Monday, November 30 , 2015, 11:01 am | Fair 62º

Red Cross Month a Time to Honor Community’s ‘Everyday Heroes’

By Giselle Gomez for the American Red Cross |

During Red Cross Month, the American Red Cross recognizes the nation’s Everyday Heroes who give of themselves and in some way help their community.

“Please remember those who help all of us here in Santa Barbara County by giving their time to help their neighbor,” said Julie McGovern, executive director of the American Red Cross of Santa Barbara County. “We want to thank our heroes during Red Cross Month – our volunteers, class takers and financial supporters who help us assist those in need.”

March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month 70 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since 1943, every president, including President Barack Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross is synonymous with helping people, and has been doing so for more than 130 years.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families — in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than seven million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.

In Santa Barbara County, the Red Cross has responded to 95 local emergencies, assisted 78 military families and trained more than 25,000 people in lifesaving skills.

“Red Cross Month is a great time for people to become part of the Red Cross and there are many different ways to do it,” McGovern said. “They can develop a preparedness plan for their household, become a Red Cross volunteer, give blood or take a Red Cross class, just to name a few.”

The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar given to the Red Cross is invested in helping people in need.

Join the Red Cross from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21 for a Superstorm Sandy Update & Reception at the Red Cross Santa Barbara Office, 2707 State St. The reception will include beverages and hors d’oeuvres and presentations from locally deployed volunteers and staff. Please RSVP to 805.679.6671 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Giselle Gomez is a regional communications manager for the American Red Cross of Santa Barbara County.

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