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March 10, 2014

Red Cross kicks off fundraising campaign

TERRE HAUTE — Disaster can hit at any time, whether from a tornado or fire that leaves a family homeless.

To battle such disasters, the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter Monday has kicked of its 2014 Save The Day fundraising campaign.

The goal is to raise $85,000 in 60 days throughout Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois.

“In America, we may not all look, dress or sound the same, but we share a common spirit that binds us together when times are tough and unites us in action when someone is suffering,” Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said Monday while issuing a proclamation in honor of the organization’s work in the Wabash Valley.

Jadcore Inc. is the lead sponsor of the fundraiser, the 18th year the Terre Haute company has led the campaign, said Rick Burger, co-chairman of the fundraiser. Jadcore provides the first $5,000. “Their corporate commitment to this community is great,” he said.

“You never can predict when a disaster will occur,” Burger said. “At Duke Energy, I know that the [Red Cross] stepped up during the most recent [winter] storm and provided shelter for some of our customers. The Red Cross is always ready and by raising this money, it will continue to allow the Red Cross to be ready.”

Campaign co-chair Marla Flowers said 91 cents of every dollar donated remains in the community to provide for disaster services. The fundraiser continues through May 2. Donations can be made at www.redcross.org or by calling the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter at 812-236-3995.

Nikki Wessley, executive director of the American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter, said the annual fundraiser helps the chapter “respond to emergencies such as a single-family house fire, to make sure families who lose their homes to fires have a place to go, have food and clothes, as well as emergency medications.

“We also help get them into a new home, whether it is rental assistance, building a long-term recovery plan or help them get in touch with their insurance agent,” Wessley said.

The funding also provides support to families of members serving in the U.S. armed forces.

“That entails connecting families with their loved ones who are serving overseas, or if there is a family emergency at home, we can bring that loved one in the military back home,” Wessley said.

“The Department of Defense relies solely on the American Red Cross to provide verification services. Also our reconnection workshops provide mental health assistance and a counseling seminar for military members returning home, to deal with anger and early signs of post-traumatic stress disorder,” Wessley said.

“It also goes to health and safety services, such as teaching children the Heimlich maneuver,” she said.

The Evansville-Wabash Valley region of the American Red Cross responded to 434 local emergencies in 2013, assisted 885 military families, trained 13,105 people in lifesaving skills such as CPR and first aid, and provided 24,000 pints of blood to 19 hospitals.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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