerns about giving up space,” he said, referring to the many outside groups that came wanting to help. That’s a typical response from those living in rugged, close-knit and self-reliant communities. “The Red Cross is neutral and I appreciate that,” he said. “Your work here has been stellar.”

While pleased to receive the compliment, I pushed to uncover unmet needs where we could help. “What advice would you give to us at the Red Cross?” I asked. (Here’s where I especially wish you’d been with me.) Without hesitation, he looked us straight in the eye and said, “Keep taking good care of my people.”

That afternoon, I wish you’d been with me at the community center a couple blocks away.

There the townsfolk gathered to meet one-on-one with trained Red Cross caseworkers who were interviewing each person to develop a personalized recovery plan which usually included some level of financial assistance from the Red Cross.

Had you been there, you would have been touched by the handwritten notes taped to the walls of the hallway and lunchroom. Many were messages written by school children to their classmates, friends and family members who were missing or dead. People were hurting deeply and we all knew it would take time to process the full impact of this tragedy. Emotions ran raw, keeping our mental health counselors busy.

There in the client assistance room, I greeted an elderly couple who had driven through the mountains so they could donate directly to the Red Cross relief efforts. With tears in her eyes, the woman handed me a wad of bills and asked me to use it wherever it was needed most. Had you been there, I guarantee your eyes would have been moist as you observed the sincere generosity of people reaching out to help strangers in time of need. (Also, had you been there, you would have observed the protocols I followed in handling a cash donation, all in the name of accountability and stewardship.)

During my time on this disaster assignment, other lifelong memories were also etched into my mind.

I truly wish you’d been there with me when I:

• Took pictures of the Brownie troop as they toured our job headquarters which was set up in a large warehouse. The girls were wide-eyed as they saw behind the scenes of the disaster operation for which they had raised a couple hundred dollars.

• Sat on my hotel bed listening to my roommate from Massachusetts. He told stories of how, exactly one year ago, he was onsite with the Red Cross when the bombings occurred at the Boston Marathon. (Yes, I’d prefer to have my own private lodging, but we usually share accommodations with other Red Cross workers – often strangers – to ensure that donated resources go directly to the people we came to help.)

• Attended a community planning session focused on long-term recovery for the hundreds of people affected by the mudslide. The standing-room-only conference room was packed with our partners from all levels of government, a tribal nation, local businesses and nonprofit organizations. I wish you’d been there when, in the midst of our discussions, the door opened and in walked the governor to join us.

• Talked with a local Red Cross volunteer I had worked with on hurricanes and tornadoes in other parts of the nation. He had traveled to more than 30 disasters since Hurricane Katrina, but he was especially grateful to see others come to his corner of the country when a disaster hit too close to his home.

Yes, I wish you’d been there with me. But as I reflect on this disaster assignment, I realize I was never alone. In a very real way, you were always right there with me if you:

• Offered a prayer for those affected by this and other tragic disasters.

• Volunteered or worked anywhere within the Red Cross system.

• Worked with our valued government and nonprofit partners.

• Gave blood to save the life of a stranger.

• Made a financial contribution to someone in need.

In my years with the Red Cross, I’ve seen first-hand how the worst of times can bring out the best in people. I am humbled to be surrounded by so many caring individuals who make such great sacrifices in service to others.

Oh, and I’m really glad you were there with me. See you next time.

From the Archives: Red Cross Dogs

In honor of Pet First Aid Awareness Month, we look back at the role of dogs in the Red Cross.

While the American Red Cross did not use dogs during World War I, several foreign Red Cross societies employed dogs that greatly aided the Allied forces during the war. A number of these dogs were attached to ambulance units and aided their handlers in the search for wounded soldiers. The Red Cross dogs were trained to seek out a wounded soldier and get as close as possible so the soldier could access the dogs’ saddle bags, which contained first aid supplies and rations. Instead of barking and alerting the enemy, the dogs were trained to bring back something belonging to the soldier.


This Alexander Pope painting depicts a World War I Red Cross dog carrying the helmet of a wounded French soldier in the midst of a gas barrage.
This Alexander Pope painting depicts a World War I Red Cross dog carrying the helmet of a wounded French soldier in the midst of a gas barrage.


