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May 22, 2013

Wabash Valley Red Cross wraps up Save the Day Campaign

TERRE HAUTE — The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter’s 2013 annual meeting concluded the 17th annual Save the Day Campaign, and the results lifted the spirits of all who were involved.

When the goal was originally placed at $65,000 for the fundraiser, chairman of Save the Day, Ted Kraly, was pleased by the number he saw at the end of the 60-day campaign period.

“The amount we have raised thus far is $101,464, and there is more still trickling in,” he said.

The funds raised by the campaign will help the Wabash Valley chapter support Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois in times of tragedies.

“The funds will go toward helping deliver disaster relief to families,” he said. “It helps to get people out on the field with the equipment and training that they need. Raising this amount of money puts us in a great position to more effectively respond to people in need.”

Kraly gave credit to the generosity the Wabash Valley has for people in need.

“Jadcore Inc., Thompson Thrift, the Hulman family, Baesler’s Market and people who just donated a few bucks made this fundraiser a success,” he said. “It is wonderful to see how great the people of Wabash Valley are.”

Along with the results for the Save the Day campaign, honorees of service with the American Red Cross were also announced and given small gifts of gratitude. Among the people recognized, an American Red Cross volunteer since 1993, Freida Rutan, received the “Disaster Services” award.

As she accepted her award, she turned to the crowd and said “Red Cross is near and dear to my heart.” As people applauded she returned to her seat.

“The Disaster Services award is awarded to someone who has been a part of a number of disasters over a course of time,” she said.

Rutan’s first disaster was a mile-wide tornado in Nashville, Tenn., where she provided mass care to people in need. She was also involved with providing aid to flooded areas in North Carolina and Texas. All of these were in 1998.

“I also went to New York in 2002 to serve on an outreach team after the 9/11 attacks,” she added. “It is almost an honor to serve with the American Red Cross, and it is hard to find a place you can make a difference. I may not see a change right away, but in the end I know I helped in some way.”

She said she will continue to volunteer with the Red Cross until her health gives out.

With the recent events of weather travesty in Oklahoma, the American Red Cross chapters around that area are sending volunteers to help in the relief effort. The Wabash Valley chapter has not sent any relief to the affected areas.

“The first responders will be the chapters closest to the areas affected by the tornado,” said Carol Stevens, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of the Wabash Valley. “They have already sent volunteers in to help distribute food to the workers, cleaning up, providing shelter and helping individuals emotionally.”

Though the Wabash Valley chapter hasn’t sent any volunteers immediately, they still may be called on if the devastation is large enough.

“We won’t know for a few days if they will need our support, but we have had people call and say they are available to help,” she said.

Reporter Dustyn Fatheree can be reached 812-231-4260 and dustyn.fatheree@tribstar.com.

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