03/02/05 — American Red Cross heroes campaign kicks off

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American Red Cross heroes campaign kicks off

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on March 2, 2005 1:50 PM

Local "heroes" came together Tuesday to kick off the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross' annual fund-raising campaign.

This year's Heroes Campaign will run through March 31.

A "hero" is someone who vows to raise at least $1,000 for the Red Cross.

At the luncheon, Chuck Waller, Red Cross director, praised this year's heroes, saying that it takes "four and a half paid staff and an army of volunteers" to provide Red Cross services. "We can't do what we do without you in the trenches delivering the services," he said.

He related a story about a Salvation Army worker who came upon a homeless woman close to the building and tried to get her to go in for food and shelter. But the woman continually refused. So the Salvation Army worker bent down, kissed the woman on the cheek, picked her up and carried her to the building. The woman began crying and the worker asked what was wrong. The woman said for so many years people had told her that God loved her, but not until the worker showed her by picking her up and carrying her to the building did she truly believe it.

Waller said that is what Red Cross heroes do -- they don't just talk the talk.

He said Red Cross volunteers understand what it is to give of themselves. He said the phrase "I can't" many times means "I won't."

He said Red Cross volunteers display a unique perspective on life.

"You see things differently than the rest of the world," he said. "You don't see life as a race where there are winners and losers, but as a journey where everyone crosses the finish line.

"The greatest gift in life is not seen with the eyes or heard with the ears," Waller said. "But it's felt in the heart. The price of service to others is high. You give up much of your time."

He said disasters come in all sizes. If someone has a heart attack or is involved in a traffic accident, that person and his or her family is in the midst of a disaster, Waller said.

"It's not just the tsunamis and earthquakes, but disasters come in all sizes," he said. "Disasters don't discriminate. Eventually disaster finds all of us.

"When the time comes and you drop to your knees in the midst of a disaster, the American Red Cross will be there to help you up."

Donna Edmundson, the chairman of the Red Cross board, described the activities that the Red Cross has planned during the month, including the sports memorabilia auction Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Lane Tree Country Club. She said tickets are still available by calling the Red Cross office at 735-7201. Outback Steakhouse will sponsor the event.

Pennies For A Purpose jugs will be distributed in local schools for the students to decorate. They will be judged and the winning elementary, middle and high school will receive art supplies. Throughout the month, students will also collect change in the jugs.

Mrs. Edmundson noted that one school -- Greenwood Middle -- has already done its fund-raising, collecting 110,000 pennies.

The jugs will also be distributed to local businesses.

Local heroes will be out in the community throughout March collecting donations for the Red Cross. Each hero commits to raising $1,000.

Hero T-Shirts and Red Cross hero ornaments will be on sale. The Red Cross squares will also be sold and placed on a special window at the chapter office.

"We have a great month ahead of us," said Mrs. Edmundson.

Quiznos donated food for the kickoff luncheon.

Waller listed several ways that $1,000 in donations can help the Red Cross:

*Sixteen single family fire victims can receive a winter coat.

*About 1,700 elementary school children can be taught child abduction prevention tips.

*About 398 deployed military can receive an American Red Cross comfort kit.

*Fifty flood cleanup kits can be provided to flood victims to help make their homes livable again.

The 2005 Heroes Campaign will end March 31 with a luncheon at noon at St. Luke Church.