Kesselring briefs commissioners on American Red Cross accomplishments

Sharon Kesselring, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northwest West Virginia, discusses the agency with the Wood County Commission Monday. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — The American Red Cross continues to provide services to people in Wood County, its regional director told the Wood County Commission on Monday.

March is American Red Cross Month and Executive Director of American Red Cross of Northwest West Virginia Sharon Kesselring is making her way to the 17 county commissions in her service area to give an update on its accomplishments.

Over the last fiscal year 2015-16, there were 85 Red Cross responses in Wood County where the agency served 230 people. ”Most of those responses were fires and minor flooding,” Kesselring said.

They had 75 cases dealing with active military. They are helping veterans apply for benefits.

They have had 1,487 people trained in first aid, CPR and water safety locally.

”We had 2,633 units of blood donated in Wood County,” Kesselring said, adding since January they have had a shortage of O-negative blood and platelets and are looking for donations.

Over the last year, 290 smoke alarm installations were performed.

The Red Cross relies on volunteers to help with the relief efforts.

”We have 75 volunteers here in Wood County,” Kesselring said. ”That is really an amazing number to me. They are so dedicated.”

There was a fire in Parkersburg Sunday at around 10 p.m. where volunteers went out and helped the people who were displaced.

”Our volunteers are on call 24/7 and are heroes to our community,” Kesselring said.

Commissioners commended the work the Red Cross has been doing locally in setting up shelters in times of need and helping in other ways.

”You are out in the community and you do great work,” said Commission President Blair Couch. ”You provide a benefit that is hard to put a dollar amount to.

”We know that when people are in crisis, we can rest assure that the Red Cross will be there and will set things right.”

Couch pointed to work in Mineral Wells and Belleville when tornadoes and flooding have impacted the area.

Commissioner Jimmy Colombo credited the Red Cross volunteers for their dedication in the challenges facing them.

”They were spot on,” he said.