BROKEN BOW – The Red Cross’ quest to bolster its volunteer and blood reserves is never-ending, even in a month of widespread respite. Communications director Josh Murray explains that at this time of year, his organization grows a bit hungrier.
“We usually see a dip in the summer; we saw a drop in June, and we really want to make sure we don’t get to the point of a shortage.”
With the buzz of travel, recreation, and all that summer has to offer people, Murray says that donating blood may feel like a comparatively time-consuming undertaking, but the truth is, in fact, the opposite.
“We try to make it an easy process, an efficient process. The whole thing is an hour, from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave; the donation itself is less than ten minutes.”
If Custer County residents are looking to snag a little more sunshine or keep a little cooler indoors, Murray says, a great way to do so is by exploring volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross.
“We have lots of opportunities. You can give back in person by being a responder, but if you’re someone who wants to work from the comfort of their living room, we can do that too. There are virtual opportunities, to make phone calls, and keep track of administrative tasks. There are all sorts of opportunities.”
Murray goes on to say the need for volunteers is just as important as the need for blood because, like it or not, disasters will always happen, and a healthy number of volunteers means less tragedy for those affected, and possibly more lives saved.
“We want to make sure we can respond to disasters when they happen. We can’t say if they’re going to happen, but we know they’re going to happen at some point. It could be a home fire, a tornado; we’ve had some wind storms that have caused damage and needed our response efforts.”
Giving with the Red Cross, Murray says, is a two-way street; the organization offers classes and certifications which provide lifelong, valuable skills to all walks of life.
“We teach lifesaving courses, like CPR training, first aid, AED training. We have courses on babysitting, and a lot of people put that on a resume. We teach a lot of water safety courses too, and a lot of the coursework can be done online, too.”
How can the Red Cross continue to offer so much, day in and day out, month in and month out? Murray again sums it up best:
“Need never takes a summer vacation.”