Red Cross Volunteers Get Disaster Training

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Behind every Red Cross volunteer there is a reason for helping and a sense of motivation.

"My family had a house fire and we lost our whole house, my daughter lost everything that she owned, expect the clothes on her back," said Laura Canute, a Red Cross Volunteer.

Now Laura Canute is paying it forward. Thursday's shelter simulation is the first time she's practicing the skills she learned online--registering people at the door, setting up cots, and serving meals.

It's training that could have helped prior to December's ice storm.

"A lot of us were new, and were very willing to help but didn't know what to do. So today is kind of a refresher course for us so that the next time something like this happens we are in a little better shape," said Bernie Brussow, another Red Cross Volunteer.

"We need volunteers all the time. The generosity of the American public is what runs the Red Cross and we rely on our volunteers," said Alison Bono, the regional director of Communications for the Red Cross.

Turnover is something the Red Cross deals with and the trainings are crucial to keeping their volunteers ready.

"It always seems to be a disaster on a holiday and we have trouble finding volunteers," said Bono. "The more volunteers we have the more ready will be to take care of the next disaster."

Thursday, 35 volunteers sharpened their skills. The people come from all over Mid-Michigan. Each is happy to help complete strangers, experiencing their most desperate times when there is no one else to turn to.

"It's amazing! The things that they do and the people that they help and all the circumstances that they help in--I never knew any of this existed," said Canute.

It's something she is now glad to be a part of.

If you'd like to join the Red Cross, you can sign up online. You can choose your level of participation. The link is above.

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