A volunteer recruitment drive effort by the American Red Cross in Wheeling last week gave organizers hope the Red Cross soon could have more presence in the Northern Panhandle and more responders here when emergency strikes the region.
Three individuals came to the Red Cross office in Wheeling to inquire about volunteering, while two others called to express interest in doing so, according to Todd Wines, disaster program manager for the Mid-Ohio Valley region of the American Red Cross.
Wines said having about 10 volunteers would be a good start to have full-time Red Cross operations locally. Presently, the Red Cross office is open just three days a week in Wheeling.
"The more volunteers we have, the more we can be open," Wines said. "We have some volunteers, but not enough."
In the event of an emergency in the Northern Panhandle, volunteers from the regional office in Parkersburg would be summoned, according to Wines.
Anyone interested in volunteering can do so by stopping by the Red Cross office at 193 29th St. in Wheeling; calling the office at 304-232-0711; or by going to www.redcross.org/wv/parkersburg.
Red Cross volunteers attend to the health and safety of a community during times of emergencies and disasters. They provide food, shelter, comfort and home for families affected by fires, flooding and tornadoes.
They assist patients at Veterans Administration and military hospitals and often are called upon to relay information to them about family events at home.
They teach community classes in CPR, first aid and water safety to children and adults, as well as babysitting classes for teenagers.
"There are no set hours for volunteers," said Shannon Taylor, volunteer services coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Valley Region of the American Red Cross. "If you have only a couple of hours a week to serve, don't let that stop you. We can definitely use them."