Chapters of the organization are always in need of local volunteers, a local director says.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- Although this week's terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., have once again thrust the national American Red Cross volunteers into the spotlight, thousands of other volunteers continue to work daily to meet local needs, said Ginger Grilli, executive director of the North Columbiana County American Red Cross.
The local Red Cross chapter is one of 21 Columbiana County agencies that receive funding through the Northern Columbiana County United Way. The local United Way campaign for 2001-02 began Tuesday, with a $290,000 goal.
Grilli has been director of the Salem-based Red Cross chapter since 1999 and is a longtime disaster services volunteer. She serves as a disaster training coordinator for the Southwest Pennsylvania ARC based in Pittsburgh, and she left Wednesday to assist in relief efforts at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Somerset County, Pa.
All 43 people on board were killed. Aviation and law enforcement officials have said the commercial jet was one of four hijacked Tuesday morning by terrorists.
Fielding calls: Grilli and others at the chapter office in Salem on Tuesday and Wednesday spent much of the day answering phones as people called to ask how to volunteer, donate blood or otherwise assist in the national relief effort.
She said that when the Red Cross is engaged in a relief effort of such magnitude, the public often pays less attention to local Red Cross efforts. However, she said, the potential for house fires and other local disasters and the need for blood donations don't diminish.
Local Red Cross chapters need local volunteers for the same services the national organization provides, she said. In addition to volunteers who train to respond in emergencies, others teach first aid, CPR, water safety and many other courses to the public.
Some are trained to assist servicemen and women in contacting their families in emergencies. The Red Cross offers basic courses in several areas, and by taking one or more of those courses, new volunteers can find an area of service best suited to their skills and interests, she said.
Grilli noted that AmeriCorps and Retired Senior Volunteer Program members volunteer at the local chapter.
The North Columbiana County chapter serves Perry, Knox, Butler, Salem, Fairfield, Unity, Hanover, Center, Elkrun, Middleton, Franklin and Wayne townships and the communities within them in Columbiana County, as well as adjacent sections of Mahoning County south of Pine Lake Road.
East Liverpool, St. Clair, Madison, Yellow Creek and Washington townships are served by the East Liverpool Red Cross chapter. West Township is served by the Alliance-Minerva Chapter.
Contact: The North Columbiana County ARC chapter is at 667 North Ellsworth Ave., Salem. Anyone seeking assistance or more information about local Red Cross programs may call (330) 332-0028. The phone is staffed 24 hours a day for emergencies. Information may also be obtained at RedCrossNC@AOL.com.