Red Cross Seeks Volunteers

The Highland Local Emergency Planning Committee held an open house at the county modular building earlier this week to showcase the capabilities of its new Emergency Operations Center. Deerfield resident Pat O’Neill from the American Red Cross was on hand to give out information and offer assistance, and she talked about the organization’s activities and the need for volunteers.

“I am a community volunteer leader, and a disaster responder for the Red Cross. This area is actually in the district under the Roanoke and New River Valley chapter of the American Red Cross. I’m here today to support the efforts of the LEPC and their Emergency Operations Center, and also to give out some disaster information, some preparedness information – things like preparing for home fires, or natural disasters, such as floods, tornados, hurricanes – that kind of thing. I’m also looking for volunteers. We have several different areas that people could volunteer for. One that I’m particularly interested in is what we call DAT volunteers – that’s Disaster Action Team volunteers. These are people who respond to local disasters, such as single family fires, or apartment fires, or little local floods. We show up, we’re called by the fire departments, or the local EOC’s, and we go and offer assistance to the people involved immediately.

“This week, I responded to one locally, in Williamsville, to a fire, a single family fire, and offered them some financial assistance. They had lost their house, and everything was gone. And that’s the kind of thing that we’re looking for people to do around here.”

Listeners interested in the Red Cross can learn more about becoming involved by visiting their website.

“  And from there, you can go on to information on getting classes, getting information about preparedness, and for volunteering.

“If you wish to volunteer, everybody has to go through a standard procedure to volunteer, including a background check, and some training. We understand that it sometimes takes a little bit of effort to get the training, which, a lot of it is online, not all of it, but most all of it is online these days.

“We certainly want to be good stewards of the donated dollar, because we are not government funded. We are completely funded by private and corporate donations, and what we can earn. So we want to be good stewards of that, and we certainly want to make anything that we do consistent, from one disaster to another, from one family to another, so we need some training to make that all happen.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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