The retrieval method was eventually replaced when it became apparent that the dogs would occasionally rip off a bandage in their eagerness to return with something from the wounded soldier. Some Red Cross societies trained the dogs to return to their handler with an attached leash in their mouth to signify the discovery of a wounded soldier. Red Cross dogs did more than just locate wounded soldiers, they provided messenger and delivery services, often times carrying 25 to 30 pound packs of ammunition and rations through dangerous territory. These dogs also acted as scouts and guarded strategic posts, such as weapons factories.

Following World War II, The American Red Cross began using therapy dogs with convalescing service members in the Army Air Force Convalescent Center in Pawling, New York. Many of the dogs were even acquired as pets for the recovering soldiers. The American Red Cross still uses therapy dogs today. These dogs and their owners volunteer in shelters and nursing homes across the country and in hospitals around the world. American Red Cross dogs afford moments of joy in the wake of disasters and provide hope to those recovering from illness or injury.


Brian Riddle holds therapy dog Toffee at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. 2010.
Brian Riddle holds therapy dog Toffee at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. 2010.


After the immense service these dogs have provided and continue to provide, it is only fitting that we pay tribute by offering aid to animals in their times of need. With the American Red Cross’ Pet First Aid app, you will be able to give your pet the first aid it needs after an accident or emergency. With the app’s simple, step-by-step first aid instructions and a little practice, you should be able to produce better results than those of little Charles Benedict below.


Dallas, TX, 1960. Patient pup Jerry indulges Charles Benedict, 6, in a bit of first aid practice.
Dallas, TX, 1960. Patient pup Jerry indulges Charles Benedict, 6, in a bit of first aid practice.

Volunteers Map Fire-Affected Neighborhoods in Chile

Alissa and DrewWhen news of a major fire in Valparaíso, Chile made headlines on Monday, some people sent donations. Some people took to social media. And some people mapped.

Not wasting any time, digital volunteers gathered at the American Red Cross headquarters Monday morning, grabbed some caffeine and began to make a detailed map of neighborhoods affected by the fire.

The volunteers were in town attending a conference about OpenStreetMap—crowd-sourced mapping technology that’s been called the “Wikipedia of maps.” They congregated at the Red Cross building to work on individual projects, but when they heard that local Chilean mappers, Red Cross disaster specialists, and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) were calling for help in Valparaíso, 16 digital mappers volunteered to pitch in.

In the span of a few hours, they were able to build a map of Chilean neighborhoods that had not previously existed. Using satellite imagery, they traced the outline of buildings that stood before the fire. Responders can compare this “before” map with the post-fire landscape to understand the amount of damage done by the disaster. Stephen Smith of Burlington, Vermont explained it to me like this, “With a big fire, it’s difficult to know what was destroyed. If you can see where buildings used to stand, responders might know where to look for survivors.” Stephen learned how to use the OpenStreetMap technology in less than 10 minutes and was able to trace about 100 buildings in just an hour.

The Red Cross finds digital maps increasingly useful during international disasters. When Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines last November, the Red Cross and HOT asked volunteers to build a map of storm-affected towns and 1,700 people answered the call. The Red Cross loaded the updated maps onto relief workers’ GPS devices—it not only saved them time navigating to villages while delivering relief supplies, but also helped teams to assess damages.

While Monday’s volunteers had a special interest in mapping from the get-go, one beautiful thing about this type of crowd-sourced mapping  is that people don’t need specialized skills to contribute. Anyone can learn how to map at OpenStreetMap and can find humanitarian mapping “tasks” at HOT’s website, where the Red Cross has also asked help mapping areas in Guinea and Mauritania.

The Intersection of Work and Volunteering

Post by Jai Nassim

You’ve probably noticed this week the Red Cross has been celebrating the good work of its volunteers. Volunteers come to us from all walks of life, and all backgrounds. It’s one of the things that make this organization a great place to volunteer—there’s something for everyone to do. In fact, volunteering can be as simple as showing up for work. Does your company have a volunteer program? If not, ask! Volunteering time with those you work with is a great way to give back to your community while building bonds between co-workers.

