By Karen Conklin, Executive Director, Lake to River Chapter
Lucky Lake to River Volunteers were honored on April 27th at a VIP event at the 910th Airlift Wing. If you have ever been on a military base you know it’s tough to get through security. Our thanks to the 50 volunteers who sent in the required information a week ahead of time so that security at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station could clear them to get on the base. Super Heroes was the theme because we know our military are heroes but so are our Red Cross volunteers.
Prior to the social event, the Lake to River Board of Directors met and also held the annual meeting. The Board of Directors is working hard to make the 7th Acts of Courage event June 14th the best ever. The following volunteers will be serving another three-year term on the board. They are Kelly Becker, Patti Davis, Lou Joseph, Tifinie Lacomb, Amy Lower, Florence Wang and Phil Wilson. We thank them for their commitment and leadership.
Thanks to Major Scott Julian (also a Red Cross Board Member) who gave a quick synopsis of the role of the 910th Airlift Wing. Did you know they fly the C-130 Cargo Planes and are the only base that is activated for oil spills or to spray for the Zika Virus?
Good food, camaraderie and lots of laughs were everywhere as Disaster Program Manager Melissa Papini led the group in the “toilet paper” challenge. How many squares would you take if handed a roll of toilet paper at the table with strangers? Lesson learned, you have to tell something about your life for every square you take. In some cases, as the kids say “TMI” – too much information was hilariously shared.
The group appreciated the warm messages from Mike Parks and Kristen Gallagher, both of whom had family obligations. Regional Disaster Officer Tim O’Toole personally thanked all “our heroes for their volunteer work to turn helplessness into hope.” We could never meet mission without our volunteers according to Tim. We also got to bid a kind farewell to Pat Buckhold, who will soon trade her Red Cross staff hat for a volunteer hat in our amazing organization.
Highlights for all were our four legged furry heroes on our Lake to River Canine team, who help with Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) and disaster response. These furry friends and their amazing trainers fully embrace the meaning and purpose of therapy dogs wherever they go. Quick to share a furry high five, they are trained to know they are “working” when they don their Red Cross vests and are “just dogs” when out of uniform.
We thank all who came and appreciate your constant devotion to our mission. One final question from me: “How many squares of toilet paper would you need?” One of the best parts of my job is knowing the incredible resumes of those who do our important work. Lake to River and all Red Cross volunteers are Super Heroes.
If you have an interest in volunteering for the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/neo and click the volunteer tab, or call 216-431-3328. You can also send an email to NEOVolunteer@redcross.org.