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.
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.
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 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
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
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.