The Red Cross offers a variety of opportunities for employees to lend their time and skills to make a difference, such as volunteering in the community, hosting blood drives and leading Workplace Giving Programs. Here are a few Annual Disaster Giving Program partners whose employees have gone above and beyond to support the Red Cross and its mission year round:

State Farm
For the past year, State Farm and its employees have hosted more than 40 blood drives resulting in more than 2,000 units of blood collected and donated to the Red Cross. State Farm promotes wellness as part of its community outreach program and designates “Wellness Ambassadors” to coordinate and spread the word about blood drives throughout the organization. Amy Howard, employee health services representative and blood drive coordinator at State Farm, shared why she gives blood, “for me personally, it’s knowing that I have helped save somebody’s life. It’s also a personal goal of overcoming a fear of needles. If it saves somebody’s life, than I can get over my fear to do it…[we] just like to help others.”

Grainger
Grainger has continued to support the Red Cross and its mission through employee, cash and product resources. Grainger’s investments have ensured that the Red Cross has a scalable volunteer workforce. They serve as the National Founding Sponsor of Ready When the Time Comes corporate volunteer program and are the National Launch Sponsor of Volunteer Connection, our online volunteer management system. Also, when disaster strikes, Grainger’s employees often step up to help the Red Cross with a financial gift.

University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix supports our Service to Armed Forces Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign, where its employees create and send holiday cards to active service members. Here’s a small sampling of what some University of Phoenix staff, students and faculty have written in the cards:

cards

“Thank you for your service, your bravery and the sacrifices that you have made to defend our country. Even if you feel alone on the holiday, know that you are always cared about – Michael”

“Thank you for all you have done to keep us safe, even though it might have been hard for you to do it. When you come back I’ll do everything I can to keep you safe and welcome you with open arms – U.S. Citizen”

“As a former service member I know the pain of deployment – especially around the holidays. Nevertheless, enjoy one day of good chow and a phone call home. Keep safe, and keep your buddies happy, and enjoy the well-deserved beer when you get home. Thanks for all you do! –Jonathan United States Air Force 2003-2007”

“’The task ahead of you is never greater than the power behind you’ – Sending you our love and support during this holiday season. Thank you for your service. We appreciate you! Sincerely, Michelle”

If your organization or corporation already partners with the Red Cross, please speak with your Red Cross relationship manager or your local Red Cross about your volunteerism needs.
If you’re new to the Red Cross and would like to know how to get your group involved, please contact your local chapter to learn more.

The Volunteers Reconnecting Families

As National Volunteer Week comes to a close, I am reminded that the work of American Red Cross volunteers never does. For our Restoring Family Links volunteers, the impact of their time and efforts literally brings families back together. This process can take months, sometimes even years.

Sometimes, volunteers are like Thu-Thuy Truong or Manyang Reath Ker, recipients of our services, whose most important relationships are pieced back together because of the American Red Cross and its volunteers, and are compelled to pay it forward. 



Manyang Reath Ker speaks about his experiences as a refugee and Restoring Family Links advocate.


Sometimes, volunteers are like Bob Wiltz or Elissa Maish whose tireless dedication are stemmed not from personal experiences of separation, but are fueled by seeing the impact of the work they do in their communities.


A student explains refugee camp layout and services provided during Volunteer Bob Wiltz's workshop.
A student explains refugee camp layout and services provided during Volunteer Bob Wiltz’s workshop.


Or sometimes, they are like Justin Coghill, and take personal passions like soccer and turn them into something much larger than that. Something that reaches entire groups of people beyond the city in which they reside.


Justin Coghill
Justin Coghill, right, at Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship One World Soccer Tournament for Refugee Youth.


Annually, the American Red Cross assists more than 5,000 families trying to reconnect with their loved ones in the U.S. and around the world. Many of the people behind those connections are volunteers, who work simply for the satisfaction of knowing they played a role in bringing two people together again and on donated time.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the American Red Cross. The volunteers behind the Restoring Family Links program are continuing to pump strong, and make us all proud.

No Stopping Us: Millennials Give Back and Get Ahead

Sometimes it’s easy to miss what’s right under your nose. Whether you’re a high school student looking for activities to give back or boost your college application, or away at college looking for that one way to have a lasting impact outside the classroom, the American Red Cross has a ton of opportunities across the country and in your community.

