The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Dec. 17, 2018

Red Cross honored for community service

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Since President Theodore Roosevelt more than 100 years ago, the United States has set aside March as Red Cross Month to honor all the services the Red Cross provides to both local residents and nationwide.

Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur (third from right) shakes hands with West Central Ohio Red Cross Chapter Executive Director Derek Stemen while local Red Cross volunteers (from the left) Annette Hirn, Nancy Friemoth, Sandy Lane, and Ed Glossett look on. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

While the organization has undergone consolidation in recent years, and some local disaster services are now provided by a new group, CERT, through the Van Wert County Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross still provides thousands of hours of volunteer work at Van Wert County Hospital and through its blood drives conducted at various sites within the community.

Derek Stemen, executive director of the West Central Ohio Chapter of the Red Cross, noted all the things the Red Cross continues to do in the Van Wert community through its local volunteers.

“It’s amazing when you look at the absolute scope of what our community does,” he said. Forty or 50 hospital volunteers volunteering about 10,000 hours in time to the hospital; our blood drives collect around 2,000 units of blood every single year, which has the (added) impact of being able to touch around 6,000 people’s lives.”

Stemen also noted that, in 2017, the West Central Ohio Chapter of the Red Cross helped 152 local families affected by disasters, including fires and flooding, and will continue to provide assistance to those affected by local disasters.

In a proclamation he released on Monday, Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur also noted that the local Red Cross organization installed 1,002 smoke alarms in 418 community households.

In addition to its work in the community, the proclamation noted, the Red Cross also responds to disasters throughout the U.S. — including hurricanes, tornadoes, and the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada — collects approximately 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, and provides 24-hour support to members of the military and their families.

“Our goal is really to provide assistance to anyone in need,” Stemen said. “We prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergency.

“When there’s clients involved in a fire, we’re there providing assistance to those impacted.”

POSTED: 02/20/18 at 6:45 am. FILED UNDER: News