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Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Behind-The-Scenes Volunteers Who Give Life to Red Cross Disaster Relief

Story by Jessica Murison; photos by Roger Bram. 
The American Red Cross relies on hundreds of trained and skilled volunteers to provide critical assistance during emergencies. Volunteers on the front lines perform humanitarian tasks like handing out food and supplies, setting up cots, caring for evacuees' needs at a shelter, and driving through affected neighborhoods to deliver supplies and assess local needs. These services are essential to ensuring that those affected by disaster are cared for.
Logistics volunteers make sure Red Cross volunteers on the ground
have the information and resources they need - the right thing
in the right quantity at the right time and right place. 

Yet, it is the work of the volunteers behind the scenes that makes it possible for the blankets, cots, food, and supplies to arrive at the correct place and time.

The logistics team of the American Red Cross is the web of veins through which the American Red Cross operates. Without their efforts to create and manage the channels in which supplies are delivered, the entire American Red Cross operation would be without life. Pumping the necessary information and resources -- from what type of disaster relief is needed to who is going where with what -- these volunteers create a flow of information and supplies, acting as the lifeline for each disaster response. 

In order to develop skills and encourage more involvement in this quiet superhero team, the Red Cross conducted a three-day Logistics training institute Jan. 22-24 for volunteers from throughout the Red Cross Southwest and Rocky Mountain division. Gathered in Laramie, Wyoming, the 25 participants studied the role and responsibilities in a Red Cross disaster operation: in kind donations, operations, supply chain, life and safety asset protection, warehouse management, procurement, and transportation. After completion of the training, these 25 individuals are now able to assist in all logistical aspects of a disaster response, making them part of the existing web of lifelines within the American Red Cross logistics chain.

More than 30 volunteers completed the Logistics Institute
Jan. 22-24 in Laramie, WY.
"Logistics volunteers are the building blocks of the disaster response team, unsung heroes, providing lifesaving services to the men and women across the region, and nationwide," said Troy Staples, Regional Disaster Workforce Manager. "You may not see their faces out on the front lines, but believe me: they are touching the lives of people affected by disasters and making an enormous difference with their hard work, dedication and compassion."


If you are someone you know is interested in volunteering with the American Red Cross Logistical Team, please contact Troy Staples at troy.staples@redcross.org.

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