We do inspiring work here at the Red Cross SEPA chapter. We spend our days helping others in need and according to our colleague, Terry Johnson, it’s “the best job in the world.”
Several Red Cross employees had the opportunity to explain the fulfillment that comes from doing “our kind of work” to several children who visited the office of the SEPA chapter for national “Take your Child to Work Day.” Upon arrival, they were greeted by Fred Cross and fed a delicious, “office kitchen” cooked breakfast of eggs, French toast and bacon. Our CEO, Judge Hughes came in toward the end of the meal and gave an enthusiastic welcome to all participants.
Next on the agenda was a tour around the building with Kevin Wilkins and Dianne Fingar. After a quick visit to Judge Hughes’s office, the kids toured The Bridge and learned about disaster response. The red phone, our direct line to the Philadelphia Fire Department was an object of fascination and served to emphasize the importance of our role in responding to fire disasters in our community. Next, the kids examined the detailed (and extremely fascinating) maps of the region on the wall next to The Bridge and learned which areas are subject to floods during heavy rain. After a short tour of the lunchroom, they received official Red Cross volunteer vests, worn by responders in emergencies. Dianne explained the purpose of Red Cross house and how the SEPA Red Cross is proud to provide a shelter for fire victims who do not have another place to stay.
Eventually, we found our way down to the vehicle well and the young people inspected a few emergency vehicles and heard which ones respond in different disaster situations. Terry Johnson proved an excellent guide and fervent promoter of the emergency responder role. He was proud of the ERV fleet and it’s capacity to provide essentials to those who have lost everything. We learned that the Red Cross has 30,000 cots for disaster response in our region. Amazing!
Later, the kids joked and laughed at a pizza lunch with Judge Hughes. She quizzed our visitors about favorite sports teams and was shocked to discover that allegiance to our home town teams was not as strong as she assumed. One brave twelve year old, Ricardo, stood firm in his loyalty to The Raiders despite her teasing. Sixteen year old, Lawrence, talked about his experience as a volunteer fire fighter, and Linda, 14, showed everyone a picture of her bass guitar, which is shaped like a daisy. Everyone agreed it was very cool.
One of the most moving scenes of the day was watching the kids learn how to provide citizen CPR, basic first aid. They tried very hard to get it right as they practiced creating a basic sling and bandaging one another. It was a reminder of how everyone, young and old, appreciates learning how to be useful in a time of need.