American Red Cross Trains Volunteers, Seeks More Help

Published 04/30 2014 06:35PM

Updated 04/30 2014 09:30PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) When disaster strikes, the American Red Cross is there.

They provide food, water, shelter, among many other things.

In order to maintain the Red Cross, it takes the efforts of people wanting to learn the ins and outs of volunteering.

"We're getting people trained now because we know there is a strong possibility we may use them in the future," said Ralph Dishong, Instructor of the shelter management course.

Becoming a volunteer takes hours worth of training.

Bob Gergeni, along with several others, underwent training on Wednesday in St. Joseph.

They learned how to run a Red Cross shelter.

"To be able to open up a shelter and meet their needs of sheltering and feeding," said Gergeni.

"Often times, there are several shelters open, and we need a group of volunteers that are trained, and know what they're doing, and are confident with what they're doing," said Dishong.

Dishong stressed the importance of planning and preparedness.

The Red Cross houses hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people after a storm hits, and Dishong said running a shelter takes leadership skills.

"The more people we have that are trained, ready and willing, it just makes it a lot smoother, and we are more resourceful with how we can do that," he said.

Gergeni decided to take his volunteering to the next level because he is ready to contribute in a different way.

"Being prepared, being calm. It's a big responsibility because you're not only looking out for the clients, but for other red cross volunteers," said Gergeni.

"The ones that we know are coming, we can plan for them, make proactive steps, but sometimes we don't know. That's why it's good to have people trained ahead of time so, boom, we've got it taken care of already," said Dishong.

To learn more about the Midland Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross, click here.

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