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Red Cross needs more volunteers

RedCrossMeetNGreet 004The Lamar County Chapter of the American Red Cross is looking for several good volunteers.

“Our service delivery is all done through trained volunteers,” John Davis, the chapter’s executive director, said at a “Meet-N-Greet” open house Tuesday. “If we don’t have enough volunteers, we have to call people from the Red River County teams or the Hunt County teams.”

That was exactly what happened when the Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at Lamar Avenue Church of Christ during December’s ice storms and could not find enough local people to help staff the facility.

In another situation, a large apartment fire on Clarksville a few years ago left 50 units closed and residents with nowhere to go. The chapter helped with immediate assistance, shelter, feeding, communications, finding local partners to help and returning home. Such responses are part of the Red Cross mission.

“We’re going to respond, but we need to respond with Lamar County folks. It cuts down on time,” Davis said. “We’re heavily resourced to respond to these events. We just need the human resources.”

The chapter has about half a dozen disaster response volunteers and another half dozen or so who work with armed forces programs. Davis said he would like to see 10 times that.

The “Meet-N-Greet” potluck dinner was held in the Red Cross commissary at Camp Maxey. It was the first in a planned series of quarterly breakfast and dinner gatherings designed to bolster volunteer recruitment for the Lamar County Chapter of the American Red Cross. The organization needs volunteers for both armed forces services and disaster response, Davis said. They also need first aid and CPR instructors.

“They’ve been invaluable during a lot of the crises we’ve had in the last few years, going back all the way to the tornado,” said Stephen Gerrald, president of the United Way board of directors. “They make sure our community is cared for and our troops are cared for. That’s very important for us.”

The Red Cross has scheduled a class for two-year adult and pediatric first aid/CPR/AED certification March 22. The training costs $110, but full scholarships are available so that the training is free. To enroll, visit redcross.org/takeaclass or call 1-800-733-2767 and use the coupon code PREPAREPARIS1214.

For more information about volunteering with the American Red Cross, contact Volunteer Coordinator Sherry Maxwell at 903-249-9901.

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