One of the best things about my job is that when a disaster occurs, here in central Texas or half way around the world, I know exactly how I can help. I remember well that terrible day before I was a Red Crosser when the federal building in Oklahoma City was obliterated. I am from Oklahoma and the feeling of panic and helplessness is one I will never forget.
So, I really do understand after some terrible event when hundreds or thousands of central Texans email, call or come by the chapter with one question, “How can I help?” I know they are frustrated by not being able to jump in and hand out water and blankets or dig through the rubble to save survivors. It is hard to explain that often an untrained and spontaneous volunteer will make the situation more complicated for the experts. It isn’t easy to learn that the used clothes you donated will sit in a warehouse and rot because the donation was not included in the logistical planning and there is no way to clean, store and transport them.
I want to encourage everyone to take steps now to reduce those helpless moments in your life because there is no feeling in the world more satisfying than knowing you have been of service to someone on the most terrible day of their life. How? Get trained and volunteer before something happens. Take a first aid and CPR class. Get trained to work in a shelter or do damage assessment after a flood or storm. Help the Red Cross plan with government officials to be ready when disaster strikes. It is simple and the disaster training is free and the money you pay for your CPR class is used to help in local disasters.
If you take these steps, the next time disaster strikes our community you won’t have that helpless feeling. You’ll know exactly what to do. Join the American Red Cross and part of the team.
For information on how to get trained and volunteer contact us at 512-928-4271 or visit our website http://www.centex.redcross.org.
-Marty McKellips, CEO