Red Cross Relies on Volunteers - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Red Cross Relies on Volunteers

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Three people are without a home after their house caught fire over the weekend in Mandan, and one person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. But the family has a place to stay and clothes on their back, thanks to the Red Cross.

"I met with the family. And I got them some lodging and money for food and clothing, and some comfort kits. You know, they didn't even have a toothbrush when they left," says Red Cross volunteer Brenda Hendrickson.

The Red Cross responds to about 70,000 disasters every year, and the organization recognizes the efforts of its volunteers.

"It's amazing. Our volunteers actually make up 94 percent of our workforce on a national scale. So, they do a lot of our humanitarian work, and we could not do what we do without them. And we really want to celebrate them and thank them for all the work they do throughout the year," says Brian Shawn, Red Cross.

Hendrickson has been volunteering with the Red Cross for ten years. She's worked across the state, as well as traveled to New Jersey and New Orleans to help hurricane survivors. She says responding to Hurricane Isaac in 2012 is one of her most rewarding memories.

"We drove the Emergency Response Vehicle down there, and the people were so happy to see us come. And that was really encouraging. You know, they would see the truck and a lot of people would come up and say, 'Do you have food in your truck? Do you have water in your truck?' And yes, we do. We're here to help," says Hendrickson.

But her biggest reward may be passing her passion for helping others onto the next generation.

"When I was in New Orleans, we went into a cafe to eat and we had our American Red Cross gear on. This little girl came up to me and asked, 'Are you a nurse?' And I said, 'No, I'm not a nurse, but I volunteer with the American Red Cross.' And she said, 'I want to do that one day.' So, you know, that's kind of cool."

March is Red Cross Month in the State of North Dakota, and the Red Cross is highlighting 'Everyday Heroes' who help others in need.

The North Dakota Red Cross assisted in nearly 200 disasters last year and has supported 18 responses in the past week.

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