Ordinary people doing extraordinary things: 2019 American Red Cross Celebration of Heroes

On Tuesday, March 12, close to 200 guests joined American Red Cross staff, volunteers and partners to recognize the incredible efforts of local heroes who have made the community a stronger and more resilient place to call home. The event, which was held at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, was the first in a series of heroes events around the Commonwealth. Thank you to everyone who worked to make this event a reality and congratulations to all our award recipients.

Join the mission to #EndHomeFires: The 2019 American Red Cross Sound the Alarm Campaign

Its that time of year again. Where volunteers, partners and community members come together to go door to door to install smoke alarms and spread fire safety across Virginia and the United States. The Red Cross is actively recruiting volunteers for events across the Red Cross network. For a list of events in your area, or to sign up to volunteer, visit https://www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm.html

Midas of Richmond. More than just car care

This Saturday, Mark Smith and the team at Midas of Richmond opened their doors at three locations across the Greater Richmond area to help the American Red Cross collect the blood we need to support local hospitals. Thank you to all those involved in helping to make this drive such a tremendous success.

We are not delivering pizzas

We’re Not Delivering Pizzas

-By Andrew Klein

“Thank you for saving a life today,” says the hospital blood technician as Alex delivers blood for Molly, a young girl in urgent need of her once a month transfusion. It made the drive well worth the time. Alex and other drivers jostle to be the one to deliver what she needs on that day so they can save her life again.

Alex Acosta is a volunteer for the American Red Cross. After 22 years of service in the Air Force and nearly 20 with the Army Defense Logistics Agency, Alex is once again serving others.

Multiple times a day to medical facilities like VCU Health, the Red Cross routinely dispatches a day’s supply of blood products. Teams put boxes packed with ice in the hands of a driver like Alex. When an urgent or STAT call comes in for a blood type or blood product that is not on hand, a Red Cross driver leaves the center with the goal of getting the blood on site within an hour of receiving the dispatch.

Escaping the cold and remaining snow, we found our way to the warm office of Kimberly Conner, a Red Cross employee who oversees the distribution of free blood to hospitals across Virginia, northern North Carolina, and parts of West Virginia. 

Today we are on a run to VCU Medical Center and Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Ceenter. Our deadline is 9 AM at VCU and McGuire right afterward. Our task, deliver nine cases of whole blood, blood plasma, and platelets to VCU and one case to McGuire. Other drivers are saddling up to go to different places.

Alex loads the van and off we go. By 8:50 we park in front of the emergency entrance at VCU Health and begin the process of unloading the van, and wheeling the blood to the hospital lab. Everyone is glad to see Alex, not only because he has such a warm personality, but because they know the package he is delivering will help ensure that the patients who need blood will have it.

After a bit of paperwork, we hit the road again to McGuire. Before 10 AM we accomplish both deliveries and return the Red Cross facility. While his shift has technically ended, Alex says he will stay a while longer in case there is another run needed.

All this sounds “normal,” except it is not. A lot of people, many of whom do not know they will need blood today, depend on the Red Cross, its lab, and its drivers. With a few exceptions for paid couriers, most of those making these trips are unpaid people willing to give time to save a life. As Alex kept saying as we parked in front of the busy hospital emergency entrance, pausing in a precious parking space just long enough for a delivery, “We’re not delivering pizzas!” The American Red Cross, Virginia Region, needs more drivers. Join us and do something that really matters.

To learn more, visit redcross.org/volunteer

 

Area students use creativity to inspire their community to take steps to prepare.

At the American Red Cross, we believe kids have the potential to change the world and inspire their community to act. Check out how a group of incredible students from Carver Elementary School are using creativity to inspire their neighbors to take steps to prepare for disasters.

Thank you to everyone at Henrico County Public Schools for hosting us and for letting us capture your students in action.