150th Year of Red Cross
They've been helping people across the world, from people displaced in wars to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. And today, the Red Cross celebrates it's 150th anniversary!
“The red cross provides humanitarian relief to folks affected by natural disasters as 3well as humanitarian crisis such as war, such as we're seeing in Syria right now, and similar places. Afghanistan. So our goal is to be an impartial party that provides services to those who are in need that are impacted by something out of their control,” says Richard Smith, the executive director of the Black Hills Red Cross chapter.
Currently, the western South Dakota office has 3 full time employees and about 150 Volunteers. Worldwide, there are over 1 million volunteers. Locally, the Red Cross mainly responds to fires, whether it is a house fire or a forest fire. The Red Cross then provides clothing, food, shelter, and mental assistance for as long as victims need to until they are back on their feet. And while the Rapid City office serves most of west river, they are occasionally called to assist other disasters.
"The great thing about the Red Cross is that we're all one organization. So when there's a disaster, it doesn't matter where it happens. The Red Cross will respond. So we've had volunteers from this chapter right here in Rapid City who have left and gone to hurricane sandy, they were involved in hurricane Katrina, and the major hurricanes. And then it even goes into local disaster were we had a major fire last year in Nebraska, we had volunteers in there. We had people in the Fargo flooding this year."
The western South Dakota Red Cross holds a mock disaster event every year to familiarize volunteers with real life scenarios. Last year's mock disaster was to set up a shelter area for a wide fire, and on Friday, the Red Cross will mock a mass evacuation event in Sturgis.