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This Red Cross worker responds well to crisis

March 16, 2001

This Red Cross worker responds well to crisis



Editor's note: This is the last in a weeklong series of stories profiling women who are making a contribution in the Tri-State area.

By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


When disaster strikes Washington County, Cindy Blackstock Kline springs into action.

As director of emergency services for the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Blackstock Kline goes to the scene of fires or floods and helps victims find shelter, food and clothing.

"With the Red Cross I have the ability to make people cry and to stop their tears," Blackstock Kline said.

The Red Cross this fiscal year has helped victims of 22 fires in Washington County, including three apartment blazes that affected multiple residents, she said.

The job is time-consuming and can be emotionally draining, but it provides her with a sense of satisfaction, said Blackstock Kline, 43.

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She takes pride in knowing the Washington County chapter has been able to maintain disaster services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, she said.

"When the Red Cross says it will be there, we'll be there. I take that to heart," she said.

The Hagerstown Fire Department recently presented Blackstock Kline with a plaque to show its appreciation.

Hagerstown Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker called Blackstock Kline an asset to Washington County.

"With one phone call to the Red Cross we know that people are going to be taken care of," said Hawbaker.

Blackstock Kline said she has a core of eight volunteers who aid her in providing assistance to disaster victims. Recruiting and retaining volunteers is an important part of her job, she said.

"The biggest requirement is compassion. We can train them to do the rest," she said.

The Red Cross' disaster fund operates with a budget of about $20,000 a year, but meeting the public's needs is expensive, she said.

"One fire can cost $1,000," she said.

Public appeals have helped keep Red Cross disaster services available, she said.

"People have been very generous," she said.

Blackstock Kline also administers services for area veterans, including putting veterans and family members in contact with each other and providing transportation to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., she said.

The American Red Cross' network of chapters makes it possible for veterans and their families to get in contact with one another during times of crisis, said Blackstock Kline, whose father and husband are veterans.

The Washington County chapter's language bank provides interpreters to hospitals, police and other agencies, she said.

The local language bank has been around for 40 years and offers volunteer translators in 25 languages.

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