Red Cross

Curtis Peetz, left, a regional disaster officer with the American Red Cross, and Juanita Daggett carry cleanup kits to Daggett’s vehicle before she departed to do damage assessments in the Gibbon area.

The American Red Cross held training sessions last weekend for volunteers, but the renowned relief organization still needs assistance as it works to help area residents recover from flood damage.

The key now, according to Nadine McCrindle, executive director of the Eastern and Central Oregon chapter of the American Red Cross, will be to focus on helping people get back into their homes and make those residences “livable again.”

The community has already shown its true colors by its efforts to step up and help those who were hit the hardest by Umatilla River floodwater. From local emergency service agencies to the average resident, the community helped big time during the past few days.

But more needs to be done. While flood waters recede, the costly — and time-consuming — cleanup job must begin.

The Red Cross needs people to volunteer to help. The best way to do so is to visit one of the local shelters or go online at www.redcross.org. Volunteers will need to pass a background check and submit a photo of their driver’s license.

The work of the Red Cross is important and crucial for the community to move forward. That’s why choosing to volunteer to help the organization is so important.

Besides volunteering, another way to help the Red Cross is through monetary donations. McCrindle said donating money will help the organization buy specific items for families. While the organization has received plenty of donations — such as blankets and towels — a monetary donation will help the Red Cross to carefully narrow its effort to meet specialized needs of individual families and people.

The Red Cross is an organization that has been a part of the American fabric for more than 100 years and in times of disaster its assistance is critical.

Disaster doesn’t keep a steady schedule and always arrives out of the blue. Last week, the entire Umatilla County community answered the call to help those who were hit the hardest. We should all be proud of our work to help overcome this latest challenge delivered by Mother Nature, but we all face another obstacle as we move to recover.

So, if you can help, the Red Cross could use you. Volunteering with this great organization will help the community get back on track and make the specter of this latest disaster fade into the past faster.

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