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By The Way: D.N. Red Cross ready to swing into action

If disaster should strike Del Norte County, Red Cross CEO Dave Bosteder and his volunteer staff of 89 stands   ready to swing into action.

There has been a local chapter since 1917, according to Bosteder, and on a recent tour of the headquarters, I was impressed.

Ninety-seven percent of the workforce consists of volunteers: board members, disaster action teams, CPR instructors, and scores of others — the people who make this chapter a viable unit.

4,000 hours

Last year, more than 4,600 volunteer hours were put in, keeping Red Cross alive and well in this area. One of them was Amanda, who was stuffing envelopes at a front desk as we talked.

“We have 20 active volunteers ready to go at any time,” Bosteder explained.

The building has an emergency radio room manned by a group of volunteer amateur radio operators. An aging satellite radio is on hand and power outages pose no major problem here.

Quilters

During the past year, another group of volunteers has been hard at work creating lap robes for veterans and quilts for wounded service members in Germany’s Landstuhl regional medical center. Among heroines of these efforts is Dolly Adair, who turns in six lap robes a month, and Ruth Burrel, whose Crescent City Quilters manages 10 quilts a month. This past year that added up to 60 handmade lap robes and 30 quilts.

The chapter has close ties to services rendered in Siskiyou County, and works closely with all appropriate agencies in emergencies. Forty local emergencies in a recent year cost a total of $28,000, said Bosteder.

CPR class
CPR is a big project with the chapter, and a free public class is being planned for March. About 100 people are expected to attend, Bosteder estimates.

By the way, right now, the chapter needs money to cope with continuing demands for its services as well as to maintain and improve its equipment.

We may not have one of those devastating area-wide disasters in 2009, but who can tell where the next local disaster may strike? And if you don’t have the cash, can you spare the time to volunteer? Visit headquarters at 1672 Northcrest Drive and see where you might fit in.

Ann Terrill Garlick is a veteran, award-winning journalist and a native Californian. She spent nearly 23 years as one of the editors at the Orange County Register.

 


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