Red Cross supports state fair amid storm recovery

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While hundreds of Red Cross disaster relief volunteers helped residents of eastern North Carolina recover from Hurricane Matthew, several health and safety volunteers helped manage one of North Carolina’s most beloved traditions—the North Carolina State Fair.

Every year, thousands attend the North Carolina State Fair, a 10-day event, to celebrate the best of the Tar Heel state with unique food, carnival games, rides and live entertainment.

Red Cross health and safety volunteers play a key role at the fair. These volunteers help fair attendees who are suffering from minor and major medical conditions, including, but not limited to, heat exhaustion, dehydration, cuts, bruises, vomiting, asthma attacks and headaches.

For Larry Cockrell, a Red Cross veteran and volunteer shift supervisor, 2016 marks his 38th year volunteering at the fair. He said as shift supervisor, he helps with an array of situations.

“I help coordinate teams in the field, handle what’s going on in this building, mop, oversee paperwork, settle any disputes and prioritize who helps when,” Cockrell said.

Red Cross health and safety volunteers are trained in CPR and first aid courses that teach life-saving skills and help respond in an emergency situation. Some volunteers become health and safety volunteers because they have a medical background and want to serve their community.

“I was in EMS and looked for a way to use my skills,” said Carrie Franklin, a Red Cross volunteer of four years. “I’ve been a contributor to Red Cross for years, so when this opportunity for health and safety came up, it was a no-brainer.”

For some, this is their first time volunteering with the Red Cross. Lisa Hubbard, a rookie volunteer, said, “I hadn’t done it before but with all the storm stuff and increase talk about the Red Cross, I wanted to help. This is my first time [volunteering], and it has been great. Watching everyone come together, knowing everyone has other full-time jobs, to work on this, it’s very enjoyable.”

If you are interested in being a Red Cross volunteer, please visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.

By Emma Kirkpatrick

PHOTO: Red Crosser Bill Koch volunteers at the fair. Courtesy Sharon Penn. 

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