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The Red Cross Needs You | Business Round Table | Midweek.com

The Red Cross Needs You

By Coralie Chun Matayoshi
Wednesday - March 01, 2006
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Honolulu firefighters (from left): Shane De Mello, Jason Habu, Keono Kalahiki, Jay Peloso and Tim Turgeon are repeat volunteers for the American Red Cross Hawaii’s annual Hats Off Campaign. These civil servants plan to volunteer again at this year’s event March 3 and 4

Honolulu firefighters (from left): Shane De Mello, Jason
Habu, Keono Kalahiki, Jay Peloso and Tim Turgeon are
repeat volunteers for the American Red Cross Hawaii’s
annual Hats Off Campaign. These civil servants plan to
volunteer again at this year’s event March 3 and 4

March is National Red Cross Month, and what better time to get to know your Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross.

1) We are not a government agency. Even though we are chartered by Congress to respond to disasters and provide emergency communications between deployed soldiers and their loved ones, as well as work side by side with firefighters, police, civil defense and military to keep people safe, we really rely on the generosity of Hawaii’s people to provide critical services to the community.

2) We respond to disasters in Hawaii every two to three days. Most people think of the Red Cross only during a hurricane, but we respond to about 140 disasters a year. Just because something awful didn’t happen to a lot of people all at once (like a tsunami), doesn’t mean it’s not a disaster. When someone has lost everything they own in a fire, or a loved one or pet in a tragedy, it’s every bit of a disaster to that person.

3) We are ready to respond to disasters 24/7. When you go to sleep at night, one of your neighbors is a Red Cross volunteer who sleeps with a phone under his or her pillow, ready to get up at 2 a.m. to help you if your house catches on fire. This is what Red Cross is all about - neighbor helping neighbor - across the street, across the nation and around the world.


4) We are experts in disaster mental health counseling. When tragedy strikes, Red Cross provides not only food, clothing and shelter, but crisis counseling to help people get back on their feet and on with their lives. Internationally, American Red Cross volunteers taught local Red Cross workers how to help 400,000 tsunami survivors cope with horrific losses. Nationally, trained Red Cross mental health volunteers helped victims of 9/11, Oklahoma City bombing and the West Virginia mining explosion get by for just another day. In Hawaii, we helped the victims of Pearl Harbor, Hilo tsunami, New Year’s and Manoa floods, Sacred Falls, Ehime Maru, mercury contamination and every disaster since 1917 when Red Cross was established in Hawaii.

5) We helped with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Hawaii’s people gave generously to the cause of humanity. More than 200 churches, schools, companies and civic groups raised over $5 million for the victims of Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Thirty-four disaster relief volunteers, including myself, rushed to their aid. The Hawaii Red Cross also opened its arms to 70 families who fled from the hurricanes, some without anything more than the clothes on their backs.

6) We teach 36,000 people every year how to save lives through CPR, first aid, nurse aide, family caregiving, lifeguard, water safety, baby-sitting and pet first aid training.

7) We teach swimming for free every summer. Fifty people in Hawaii drown every year and another 150 nearly drown. To save lives, we have offered a free swim program at Ala Moana Beach for more than 40 years. Last summer 700 adults and keiki learned how to swim.


8) We provide First Aid Station teams. Almost every weekend, trained Red Cross volunteers administer first aid, free of charge, at community events like the State Fair, soccer tournaments and Honolulu Marathon.

9) All Red Cross disaster training and services are free. The Red Cross turns your compassion into action. Our services are a gift from the people of Hawaii - neighbors helping in a time of need.

10) We need your help. With the threat of avian flu, bioterrorist attack, war in Iraq and inevitable major disaster in Hawaii, the Red Cross is more relevant than ever before. We need your help. Get involved today. Log onto www.hawaiiredcross.org, or call 739-8109 to donate or 739-8118 to volunteer.

Next Week: Dave McKenna, President Graham Builders

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