Guest Column: Local Red Cross chapter looking for ‘Community HEROES’

By Cedric A. Johnson

Public Relations & Communications Manager,

Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross

Whether it’s a tornado or a heart attack, a call for blood or a call for help, the Red Cross is there 24/7.

For more than 90 years, the Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross has served as the hero for thousands of people when they needed it most. Most Americans see us at work during disasters that gain national or international attention—such as the recent tsunami in American Samoa. What the public often doesn’t see is everything that goes into making that response possible.

The American Red Cross maintains a national infrastructure of more than 20 warehouses, stocked with enough cots, blankets, and pre-packaged meals to serve half a million people; a fleet of more than 330 emergency response vehicles; and an army of more than 80,000 trained disaster volunteers that can be mobilized at a moment’s notice.

The economic crisis we are all experiencing is making it more challenging than ever to raise funds necessary to help those in need. The Rock River Chapter is calling on community members to become heroes for the American Red Cross. Community HEROES commit to raising $1,000 or more for the local chapter. Funds can be raised in a variety of ways. For example, individuals may work alone or may choose to involve their company, civic club, church or school in their fund-raising efforts. In the past year, the Red Cross has responded to an increasing number of disasters at home—including the flooding of Keith Creek, the Poplar Grove tornado, and an average of six residential fires every month—and abroad.

If the Red Cross had not been there, who would’ve been there to:

υ Provide CPR/AED/first aid training to the local teacher whose quick actions helped save a student’s life after he went into cardiac arrest;

υ Assemble items for comfort kits to offer a family in Oregon after their home caught fire;

υ Help facilitate an emergency message and travel for a local solider stationed in the Middle East when his grandfather passed away;

υ Help provide cleanup kits to families in American Samoa after a devastating tsunami?

The fact is, “your” American Red Cross can only be there through the generosity of people like you. Make a powerful statement by saying you will be a Community HERO for the Red Cross: You are stating that the safety and well-being of your family, neighbors and employees starts with you.

Our purpose is to empower everyday people to perform extraordinary acts in the face of emergencies, and with the support of our Community HEROES, we can empower people right here in the Rock River Valley. Through the Red Cross, we give Americans a lifetime of opportunities to reach out and make a difference in someone’s life. Take the first step and contact us today.

To become a Community HERO, visit or call (815) 963-8471.

From the December 2-8, 2009 issue

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