On June 22, the first of a storm of wildfires swept over the state, beginning a month of disasters that lead to the evacuation of thousands and the opening of several Red Cross shelters. Red Cross volunteers responded with compassion for the victims and eagerness to help – but they weren’t the only ones showing willingness to give assistance.
During each disaster, Red Cross volunteers were accompanied by groups of spontaneous community volunteers aspiring to help evacuees. Handfuls of Utah helpers were seen comforting evacuees, setting up shelter supplies, and assisting Red Cross staff. Since the fires began, 223 community members have applied to be trained Red Cross volunteers; 43 of which identified themselves as being “spontaneous volunteers” during this summer’s fire seasons. These volunteers have committed to directly help with wildfire responses and show support for victims.
Volunteer Coordinator for the American Red Cross Utah Region Kristy Denlein said many volunteers who have attended New Volunteer Orientation in recent weeks are very interested in disaster services and being trained to respond to local disasters.
“Some of them are retired, some are nurses, and others were students, but all of them are just looking to give their time and give back to the community,” Denlein said.
For information on becoming a volunteer, visit www.utahredcross.org and click on the “volunteer” link.