The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 10, 2012

Stanly Countians volunteer time, energy serving American Red Cross

By Justin Jones, Staff Writer

Monday, December 10, 2012 — Within the county, two volunteers for the American Red Cross are worried that if an emergency or disaster hits Stanly County, the people wouldn’t be ready.

Those two volunteers, Jerry and Diane Frappier, are currently the only active volunteers, trained and able to help assist in local emergencies through the Red Cross.

As it stands, the Stanly County office has one paid employee who handles the office work. The Frappiers mentioned others who are in training for different areas, but a handful of volunteers and one employee aren’t enough, they say.

And the two hope with the upcoming American Red Cross Stanly and Montgomery County Open House, which will be Dec. 13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at their office on 243 W. Main Street in Albemarle, that the people of Stanly and Montgomery Counties will take some pride in their area.

“What we’re worried about right now is we would like to see some county pride,” Diane said.

“We need county pride because Stanly County right now would not be about to handle a disaster.”

Jerry has been a volunteer with the Red Cross since 2004, and has the resume to prove it.

He’s been a part of national disaster teams, and worked in the Gulf Coast region for 17 weeks after Hurricane Katrina and recently returned to the county after spending five weeks in the New York and New Jersey area assisting after Hurricane Sandy. He’s seen the devastation that a natural disaster can bring, and he hopes that if Stanly County suffered through anything similar, the people could be prepared.

“History can teach good lessons. In the diaster portion of it, experience should give us a lesson.

“The people in New Jersey and New York just weren’t prepared for this. It was that big,” he said of Sandy.

Diane has found her way of involvement, volunteering her time to help meet local needs, particlarly in service to armed forces and their families.

At their Open House Thursday, they hope that people sign up, as the Red Cross has five areas where people can get involved.

Volunteers are needed in disaster preparedness, office work, service to armed forces, health and safety and blood services.

“We don’t have enough people in these two counties to cover a shelter, to do mass feedings,” she said.

“If a disaster was to hit, we don’t have people (to help).”

The Red Cross will have staff from other counties on hand at the Open House to assist in answering questions and get people through the sign-up process.

The Frappiers want people to know getting involved in the Red Cross doesn’t mean you’ll be flown across the country into emergency situations, but that there’s many local ways to help.

“You can just be local. We need the people right here,” she said.

“If you have a skill, we can use you. We won’t do anything unless we can do it safely,” Jerry said.

Thursday’s open house is designed to gather more people for the local effort, so that Stanly County can be an example of a community that cares for its future.

“If something were to happen, we want Stanly County to be able to say: Hey look, we were prepared. We were prepared to feed, we were prepared to shelter. We were prepared to cooperate with the county (Emergency Manage-ment),” Jerry said.