Red Cross event aimed at recruiting new volunteers

PARKERSBURG – The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is holding a recruitment event Monday morning for people who would like to volunteer, an official said.

The program will begin at 9 a.m. at the chapter’s Eighth Street offices and is open to those who would like to volunteer their time to the organization.

“This is for anyone who would like to volunteer with us, but it is more geared toward our Disaster Action Team,” said Todd Wines, disaster program manager for territory 1, West Virginia Region of the American Red Cross. “These are the volunteers who respond to fire and help those who have lost so much.”

Wines said the organization is down to about four of these specially trained Disaster Action Team members and is in desperate need.

“It is really the most rewarding position because these are the people who are on the scene and immediately helping those in need,” he said.

Along with sending volunteers throughout the state and farther east, the chapter’s local Disaster Action Team volunteers are prepared to handle all local emergencies such as fires and other issues.

House fires are the biggest disasters the chapter responds to in the coverage area with an average between 40 and 50 single-family fires each year, said Wines, disaster program manager for a 17-county territory.

In 2012, the department responded to 48 house fires in the immediate coverage area of Wood, Wirt, Roane, Ritchie, Gilmer, Calhoun, Pleasants and Jackson counties and the City and Township of Belpre, Ohio, said Wines.

By early November 2013, the chapter had seen roughly triple the number of house fires as the previous year.

“We need volunteers who are willing to go out at anytime to help these people who, in many cases, have lost everything,” Wines said.

The roughly two-hour-long program will be headed up by chapter volunteer coordinator Shannon Taylor.

Information on volunteering, the application process, background checks and interviews for positions will be given in the program.

The event will allow those who attend to get the most up-to-date information on organizational changes and opportunities available to the volunteers.

Those who attend this meeting will learn how the chapter volunteers work in many areas of the Red Cross, including disasters, military and health.

More than 90 percent of Red Cross functions are performed by volunteers, such as casework, training, building maintenance and administration.

For questions or to register for an event, contact Wines at 304-485-7311 or at Todd.Wines@redcross.org.