Red Cross Thanks Community, Plans Fundraisers

While planning for three upcoming fundraisers for National Red Cross Month in March, the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is thanking the community partners who have been supportive of the chapter’s efforts.

At the same time, community members are acknowledging the critical work the chapter accomplishes, and reminding the public that sooner or later nearly everyone is touched by the Red Cross.

“We now know more than ever how necessary it is for the average person to have first aid and CPR training,” Mary Arnzen, the local chapter’s executive director, said.

“The recent emergency at Notre Dame Elementary reminds us of the vital role of first aid for an injured person before professional help arrives. First aid training can mean the difference between life or death.”

Since last July the chapter has trained more than 800 people in health and safety courses. Arnzen said the chapter hopes to offer different types of classes and continuing education credits for professionals.

“We also hope to expand the number of basic first aid and CPR classes,” Arnzen added. The chapter is using Scioto Area Foundation grant support for a pilot project teaching first aid to students in grades 9-12 at Portsmouth City, Portsmouth East and Notre Dame schools.

“If the project is successful we will apply again for support from the Scioto Foundation to include more schools in the county,” Arnzen said. “This training enables the student to have a three-year Red Cross certification in first aid which could be used for a future job requirement.”

In addition to first aid and other health and safety courses, the local chapter supports the community during both widespread and individual catastrophic events. Since last July the chapter has served 156 people in single- and multi-family fires, providing more than $31,000 in support services. The chapter has collected more than 2,000 units of blood for area emergency needs, and has served important roles in other community emergencies, such as the recent emergency at Notre Dame Elementary School, where Principal Kay Kern said the Red Cross provided important support.

“We thank the (local Red Cross) for their quick response to coordinating counseling and for providing food and drink to all parties concerned,” Kern said. “The Red Cross was there for us day and night. We could not have even thought about the services that were provided by the Red Cross. We really appreciate them!”

Arnzen said the chapter’s services would not be possible without the help of community supporters. Recently, Southern Ohio Medical Center President Randy Arnett presented a pledge of support to the chapter.

“It is great to have such helpful community partners like SOMC!” Arnzen said. “They provide monetary support, along with conducting blood drives, and then they offer volunteers to us.”

In March the chapter will hold three important fundraising events. A community rummage sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at the CAY Building, 2310 Sunrise Ave. The annual Celebrity Server night will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 4 at the Golden Corral restaurant in New Boston, with local law enforcement and area clergy participating. All server tips raised will benefit the local Red Cross.

The annual Red Cross Disaster Blaster will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, March 14 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. This major fundraiser for disaster services will include a grand prize trip to Las Vegas, plus cash prizes, karaoke and a chance at the “Suitcase Game,” a popular game show. Tickets are $50 per couple and available from the Chapter, 614 Glover St., or any Red Cross Board member. Call (740) 354-3293