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Red Cross stands by those in need

The Red Cross serves people who have personal tragedies as well as those involved in mass disasters.

Every year, the American Red Cross helps out people that are involved in as many as 70,000 disasters, which include house fires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents, explosions, and other natural and man-made disasters.

Locally, "The Red Cross", as we are commonly known in Carbon, Emery and San Juan counties, has been around for many years.

Jeanne Martin is the volunteer coordinator for the local organization. She has been a volunteer for over 22 years. In this capacity she has helped clients when disasters have hit their homes with fires and floods; clients needing assistance with utilities as in Rocky Mountain Power and Questar through the REACH Program; major disasters as the Willow Creek Mine fire helping in evacuating residents of Helper and sheltering them in Wellington; HAZMAT spills forcing residents from their homes and sheltering them, and being there and helping the families of the Crandall Canyon mine disaster.

During these disasters, Jeanne has had help from caring people who have just chipped in so that she is able to take care of the people needing Red Cross assistance. The Mountain Valley Chapter of the Red Cross from Provo administers the funding which Jeanne uses by providing vouchers for housing, clothing, food, etc. when fire strikes a family and they lose everything.

The REACH program, through the Red Cross, pays for utilities for elderly and disabled citizens. This program functions on a yearly basis. However, most clients need help after the HEAT program has been exhausted in the early spring. The program usually assists 200 clients per year.

During the Willow Creek mine fire, Wellington Elementary School provided shelter and food for the Helper evacuees. The kitchen was used to fix small meals, provide snacks and water, and cots were provided for overnight stays for the displaced people. The volunteers stepped in and provided care and comfort to many distressed residents.

As a community the area is still hurting from the Crandall Canyon mine disaster but it should be known that the Red Cross was there from day one. Volunteers from Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo and Jeanne from Price were there throughout the long ordeal.

Jeanne contacted the local vendors for help in providing food, water, snacks, etc. Albertson's, Walmart, Smith's, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Meadow Gold, Food Ranch, Home Town Market and R Vermont, Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Utah.

Overall, volunteers made this sad chapter in our communities less stressful for families, rescuers, law enforcement and other agencies.

The American Red Cross is not a government agency. However, its authority to provide disaster relief was formalized when, in 1905, the Red Cross was chartered by Congress to "carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same."

The charter is not only a grant of power, but also an imposition of duties and obligations to the nation, to disaster victims, and to the people who generously support its work with their donations.

Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people's immediate emergency disaster-caused needs. When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services to address basic human needs. In addition to these services, the core of Red Cross disaster relief is the assistance given to individuals and families affected by disaster to enable them to resume their normal daily activities independently.

The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims, and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources.

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