LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Red Cross works because of generous support

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The American Red Cross, Blue Mountain Chapter, recently held the 5th Annual Hometown Heroes Breakfast at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center. I appreciate all the businesses and individuals who participated and donated their time and money to support the work of the American Red Cross in Walla Walla and Columbia counties.

The American Red Cross offers all disaster relief services free of charge to those whose lives have been disrupted by an unexpected disaster. Most often, that disaster is a house fire.

When I returned to the Red Cross office after the successful event I found our volunteers working with people whose house had burned the day before. We were able to give the family financial resources to replace clothing, shoes, food and other essential items.

As I listened to their story I realized how important it is to provide caring support during this kind of crisis. It is gratifying for me to work with dedicated volunteers and staff who have committed themselves to providing reassurance and hope.

The Red Cross is all about neighbors helping neighbors - down the street, across the country and around the world. The front-page articles in the Union-Bulletin helped emphasize the need to provide help and support to families when they unexpectedly find themselves without a home.

In recent years we have seen the effects of the shifting earth in Haiti, Chile and southern California. People from all around the Walla Walla Valley opened their checkbooks and shared their resources with the American Red Cross to help the people of Haiti.

One of the untold stories about the Haitian response is that we were able to begin assessing the needs and providing relief in cooperation with the indigenous volunteers of the Haitian Red Cross. Even though the news media has moved on to other stories - the Red Cross is still there helping the people of Haiti rebuild their lives.

It has been gratifying to see a renewed interest in volunteering with the Blue Mountain Chapter. It is important we be ready to provide essential human needs when the earth shifts beneath us - both literally and figuratively.

I want to encourage your readers to support their local chapter of the American Red Cross by volunteering, giving blood and donating financially to the disaster relief fund of their local chapter. We promise to use the funds entrusted to us wisely and effectively to make our community a safe place to live.

The Red Cross does not receive funds from the government.

Terry E. Hackney

executive director

American Red Cross

Blue Mountain Chapter

Walla Walla

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