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Volunteers key to Red Cross

Kay Vasilakis

When there is a disaster, you can count on the American Red Cross. It is a relief to know that when you really need help, all American Red Cross assistance is free, made possible by donations.When there is a disaster, you can count on the American Red Cross. It is a relief to know that when you really need help, all American Red Cross assistance is free, made possible by donations.In 2004, Roaring Fork volunteers assisted families with food, shelter and clothing after six separate house fires. Volunteers were on the scene for days assisting emergency services personnel during the Burn Canyon Fire, a mass care operation. Response director John Bear, with assistance from other volunteers, conducted three fire mitigation workshops in the area – in El Jebel, Rifle and Glenwood Springs. There are approximately 25 active Red Cross volunteers in the Roaring Fork area. A few of them have been involved for many years and have had significant American Red Cross basic and intermediate-level training. Mike Alsdorf, Sharen Kurtz and Susan Tearney, three Roaring Fork volunteers, went Florida in August and September to help with hurricane relief efforts. All three served three-week assignments. Anyone needing first aid certification or CPR certification anytime this spring should call Lynn Alsdorf at 945-2998. American Red Cross volunteers receive free training. People who need training for work or other purposes will be asked to pay a fee.American Red Cross volunteers receive not only free first aid and CPR training, but also a minimum of four other basic trainings: mass care, in which volunteers learn to deal with large groups of people in trauma; introduction to disaster services; damage assessment, in which volunteers learn to assess factors in a major disaster; and family services training, in which volunteers are trained to provide lodging, food, and clothing for people displaced by a disaster. The Roaring Fork Branch area comprises four disaster action teams – Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Silt. There are a number of upper-level classes for disaster action teams, all of which are free. The local branch began in 1998. Disaster coordinator Mike Alsdorf heads the administrative committee. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, local interest in the Red Cross ballooned, according to public relations chairwoman Marlene Manown. The group holds monthly meetings at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Garfield County Nursing Building, 2014 Blake Ave. The next meeting will be Feb. 14. Everyone is welcome – enter through the back door on the east side of the building.The local branch has been fortunate to have received huge donations of equipment. The response truck, formerly of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, and a horse trailer the Roaring Fork Kiwanis Club donated, are valuable assets. The horse trailer has been refitted to be a shelter operation, and can accommodate 50 people in cots. John and Michael Anderson built specialized shelves in the trailer to store needed supplies, and Pitkin Iron donated the shelving materials. Holy Cross Electric has provided centrally located parking space for the response truck and the trailer.The disaster action teams need more volunteers. For more information on how to become part of the Roaring Fork Branch, attend the meeting Feb. 14 or call Mike Alsdorf at 945-2998.Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” appears every other Wednesday. For news tips and inspirations, call 984-2308 or 945-8515, ext. 513, or e-mail kvasilakis@postindependent.com. Kay is now the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission.Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” appears every other Wednesday. For news tips and inspirations, call 984-2308 or 945-8515, ext. 513, or e-mail kvasilakis@postindependent.com. Kay is now the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission.


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