Volunteers are the heart of the Red Cross

Below, a note of thanks from Jill Hallonquist, Emergency Services Director, American Red Cross Northern Minnesota Region, who is now enjoying a well-deserved vacation.

This morning I woke up thinking about the Governor’s emergency management training conference that I’m attending this week.  Many of our partners throughout our response region are in St Paul for this training. I have been chatting with Emergency Managers, Public Health, Homeland Security, Salvation Army, NECHAMA, and other friends of ours from across the Minnesota. Many of them ask how the Red Cross is doing these days.  Most know that we have a new region structure and wonder how that’s going.

Red Cross volunteers answered questions from attendees of the 2012 Governor’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Conference. Photo credit: Andrea Bredow/American Red Cross

Here’s what I tell them: I am so grateful that we have you, the incredible volunteers in their communities.  You are the heart of the Red Cross.  The restructuring that we did changed the way that staff supports the volunteers.  It did not change the fact that the person they see responding in their community is a volunteer, teaching people to be prepared and to prevent disasters, comforting those affected, and helping to connect them with the local resources they need to get back on their feet.  Your passion for helping your neighbors is as strong as ever and you’re there to help!

Do you ever catch yourself telling someone how much you like a certain person…and then you wonder if you have told THEM?  I didn’t want to let another day pass without telling you how much I appreciate each and every one of you.  You are treasured.

Click here to learn more about the 2012 Governor’s emergency management conference and click here to learn more about how the Red Cross helps in Minnesota and beyond.

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