Chapter honors local heroes, commemorates 100 years

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A spread of warm biscuits, fresh fruit, fluffy eggs, and steamy coffee greeted the guests who entered The Rose Hill Plantation Conference Center early June 1 for the Red Cross Northeastern NC Chapter Centennial Breakfast.

The breakfast celebrated the chapter’s centennial and recognized local volunteers with “HERO Awards.” Recipients demonstrated the seven fundamental principles of the American Red Cross: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.

This year’s recipients include: Dr. Richard G. Michal, Jean Bailey, the Rocky Mount Fire Department’s Swiftwater Rescue Team & Hilo Aquatic Rescue Team, and the United Way Tar River Region.

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Ann Mosley presents the Norma Turnage Award to Jean Bailey, Thursday, June. 1, 2017.  (Photo by Garry Hodges)

Michal received the Red Cross HERO Award, commemorating his service both in the local community and internationally.

“He gives back so much behind the scenes that people don’t see,” said Amanda Bell, Michal’s colleague.

The Norma Turnage Award, presented to Jean Bailey,  a female leader in the community dedicated to the growth and sustainability of the local Red Cross.

“[Bailey] has been the most loyal and dedicated leader for 50 years,” said Ann Mosley, Red Cross board member.

The Community Hero Award recipients included the Rocky Mount Fire Department’s Swiftwater Rescue Team & Hilo Aquatic Rescue Team, and the United Way Tar River Region for their long-standing services to the community and for their recent contributions to the Hurricane Matthew response.

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The Centennial Breakfast took place at The Rose Hill Plantation and Conference Center, Thursday, June 1, 2017. (Photo by Garry Hodges)

“It’s humbling to receive this award, but it’s part of our job,”said Chad Pridgon, member of the Swiftwater Rescue Team.

Along with honoring the services of those in the community, the event also marked the 100 year anniversary of the Northeastern NC Chapter. The chapter has served the community through disaster services; blood collection; health and safety classes; and services to the armed forces. Barry Porter, CEO of the Eastern North Carolina region of the Red Cross, began the morning with a remembrance of the founding heroes Henri Dunant and Clara Barton.

Last year, the Northeastern NC Chapter collected 24,418 pints of blood, conducted 331 emergency services for those in the military community, trained about 3,500 people in preparedness courses, and responded to an estimated 270 disasters, including one of the worst disasters in North Carolina: Hurricane Matthew.

The event served as a formal thank you to both the past and present heroes, volunteers and staff alike, who have carried out the Red Cross mission for the past century.

Story by Andrea Gulley/American Red Cross

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Volunteering Spans Generations for Arizona Family

Grandfather, Grandson in North Carolina Helping with Hurricane Response

Alejandro Reynoso is trying to teach his grandson a lesson. His classroom is a Red Cross emergency response vehicle.

Mr. Reynoso and his grandson, 18-year old Dominic drove the ERV from Arizona to North Carolina to help people affected by Hurricane Matthew.

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“I think we should all take some time to contribute to society,” Mr. Reynoso says.  “It’s more of a duty.”

Dominic just graduated from high school, and isn’t sure what he wants to do in the future.  But for the present, he and his grandfather are busy dishing out bratwurst and baked beans, canned pears and potato chips to North Carolina residents impacted by flooding and other storm damage.

They make a good team.

“That lady told me she hadn’t eaten in three days,” Dominic says of one Whiteville resident, who received food prepared by the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization.  He gave her two meals and a case of bottled water.  “She said she has no water either.”img_2663

Mr. Reynoso is a Vietnam veteran who left his engineering firm to volunteer in North Carolina.  “That’s the price you pay.  It’s unconditional.  The reward is being asked to come back.”

That is the lesson he hopes to impart on his grandson.

If you would like to volunteer for the Red Cross, log onto redcross.org.

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Red Cross, Partners Reaching Out to Residents Affected by Flooding

Food Being Prepared by Southern Baptists, Delivered by Red Cross Volunteers

More than 2,000 people woke up in a shelter in Eastern North Carolina on Sunday morning, more than a week after Hurricane Matthew dumped heavy rains on the region. 30 shelters remained open for residents who are not yet able to return to their homes.

Many residents who ARE in their homes, but are unable to cook or unable to shop for food have benefited by the generosity of our partners with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Volunteers are preparing thousands of meals a day, lunch and supper, which are being delivered by Red Cross volunteers driving through the affected region in Emergency Response Vehicles.

By the numbers:  Almost 170,000 meals had been served in shelters and to residents in their homes as of Saturday night. Food is being prepared in 5 mobile kitchens operated by the Southern Baptists. Volunteers at the kitchen located at the First Baptist Church in Kinston were preparing almost 4,000 meals on Sunday. 83 Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles are fanning out across Eastern North Carolina to deliver the food.  And more than 1,100 Red Cross workers…most of them volunteers…have responded to the call to help in North Carolina.

You can sign up to become a Red Cross volunteer here.  You can also make a donation to help fund Hurricane Matthew Disaster Relief and relief from future disasters, big and small, by logging onto redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.  And if you text the word MATTHEW to 90999, you can make an automatic $10 donation to Hurricane Matthew relief.

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross