Except for maybe the seventeenth (St. Patrick’s Day, don’t you know), you might want to be wearing something red throughout the month of March to recognize National Red Cross Month and to show your support to all those everyday heroes who step up to help their neighbors in need whenever natural or man-made disaster strikes.
“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to become part of the Red Cross and there are many different ways to do it,” White said. “They can develop a preparedness plan for their household, become a Red Cross volunteer, give blood, or take a Red Cross class, just to name a few.”
March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. Since then, every president, including President Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month. In fact, the American Red Cross has been helping people in need for more than 130 years, and much of our work is accomplished through the work of our volunteers … people just like you.
So, what do Red Cross volunteers enable us to do … you might ask. Good question. Volunteers and donations make it possible for us to:
• Respond to nearly 70,000 disasters, large and small, in the U.S. each year.
• Provide 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world.
• Collect and distribute nearly half of the nation’s blood supply.
• Train millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills.
Here in the New Hampshire area last year, the American Red Cross responded to 297 local emergencies, assisted 225 military families and trained 22,043 people in lifesaving skills. And, people from this area donated more than 70,000 units of blood.
Because it seems like you see the Red Cross in every television news report from a fire or disaster area, it’s easy to forget sometimes that the Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. And donations are a good investment – an average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross goes to helping people in need.
American Red Cross New Hampshire has a number of activities planned for Red Cross Month. Governor Maggie Hassan signed a proclamation designating March as Red Cross Month and joined us in recognizing New Hampshire Heroes at the New Hampshire Red Cross’ annual Heroes Breakfast with Title Sponsor Unitil Corporation March 6th at Southern New Hampshire University, and a board alumni event will be held on March 28th. In fact, the Heroes Breakfast event was held this week to recognized New Hampshire citizens who stepped up over the past year to help save or change somebody’s life.
This year’s Heroes are:
• Kellie Barr-Foster, of Barrington, was rock climbing at Stonehouse Pond in Barrington when she heard shouting coming from the pond. A fisherman had capsized his boat and was under duress, weighted down by his waders and fishing line tangled around his legs. Kellie quickly jumped into the water and swam him to safety.
• For over 13 years, Christopher Bridge, of Portsmouth, has been making it his priority to donate platelets on a regular basis. The time required to collect platelets is approximately 2 hours, so consistent donors are scarce and with a shelf life of only 5 days, the need for platelets is great. As a double needle triple unit donor, Chris’ commitment is invaluable.
• Described as “an angel sent by God,” Robin Comstock, President/CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, was behind a car when it was involved in a serious accident. She immediately stopped and ran to aid the driver of the car, who had been seriously injured. She provided a compassionate presence and support to the victim and her daughter until the EMTs arrived.
• Soldiers of the Fox Company, 1-169th AV of the New Hampshire National Guard performed hundreds of life saving missions in Afghanistan, carrying 527 patients to higher levels of care, and were the first aircrews to provide blood transfusions during flight.
• The Waterville Valley Academy Staff sprang into action when a 14 year old at their summer training camp went into cardiac arrest during training. Several of the coaches worked together to perform CPR while a patroller quickly responded with an AED and oxygen.