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Red Cross serves both in times of need and everyday

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
The Eastern Escambia Chapter of the Red Cross is taking March -- which is set aside as national Red Cross Month -- to get the word out about the work it does in our local communities, in times of trouble and on an everyday basis.
Founded in the 1917, the local Red Cross Chapter has been in the business of helping Escambia Countians for about 87 years now. Today, that work manifests itself in a number of different ways.
The Chapter and its volunteers are perhaps most visible when disaster befalls an individual or the community as a whole. A good example would be a fire that claims a family's home and possessions.
In such a case, the Red Cross' work begins almost immediately, according to Chapter Director Rogene Martin.
More material help is soon to follow, as the Chapter offers assistance in meeting the food-, clothing- and shelter-related needs of those affected by a traumatic event.
The funds used to obtain the items needed are provided by the local Chapter. Only in the event of a large-scale disaster is the Chapter able to seek help from the national levels of the organization.
Much of that money comes from private and corporate donations, as well as special events the Chapter plans. One such event, a rummage sale, is scheduled for Saturday, March 27 in front of the Chapter's office at 1014 Douglas Ave., Ste. C. This is right across the street from Dairy Queen and Auto Zone.
The Red Cross moved to this location in October, after having operated from the second floor of the Courthouse Annex previously.
Other methods the Chapter employs to raise funds include the sale of informational packets on how to prepare for emergencies, and deal with them once they've occurred.
All told, the Chapter gets by on a budget of about $49,000 a year. Martin said that her position of Chapter manager is part-time, and that the Chapter currently has seven regular volunteers.
The volunteer compliment could always use new recruits, Martin said, especially in the area of disaster response, for which training is provided.
Aside from distaster and emergency response, the Red Cross offers valuable services to men and women in the armed forces. Primarily, the organization is chartered by Congress to verify and transmit emergency messages back and forth between soldiers and their families.
For instance, if a soldier has a family member who falls ill, it is the Red Cross' responsibility to verify that information and get it overseas.
Other services the Red Cross offers include: