Time to recognize everyday heroes

You don’t always hear their stories.

They’re the ones, often behind the scenes, who respond when others are in need. It’s not always the spectacular stuff. They didn’t rush into a burning home to rescue a baby, or dive into the ocean to save someone from drowning, or pull a man from a burning car.

What they did was this: They are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and respond to home fires and other disasters in Hawaii every four days, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. They educate local youth, organizations and businesses on how to prepare before disasters strike. They provide 24/7 support to members of the military, veterans and their families, and train thousands of people in first aid and other lifesaving skills.

They are what American Red Cross calls everyday heroes.

And this month, March, the Red Cross is honoring those unsung folks who, with little or no fanfare, make life better for those facing their most challenging times. If you have the desire and the time, you could be one of them.

For over 70 years, March has been designated as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.

“Hawaii has no shortage of everyday heroes,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, Hawaii Red Cross CEO. “They are selfless Red Cross volunteers and supporters who embody the spirit of humanitarianism and bring hope to those in need. During Red Cross Month, we honor and applaud them for their invaluable contribution.”

The Red Cross depends on local heroes to fulfill its mission. The following numbers from fiscal year 2016 tell the story:

w The Hawaii Red Cross responded to 124 local emergencies

w Installed 1,062 smoke alarms in 325 homes

w Taught 2,603 keiki disaster preparedness

w Assisted 1,520 military families with emergency communications and trained 12,667 people in lifesaving skills.

This also happens to be the centennial anniversary of the Red Cross in Hawaii. We welcome people to join this cause by getting involved. Take a Red Cross class to learn lifesaving skills, get prepared for disasters, volunteer, or make a donation.

We also encourage you to read TGI’s feature story coming Thursday on the centennial anniversary of the Red Cross in Hawaii by Jenna Carpenter.

For 100 years, the Red Cross has played a vital role in helping the people of Hawaii recover from every major disaster, from hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis to volcanic eruptions and air crashes. Through the generosity and support of Hawaii’s people, the Hawaii Red Cross will be here for the next 100 years to provide comfort and hope to those in need.

In honor of its centennial and Red Cross Month, the Hawaii Red Cross is asking the public to raise much-needed funds not only for disaster relief, but for a new emergency response vehicle.

Red Cross emergency response vehicles are instrumental in almost every phase of disaster response — from prepositioning people, cots and blankets before a hurricane strikes, to distributing food and water following a brushfire, to providing a safe place for a Red Cross worker to offer physical and emotional support to a family following a home fire.

To help the Hawaii Red Cross continue to fulfill their humanitarian mission for next 100 years, go to crowdrise.com/hawaiiredcross100.

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