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Blood drives just part of Red Cross efforts

September 14, 2007

Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross

Address: 1131 Conrad Court, Hagerstown

Executive Director: Julie Barr-Strasburg

Telephone: 301-739-0717

Web address: http://redcrosswcmd.org




When the residents of a 12-unit apartment building were forced from their homes in late July because of a fire caused by a lightning strike, the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross was on the spot.

Volunteers are trained to help displaced residents find temporary housing and to provide vouchers for necessities they will need as they put their lives back together.

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This goes on all year, supported by financial contributions, a hardworking staff and dedicated volunteers, Executive Director Julie Barr-Strasburg said.

In existence since 1917, the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross is funded through United Way, memorials, donations, grants, mailed appeals, annual membership campaigns, holiday gift wrapping and other efforts.

Working with Barr-Strasburg are Teresa Elwood, director of blood services, and Michael Mowen, who is the local chapter's director of emergency services.

Blood collected in counties typically is provided at cost to hospitals for patient needs.

The cost to collect, process, recruit and distribute blood and blood products continually changes.

Washington County high school students, ages 16 to 18, donate about 15 percent to 20 percent of all blood collected in the county. Most high schools conduct at least one blood drive per year.

The local Red Cross chapter has been a partner with emergency relief organizations. Cots, blankets and shelter supplies are strategically located throughout Washington County.

County fire stations and community buildings in outlying communities are ready to be used in local disasters.

There are agreements with restaurants, hotels, stores and faith-based organizations to provide disaster assistance in cooperation and coordination with the Red Cross.

Volunteers also provide aid to the members of the armed forces and veterans needing transportation to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., blood services, nursing and health needs, safety services and youth services, among others.

Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Conrad Court headquarters off Eastern Boulevard has a blood drive every Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m.

The local chapter also conducts more than 320 blood drives a year in Washington County.

ยท Anyone wishing to volunteer may contact the local Red Cross office at 301-739-0717, ext. 206.

The Conrad Court headquarters off Eastern Boulevard has a blood drive every Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m.

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