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Red Cross station links up to gain volunteers

9 Nov 2012 | Capt. Nicholas Mannweiler

The Combat Center’s American Red Cross station gained a new volunteer management tool this week with the launch of an online volunteer website. 

The volunteer connection website allows people interested in serving with the station to register and submit the areas in which they are interested in, and be matched up with available volunteer opportunities.

The new system digitizes the Red Cross volunteer system, an important modernization step for an organization that is 97% volunteer-manned. By electronically tracking the contact information, training requirements and qualifications of their volunteers, the Red Cross station can more efficiently manage its resources and can make volunteering easier and more enjoyable for those that wish to support the station and its mission.

“We’re always recruiting. Due to the nature of being in a military community, there’s a high rate of turnover. There’s always a flow,” said Michael Wolfe, Combat Center station manager.

The majority of Red Cross volunteers aboard the Combat Center provide support to the Naval Hospital but their skills and time are provided to help several other sections and organizations around the installation. Military Red Cross stations have a unique mission compared to their community counterparts. Whereas community stations do blood drives, health fairs and disaster relief, the military stations support their on-base communities and their unique requirements, said Wolfe.

The Combat Center Red Cross station helps service members and families with emergency communication messages during family emergencies and can help them patch into the regional call center for telephone calls during emergencies. The military chapters fall under the national chapter of the American Red Cross, a different chain of command compared to the regional organization of the community chapters.

Would-be volunteers can begin the process by creating a profile in the Volunteer Connection system by visiting https://volunteerconnection.redcross.org/?nd=intake&entry_point_id=244&logout=1. The website directs them to fill out an application with a username and password they are provided and they pick from a list of upcoming orientation sessions. A list of volunteer position descriptions provides insight and ideas into possible ways in which the new volunteer can serve. Training requirements are then determined following the in-person orientation meeting so the new volunteer can gain the skills they need to effectively fill their new role.

Operating a station aboard a military installation provides Wolfe with a pool of potential volunteers with technical skills and even professional credentialing, such as registered nurses, certified nursing assistants and pharmacy technicians. Volunteers come from all walks of life and levels of experience.

“We’re specifically looking to fill volunteer leadership positions here,” said Wolfe. “The station volunteer chairman is the top volunteer leader and that position is currently vacant. The sky’s the limit on what Red Cross on base can do. We have motivated, skilled volunteers who want to better themselves and help their community while they do it.”

For more information, visit the Combat Center’s Red Cross station in the Village Center or connect with them through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Twentynine-Palms-American-Red-Cross/118023948289828 or call 830-6685.
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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms