The American Red Cross responds quickly when disaster strikes. News programs are filled with striking scenes of disaster relief — shelters housing hundreds of survivors, the distribution of thousands of meals and disaster assessment volunteers at work across the affected area. But these efforts would be impossible without the support of the Operations Department working behind the scenes.
For one story, I interview Randy Whitehead and Dan Stokes and their various roles as volunteers. Both have transported a Red Cross emergency response vehicle from one location to another. That effort doesn’t capture news headlines, but it is essential to the mission.
For a second story, I spoke to the people behind an effort to help lawyers better understand international humanitarian law, something very much in the news these days. Lori Arnold-Ellis, the Executive Director of the Greater Arkansas chapter, and Wes Manus, an attorney and Red Cross board member, have expanded and extended a course first assembled by the International Red Cross called Even War Has Rules and are teaching it in our region to lawyers and non-lawyers alike. I took one of the courses and learned a lot too!
That is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to volunteer at the Red Cross: there are so many places to help out and you meet the most interesting people. It is terrific to get to talk to them and hear their stories.