Red Cross youth options are typically diverse enough to fit into anyone’s interests, skills and schedule:

  • Summer Jobs: The Red Cross offers babysitting and lifeguarding training to help you stand out from the crowd of applicants and be prepared for whatever comes your way on the job.
  • Community and Giving Back: Disaster volunteers and blood donors play a huge role in what the Red Cross does each day. Whether it’s responding to home fires, comforting those affected by a tornado or helping save a life by donating blood, opportunities are always available on redcross.org.
  • Service and Leadership: Red Cross clubs, youth councils and camps all provide service and leadership opportunities to use your existing talents and even take on some new skills. One past camp student program director was even offered his first position after college as a part-time youth coordinator due to his dedication and success in managing a large-scale program. If you’re in college, your Greek or campus organization could fundraise for the Red Cross or help organize a blood drive to help fulfill service needs.

A full list of ideas is available on redcross.org.

Digital Mapping Volunteers Save Lives from the Comfort of their Homes


Relief workers use crowd-sourced maps in the Philippines

It’s National Volunteer Week – the time of year when we all put extra effort into recognizing the generous people who make the world a better place. This is the week to high-five that front desk volunteer at the blood donation center; fist bump a crossing guard; and flash those pearly whites at families working the soup kitchen.

There’s another group of volunteers who are not quite as easy to thank via high-fives and such: digital mappers. They’re not easily identifiable around town and aren’t typically donning Red Cross hats, but the work they perform is essential to Red Cross relief operations during international disasters.

Digital mappers update the maps of disaster-affected areas in the wake of international emergencies. These humanitarians use OpenStreetMap—crowd-sourced mapping technology—to create detailed and entirely open maps of the areas affected by disasters. Using their own computers, the volunteers trace roads, buildings and bodies of water. The Red Cross then uses these crowd-sourced maps to measure damage and deliver aid to people in need.

Volunteer mappers don’t need to be experts (or even close!) to update OpenStreetMap. In fact, Red Cross map guru, Dale Kunce (okay, he’s an expert) put a call out on his Twitter account the day after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in November – hoping that anyone with a few extra minutes would pitch in:

"Help the folks in the Philippines from your couch. Build a map."

Volunteers from across the country and around the world answered his call. About 1,700 remote mappers traced the affected area through the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). Together, they made 4.8 million edits to the Philippines base map that was loaded onto Red Cross relief workers’ GPS devices and utilized on the ground. When I talked to Robert Banick, a Red Cross mapper who deployed to the Philippines in the wake of the typhoon, he told me, “The maps saved [disaster specialists] from getting lost or wasting time when they had to reroute off damaged roads. They were able to give directions to Filipino drivers. It all leads to more efficient delivery of supplies to people affected by Typhoon Haiyan.”

The Red Cross and HOT are now organizing digital mapping volunteers to map cities and towns affected by Ebola – a deadly virus spreading in West Africa. These humanitarians made more than 1.5 million edits to OpenStreetMap last weekend, which is roughly equivalent to a year’s worth of work by an advanced, paid mapper. This Ebola map adds focus and efficiency to the global Red Cross network’s assistance in these affected communities.

We can’t physically fist bump our digital mapping volunteers and I don’t think sending an emoji would express how impactful and important their work is to Red Cross international relief work. I guess a huge “THANK YOU” from the proverbial rooftops will need to do for now. THANK YOU, mappers!! Happy National Volunteer Week.

Want to be a digital mapping volunteer? Learning the ropes literally takes 10 minutes. Visit to OpenStreetMap to get started and let us know when you’ve begun. 

National Volunteer Week: It Takes a Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to raise spirits and support physical needs for an individual, a family, or a neighborhood – anyone affected by an unexpected disaster that brings a community to its knees.VolunteerCollage

While you probably know the Red Cross provides food, shelter, mental health services and many other support systems in large and small emergencies, did you know that 95 percent of that disaster work is accomplished by volunteers? 95 percent! The Red Cross clearly would not be successful without these generous contributions of time and expertise. Volunteers are your neighbors, your friends and your family – they are truly the face of the Red Cross.

