By Marisa Palmieri
This is the first in a series of four stories featuring member agencies of United Appeal for Athens County. United Appeal is a collaborative fund-raising agency made up of 13 social and health service agencies located in Athens County.
Since 9/11 the American Red Cross has taken on unprecedented responsibility. In terms of preparedness - planning for terror attacks, response to airline crashes, working with health officials on immunization programs and offering support for the war in Iraq - the Red Cross has been asked to do more than ever before.
As a member of United Appeal for Athens County, the Athens County chapter of the American Red Cross has faced similar obstacles as its national counterpart. The national state of emergency and this year's United Appeal campaign theme "Do Something Big" have compelled Sandy Shirey, executive director of the Athens County American Red Cross, to ask her volunteers, "Can you do something more?"
"The value of the Red Cross is that they perform so many services and touch so many people in the community," said Pam Harvey, executive director of United Appeal.
A network of over 300 volunteers, the Athens County Red Cross provides a wide range of services from a 24-hour emergency communications service for military families to health and safety education like CPR and babysitting courses.
"We do say we serve everyone [in Athens County] - in some way - whether it's planning for disaster or blood collections," Shirey said.
Some of the Athens County Red Cross's programs are self-funding, like the courses it offers; however, a large part of its funding comes from United Appeal, according to Shirey. The Athens County Red Cross receives no financial support from the national Red Cross, unless there is a major disaster.
For more information or to volunteer contact the American Red Cross, Athens County Chapter at 740-593-5273.
To donate to United Appeal contact Nancy Crist at 593-1804 or firstname.lastname@example.org or contact United Appeal directly at 592-1293.
Marisa Palmieri is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.