FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- During March, we celebrate the work done by the largest humanitarian organization in the world, the Red Cross.

The American Red Cross is part of this international humanitarian network with 13 million volunteers in 187 countries. The ARC helps respond to disasters, build safer communities and educate future humanitarians.

According to the American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington, each year, the Red Cross
reaches an average of more than 100 million people across the globe. Here at home, the Red Cross has a presence across the country.

It responds to small local disasters such as house and apartment fires. Nationally, it provides
highly coordinated response to major disasters such as floods and severe weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Each year, the Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters every year, ranging from home fires that affect a single family to hurricanes that affect tens of thousands, to earthquakes that affect millions. In these emergencies, the Red Cross provides safe shelters, nourishment,
health and mental health services to help families or entire communities recover effectively.

Although the Red Cross is not a government agency, it is an essential part of the national response when disaster strikes. In partnership with the government and other agencies and organization, it fills a critical role in providing needed services to disaster victims

The services of the American Red Cross are broad. They include services to the armed forces. The Red Cross helps
military members, veterans and their families
prepare for, cope with, and respond to
the challenges of military service.
The services provided include emergency
communications, training, support
to wounded warriors and veterans, and
access to community resources. This has
been especially needed during the last
decade of war. ARC headquarters reports
that it helps about 150,000 military families
and veterans annually. Stateside, volunteers
also support the military community,
helping out at military hospitals and
other military programs.
At Fort Jackson, the American Red
Cross Station has more than 80 active
adult volunteers. It also has an active pet
therapy program with six volunteer pets
visiting patients and wounded warriors.
There are two youth volunteer programs.
The school year program supports a community
event each month. In the summer
program, youth volunteers work full time
in mostly clinical settings to gain work
experience. Both programs demonstrate
a commitment to growing the next generation
of humanitarian workers or volunteers.
The American Red Cross also provides
support through its blood program. The
American Red Cross is the largest single
supplier of blood and blood products in
the U.S., handling more than 40 percent of
America's blood supply. Each year, nearly
4 million people donate blood through the
Red Cross. Fort Jackson plays a role in
this program with local blood drives that
meet the target each and every time.
Additionally, the Red Cross is the nation's
leading provider of health and
safety courses, such as CPR, first aid and
lifeguard training -- training more than
9 million Americans each year, including
first responders, educators, baby sitters
and people who just want to be prepared
to help others in an emergency.
During this month, the Fort Jackson
Leader will spotlight our American Red
Cross at work locally and honor the volunteers
of this great organization. Anyone
interested in volunteering should call the
Fort Jackson Station at 751-4329 or drop
by the office at 9810 Lee Road, to discuss
various opportunities to help.