The Southeast Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross is celebrating Red Cross Month in March by giving thanks to the thousands of people in this community who have personified America's humanitarian spirit by donating their time, money and blood during the last year.
More than 2,400 Southeast Missouri residents volunteered countless hours this year to help local families when disaster struck; taught their neighbors lifesaving skills such as first aid, CPR and water safety and helped local military families communicate during emergencies.
Two of these "hometown heroes," Jim and Billie Probst, have provided years of volunteer service to the Red Cross by helping with community and nationwide disasters including the Jackson tornadoes, 1993 floods, Hurricane Isabel and the World Trade Center attack.
"Although hurricanes and tsunamis make the headlines, many people forget that the day-to-day work of the Red Cross takes place in communities like ours, and is made possible by 'hometown heroes' who volunteer their time, and is funded by voluntary contributions from local citizens and businesses," said Mary Burton, volunteer chairman of the Southeast Missouri Chapter.
"America has always been a place where people look out for each other. We really want to thank everyone who chose the Red Cross as their way to help out in our community," she said.
"It was wonderful to be there to hold a hand, lend a shoulder or ear for those who were hurting and just to know that in some small way you were helping," Billie said.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943 declared March to be Red Cross Month -- a tradition that has been continued every year, by every president since.
Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross is a nationwide network of nearly 900 field units dedicated to saving lives and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Led by 1 million volunteers and 36,000 employees, the Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to families affected by disasters, trains almost 12 million people in lifesaving skills and keeps U.S. military families connected worldwide. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals across the nation and also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide.