Saturday, September 6, 2008


Well, we finally entertained well over one thousand evacuees from southeast Texas and from all over the state of Louisiana at the Dallas Convention Center. While there was some credible damage, we were relieved that Gustav did not become the great threat that was anticipated and that damage to individual and commercial interests was not catastrophic. This proved to be a great test for the new response mechanism on the local, state and national levels. All agree that we passed with flying colors. I give Mayor Nagin, Governors Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal and FEMA and all their partners excellent marks.

The City of Dallas, Texas and the Dallas Area Chapter of the American Red Cross (DARC) and the Salvation Army and their Volunteers need to be thanked for their conscientious and humanitarian response. A lot of folks gave up their Labor Day holiday to address a much higher calling. Kudos go out to many of the EDS/HP Employees and folks from other companies, churches, schools and other community organizations that volunteered with the Dallas Area Red Cross chapter under their Ready When the Time Comes Program (RWTC).

RWTC is a community volunteer program that literally taps the Human Resources of Corporate America and other community organizations. Participating organizations commit to making a certain number of Employees available for voluntary service of at least one day per year. In many cases (not unlike Jury Duty or other public service) companies continue to pay wages to their Employee Volunteers.

The American Red Cross then trains Employees from partnering entities and mobilizes them as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes. RWTC Volunteers are trained by DARC on Shelter Operations and then undergo background checks, a requisite for DARC and RWTC service.

This has allowed DARC to have an even greater number of ready and well-trained Volunteers who can be immediately mobilized and like other DARC Volunteers, can step in and provide a credible, high level service to the community when disasters strike (and they do).

A great story went unreported in the wake of Hurricane Gustav and you will learn of it here and now. Following Gustav’s landfall on the Louisiana coast, WFAA-TV and other local Dallas, Texas TV and radio stations put out erroneous on-air messages that the Red Cross desperately needed Volunteers for our shelters prompting a generous outpouring of Dallas Citizenry. I personally related to around thirty-five of these incredibly motivated folks who unfortunately had to be turned away from Convention Center since they did not have basic ARC training and the requisite background check. Do not despair, though, for they were directed to the DARC headquarters where we hope many took advantage of special Boot Camps that put qualified Volunteers in positions where they could assist their communities.

The bottom line is that well trained and vetted Volunteers ready to be deployed in times of disaster are/will be desperately needed. If you are a Corporation (large or small), Church, Mosque, Synagogue, any community organization, or just any group that wants to give back to their community and be part of the solution, then the Ready When The Time Comes Program is your answer.

Richard L. Keyser, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Grainger, a major supporter of the American Red Cross, nails the motivation for organizational involvement in ARC and RWTC.

“In our experience, the benefits of philanthropy definitely outweigh the costs. I’m proud to be part of a company so dedicated to being an active contributor to our community. I’m also proud of Grainger’s affiliation with the American Red Cross and look forward to continuing our partnership in the years to come.

As the Red Cross continues to strengthen disaster preparedness and response in our communities, there will be more opportunities for partnerships. For those efforts to be successful, businesses need to accept the responsibility that comes with having significant resources at their disposal. The Red Cross needs creative ideas and dedicated support. They need businesses both large and small to play critical roles. What part will you play?”

So, if you are part of a group of like-minded folks, please call your local chapter of the American Red Cross and inquire about participating in the Ready When the Time Comes Program. Yes, Hurricane Ike is on the way…


Ned Buxton

1 comment:

wildhairmama said...

Hey Ned! Thanks for the Ad!

We've missed you!