International incidents bring to bear the importance of volunteering for the Red Cross. Although volunteers in Prince George are not in any direct line of fire, their counterparts regular folks and skilled professionals who donate their time to help in emergencies are laying down their lives in other cities of the world. Whether here or in the heat of battle in the Middle East, lives depend upon these selfless volunteers and personnel.
“Every day, in Canada and around the world, people rely on the humanitarian services of the Red Cross,” says Nisha Sharma, community outreach coordinator for the local Red Cross region. “From community health services, and injury prevention education, to disaster preparedness, and relief assistance, Red Cross volunteers are there when people are in need.”
March has been designated as the month in which the Red Cross will honour its own. It couldn’t come at a more poignant time. While four local volunteers are singled out for their outstanding contributions in this area, the Red Cross flag was raised to half staff at City Hall. This is in memorium for the Red Cross / Red Crescent personnel killed in action by the military outbursts between Israeli and Palestinian forces in the occupied territories. Their ultimate sacrifice gives the local citations even more gravity.
Frances Yarborough is the Emergency Response Team Leader and has been a Disaster Services volunteer since 1993 and recently returned from an assignment with Family Services in New York.
Mark Friesen is a fourth year UNBC student and an intern with the International Services Department. In an effort to promote public awareness around the issue of international humanitarian law he will co-ordinate a speaker’s panel featuring guest speakers from Amnesty International, UNBC and the International Red Cross.
Joey MacGregor is a volunteer with the RespectED: Violence & Abuse Prevention Program. She delivers these workshops to high school youth on the topics of child abuse and dating violence.
Marj Niehaus has been a volunteer with the Medical Equipment Loan Service since 1993. She helps get medical equipment into the hands of those who need it on a temporary basis. This equipment library is free of charge for the public.
The local chapter of the Canadian Red Cross has many fulfilling volunteer opportunities for all ages. Call them at 564-6566 for information on how to be involved.
Doing so would help honour the three Red Cross (known in Palestine as Red Crescent) workers killed: paramedic Ibrahim Assad (his ambulance was attacked by Israeli armed forces), medical technician Bassam Balbeisi (killed in cross-fire attempting to save two other civilians), Dr. Khalil Sulieman (killed when his ambulance was attacked leaving a refugee camp), and the 140 volunteers and personnel injured in fighting in Israel / Palestine in the past two years.