WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross held a volunteer recruitment Sunday afternoon. The organization holds these events a couple times a year to encourage people to assist in its efforts. Leaders say the role the community plays in times of disaster is huge, both in preparedness and recovery.
“It is so important to have volunteers,” Autumn Mihm of the Red Cross said. “Ninety-seven percent of the Red Cross workforce is volunteers.”
Breaking that statistic down, that’s one Red Cross staff member for every 15 volunteers.
John Hall signed on with the organization six months ago to give back to the community after he retired.
“I’ve had a chance to assist clients on four different occasions where people basically lost everything,” he said.
The Cape Fear Chapter has about 400 volunteers, but leaders say its doors are always open for new faces. Volunteers are able to work with emergency and blood services as well as office assistants.
“We have opportunities for almost everyone depending on your time, your skill set and what you are really interested in doing,” Mihm said.
The chapter is also looking for volunteers to assist with its amateur radio system. This system provides emergency communication during a time of disaster. These frequencies allow the Red Cross to communicate with other amateur operators, Red Cross emergency vehicles and is also connected to the hospital system.
“Communication is the key during a disaster,” Disaster Director David Garrison said. “If we can’t communicate and find out what’s going on in different areas, then it is harder to take care of the situations there.”
Volunteers and leaders alike agree that no matter which area of work you choose, they are all rewarding.
“Being at the Red Cross is really a passion for all of the people here. It’s not just a job,” Mihm said.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Red Cross you can log on to its website at RedCross.org, or you can call the local chapter at (910) 762-2683.