In honor of National Volunteer Week, here are some of our favorite vignettes of volunteers on the ground for both disaster and blood services:

  • Stephen has volunteered with the Red Cross for 81 years, starting as a toddler helping his grandmother pass out coffee and donuts. In his adult years, he has taught numerous first aid and CPR classes and volunteered for disaster deployments that included numerous floods, fires, earthquakes and hurricanes. His service experience now includes a total of 65 years driving a Red Cross emergency response vehicle, a distinction very few volunteers can match.
  • Shoba’s unique approach to volunteering comes from her big picture view of helping everyone involved in a difficult situation. For example, during Hurricane Sandy she made every effort to be kind to not only those personally affected, but also others helping the recovery effort. She focused on utility workers, who are often hard pressed for a friendly face when electricity or water is out. This is one of many instances that fit Shoba’s regular philosophy on what it means to give during a time of need.
  • Jasmine is a high school student in the Oregon Young Scholars Program. When the time came to complete her program’s volunteer service requirement, she chose the Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Services warehouse. Jasmine spent her year of service assembling the supply kits needed for collecting blood and processing donations. Like most teens, Jasmine has a busy life with school, family activities and friends. Yet, two years after completing her program’s requirement, she is still a regular volunteer. Every week, even during school breaks, you will find this young hero busy assembling kits. In all, Jasmine has donated some 176 hours of work to help keep the blood drives running smoothly.

This is just a snapshot of volunteer stories. To read more about Stephen, Shoba, Jasmine and many more volunteers across the country, head to the National Volunteer Week coverage on redcross.org.

Thank You, Volunteers, for Time Alone with My Thoughts

For the most part, I spend my days on the go with nary a free minute to stop and think, at least not about anything except what I’m doing at that moment and the very next task on my to-do list.

redcrossstickerYesterday my to-do list included donating blood. I donate blood because it saves lives, makes a difference in my community, and I physically can…but a little part of me looks forward to donating blood because it provides me with an opportunity to sit quietly by myself and just THINK. I watch people and listen to the conversations going on around me and let my mind wander…sometimes a little too far.

The bullet points below cover the many thoughts and questions that meandered through my head during my blood donation. (Keep in mind that the blood drive took place inside the student center at a large university, so the crowd around me consisted primarily of college students.)

  • Ah, this is nice…just me, myself, and I relaxing here on this bed.
  • Ouch! At least he hit my vein on his first try.
  • Ah, this is nice…just me, myself, and a needle relaxing here on this bed.
  • I love that the campus Red Cross Club has grown to the point where it can support blood drives on campus.
  • I really need to check in with my local chapter about retaking the Disaster Public Affairs class.
  • I wish I could rewind the clock and enjoy just one more day as a 21-year-old college student.
  • HOLD THE PHONE. Have denim shorts overalls come back in style?!
  • If it means having to wear denim shorts overalls, I think I’ll skip rewinding the clock and enjoying one more day as a college student, thankyouverymuch.
  • Why didn’t that boy – young man? I don’t know what to call college students these days – comb his hair before he left home this morning?! Note to self: inform Will (my seven-year-old son) that even when in college he MUST run a brush through his hair before walking out the door.
  • Aside from the Red Cross employees, I am without a doubt the oldest person in this building.
  • I should buy wrinkle cream on my way home.
  • I wonder what kind of juice and which snacks will be provided after I finish my donation? I hope they have Oreos. (They didn’t. Major bummer.)
  • I wish I had a grand piano in my living room. Though if I did, I’d have to get rid of my couch.
  • What is that amazing smell?! When my donation wraps up I’ll…

Red Cross Employee: “Ma’am, you’re almost done.”
Erin: “What? Oh. Already?”
Red Cross Employee: “Yep, you’re a quick donor.”

As I dragged myself back to reality, I glanced around the lounge and was struck by one final thought:

  • None of this – the blood drive, the lives saved, and yes, my short-lived but greatly appreciated time alone with my thoughts – would be possible without volunteers.

Thank you, American Red Cross volunteers, for all you do to make our communities healthier, safer places to live. Happy National Volunteer Week!