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Guest column/Local Red Cross chapter thanks all who help

June 30, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

As our fiscal year comes to an end, I want to take this opportunity to thank our financial donors, corporate and media partners, volunteers and blood donors for all their support this past year.

This has been a year of change at the Red Cross with our realignment to the Northeast Ohio Region that includes Chapters from the following counties: Erie, Huron, Lorain, Medina, Geauga, Lake, Ashtabula, Richland, Holmes, Summit, Portage, Tuscarawas, Carroll, Harrison, Columbiana, Stark, Warren, Trumbull, Ashland, Wayne, Cuyahoga and Jefferson. Health and safety services broke off into its own division to provide CPR and first-aid training. To also reduce operating costs, all financial accounting services were located under one division, reducing the time and costs associated with those functions at each chapter.

All chapter employees were brought under one umbrella for employment as National Red Cross employees, reducing health care and other benefit costs. It was a savings to the entire organization ensuring more dollars were able to go to services and programs.

Our disaster response teams in Jefferson County responded to more than 39 fires, providing families with temporary shelter, food, clothing and mental health counseling. Chapter volunteers and nursing students from the Franciscan University of Steubenville presented programs in many of our schools on disaster preparedness and basic first aid. Chapter staff and volunteers also helped families send emergency messages regarding the serious illness or death of a loved one and even good news when a child was born to those serving in the military.

A special thank you to our media partners: the Herald-Star, WTOV-TV, WOGH-FM, WCDK-FM and Clear Channel who remind residents of upcoming bloodmobiles, sponsor our annual Media Blood Donor Day and support other important events in the community.

I want to especially thank those blood donors who waited for an hour or more to donate on Monday at St. Florian Hall and also thank those who could not wait. Your dedication to saving lives makes you an extraordinary blood donor. Drawing prize winners were Colin McCalla, Betty Jo Gilloon, Tiffany Braniff and Brenda Powley.

None of these things would be possible without the support of our many financial donors, those who attend our special events and the United Way of Jefferson County. We also need to thank those donors who reached into their pockets and unused ashtrays for loose change and supported our bucket campaign on March 31 in Wintersville, helping us raise more than $2,500. Our corporate partners include Chesapeake Energy, IBEW Local 246, AEP Ohio, Tri-State Financial, E.C.H.O. Fund, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Barium and Chemicals, Tri-State Security, Trinity Health System, Iron City Distributing, AEP Cardinal Plant, Carpenters Local 186 and Hauser Furniture. These organizations make our special events possible.

Our volunteers work tirelessly responding to disasters and preparing families for disasters and other emergencies; greeting donors and serving refreshments at blood drives; providing office support; and planning special events. Fewer than 100 registered volunteers provided 3,162 hours of service. Additional hours were provided by those students and employees who supported blood drives at their schools and workplaces.

Upcoming events include Girls Night Out in August, our holiday auction and the Doo-Wop Bus Trip in December. Call the chapter at (740) 264-7244 for information.

You can help by donating blood, volunteering, providing financial support by making a direct donation to the chapter or supporting the United Way with a payroll deduction at your workplace.

On behalf of the board of directors and those we serve, thank you.

(Musso is the executive director of the American Red Cross Jefferson County Chapter.)

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