American Red Cross Recognizing Heroes in March

February 28, 2019, 3:51 PM HST (Updated February 28, 2019, 3:51 PM)
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The American Red Cross is recognizing volunteer heroes across the nation during Red Cross Month.

March has been recognized as Red Cross Month for over 70 years, ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the first Red Cross Month proclamation in 1943, calling on Americans to “rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross.” Every President since that time, has recognized the critical role the Red Cross has played for more than 130 years, in helping people across the country and around the world.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of the American Red Cross. Ninety-five percent (95%) of our workforce is volunteer, and we couldn’t do it without them,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawai‘i Red Cross. “They give their time, talent and compassion to fulfill our vital humanitarian mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering. During Red Cross Month, we honor and applaud our volunteers for their invaluable contribution to the community and ask others to consider joining us and making a difference.”

The Red Cross depends on local heroes to fulfill its mission. They are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and respond to home fires and other disasters in Hawai‘i every 4 days, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. The Hawai‘i Red Cross also educates local youth, organizations and businesses on how to prepare before disasters strike, provides 24/7 support to members of the military, veterans and their families, and trains thousands of people in first aid and other lifesaving skills.

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The Hawai‘i Red Cross has been helping local residents in need for over 100 years. And much of their work is accomplished through volunteers. During last year’s historic floods, Kīlauea lava flow and hurricanes Lane and Olivia, the Red Cross opened over 60 shelters for thousands of evacuees, and kept the Puna shelter open for 4-1/2 months, the longest running shelter in Hawai‘i’s history. Almost 100,000 volunteer hours were contributed just for the lava disaster. In addition, the Hawai‘i Red Cross installed over 2,000 free smoke alarms, taught disaster preparedness to over 2,500 keiki, assisted over 2,000 military families with emergency communications, and provided lifesaving training to over 16,000 people.

“It’s easy to become a Red Cross Hero,” said Matayoshi. “Go to redcross.org/hawaii to sign up as a Red Cross volunteer, make a financial donation, and see how you can get involved.”

The Red Cross is a nonprofit humanitarian organization which provides assistance to meet the immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters. All Red Cross assistance to disaster victims is free. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it depends on public contributions to help others. Your gift supports the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross in your community, across the country and around the world. To send a contribution, mail your check to American Red Cross, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96816 or make a secure online donation or call (808) 739-8109.

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