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Monday, September 19, 2016

Fueling the Engine that Drives the Mission

By Bill Fortune

At the American Red Cross we are driven by our mission statement that says, “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
Donors and volunteers listen to CEO Gino Greco at the
Clara Barton Society reception at Denver Botanical Gardens.
Photo by Walt Palmer/American Red Cross

We aspire to turn compassion into action every day and we couldn't make that happen without mobilizing our volunteers and our donors. Ninety percent of our workforce is volunteer while 100 percent of our financial support comes from donations.

We had a chance to thank both, volunteers and donors, recently at the Clara Barton Society reception held at the Denver Botanical Gardens. A beautiful setting for a moving experience.

Nearly 100 people gathered in a decorated tent surrounded by floral and beauty that is the Botanical Gardens. Attendees represented the core of the Red Cross experience whether they were a volunteer or a member of a giving society such as the Legacy Society or Clara Barton Society.

Legacy Society is a planned giving society where you can demonstrate your commitment to the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross. Find out more about the Legacy Society at this link.

CEO Gino Greco talks about the Red Cross humanitarian
mission at the Clara Barton Reception at the Denver
Botanical Gardens. Photo by Walt Palmer/American Red Cross
Clara Barton Society members are those who have stepped up to make a difference in people’s lives by contributing annual gifts of $1000 or more. To learn more about the Clara Barton society you can go check out a description at this link.

Gino Greco, CEO for the American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming opened the event with a heartfelt and humorous reminder about how important the Red Cross is to America and the importance of donors and volunteers. “If the volunteers are the engine that drives the Red Cross response to emergencies, then surely donors are the fuel that makes that engine perform,” Greco said.

He went on to remind the audience of what the Red Cross has accomplish in the past with wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes. He was humbled by the tremendous response that Americans have given to the flood emergency in Louisiana. Nearly one month into that crisis the Red Cross has utilized nearly 5,000 volunteer and expects the cost to run close to $30 million. “This was the biggest disaster response for the Red Cross since Superstorm Sandy slammed the northeast U.S. in the fall of 2012,” he said. “And it shows how the Red Cross and other agencies and organization have learned to work together.”

Guest speaker, Eric Jones, Division Disaster State Relations Director for the Southwest and Rocky
Eric Jones talks about his Red Cross disaster experience
at the Clara Barton Reception at Denver Botanical Gardens
Photo by Walt Palmer/American Red Cross
Mountains Division reminded us that September 14 marked the 3-year anniversary of the Colorado Floods and he quickly drew the comparison to the level of destruction in Colorado versus Louisiana. “We know what the people of Louisiana are going through,” he said. “We sent 55 Colorado and Wyoming volunteers to Louisiana to help them because we know they were here to help us.” He also reminded us about the tremendous challenges we have faced all across the country. "The Red Cross is what some call, a "2nd Responder" recognizing that we are there to help those responding and those that were affected by the emergency.

David Zader, a wildland fire fighter from the Boulder Fire Department and a life-long friend of Eric Jones, spoke to the audience about his experience with the Red Cross and the important role they play helping first responders deal with emergencies. “Just knowing that the Red Cross is never very far away from the disaster makes my job easier,” he said.
Wildland Firefighter Dave Zander talks about the support that
the Red Cross provides to first responders. Photo by
Walt Palmer/American Red Cross.  
“Knowing that if I need water or food so that I can get back into the response is a big relief in a wildfire situation.”

The stories seemed to resonate with those in the audience. Their applause was genuine and you could tell by the conversations that there was genuine appreciation for each other, volunteer and donor, both playing an important role in the mission of the Red Cross.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the Red Cross and how you can be a part of it, visit redcross.org/Colorado or redcross.org/Wyoming. If you would like to see more photos about the Clara Barton event at the Botanical Gardens visit our Flickr page at this  link MHC Clara Barton Reception

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