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Celebrating N.L. volunteers a way to start Red Cross Month

From left, Sharon Kieley, Roseanne Veitch, Margo Edison and Ryan Wade, four Canadian Red Cross volunteers, shared their experiences at a reception hosted by Lt.-Gov. Frank Fagan and Patricia Fagan to start Red Cross Month.
From left, Sharon Kieley, Roseanne Veitch, Margo Edison and Ryan Wade, four Canadian Red Cross volunteers, shared their experiences at a reception hosted by Lt.-Gov. Frank Fagan and Patricia Fagan to start Red Cross Month. - Joe Gibbons

The importance of volunteering isn’t lost on those who already work with the Canadian Red Cross.

Sharon Kieley, a retired schoolteacher, has been volunteering for most of her adult life.

Kieley began teaching in the 1970s and it influenced her volunteer life, she said.

“At that time, there was an expectation as a teacher that you would give up your time. So, I volunteered through the years,” she said.

“There was so much opportunity in St. John’s and I discovered so many places that needed volunteers.”

In 2015, she became a volunteer with the Red Cross.

Volunteering at the time of the Alberta wildfires really opened her eyes, Kieley said.

“It made me so much more aware of how fragile life can be, and how quickly lives can change,” she said.

Lt.-Gov. Frank Fagan and Patricia Fagan were the hosts of the annual reception to celebrate volunteers, which was held at Government House on Tuesday.

Kieley and three other volunteers spoke to the hosts and the crowd about their experiences volunteering.

Margo Edison, manager of safety, security and emergency services at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, has been volunteering with the Red Cross since 2012.

There is a crucial need for volunteers, Edison said.

“Every disaster brings different experience from us and how we react to those. We have a functional skill set that is definitely needed,” she said.

One thing in particular stands out the most to her when she is volunteering, she said.

“Of all the things I’ve done, and all the things I’ve seen, the thing that stands out to me the most is the gifted people I’ll meet.”

Rhonda Kenney, provincial director for the Red Cross, was happy to celebrate the work of the dedicated volunteers, she said.

“The need for the Canadian Red Cross remains high and we will continue to grow,” she said.

There is an emphasis on the need for volunteers, Kenney said.

“We are currently in the midst of a national campaign to recruit and train more disaster management volunteers.”

This year marks the 75th anniversary designating March as Red Cross Month.

To volunteer with the Red Cross, those interested can check out redcross.ca/volunteer.

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