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Friday Focus: American Red Cross, Southern Maryland Chapter

By Stefanie Cusick • January 29, 2016

The American Red Cross provides a variety of services that help prevent and ease human suffering in times of an emergency through the generosity of donors and volunteers. Wouldn’t you love to help save a life? With American Red Cross you could take a CPR or first aid class, donate blood or funds, or even volunteer your time. This week’s Friday Focus we caught up with Jason Marshall, Executive Director of American Red Cross Southern Maryland Chapter, and discovered just how many services the American Red Cross provides and what upcoming events we could get involved with this year!


Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)

A: The American Red Cross of Southern Maryland serves Anne Arundel, St. Mary’s, Calvert, and Charles Counties. Our lines of service include emergency disaster assistance, service to the armed forces, health and safety classes, blood donations, volunteer opportunities and so much more.


Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: We recently conducted a Home Fire Campaign canvassing event in Annapolis and Edgewater. The campaign is designed to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25% through the installation of free smoke alarms for homes needing them and through educational efforts highlighting home fire safety and evacuation plans. We had roughly 60 volunteers join us, along with the fire department and go door-to-door in these neighborhoods meeting with the residents and installing free smoke detectors and handing out educational materials.


Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: The biggest challenge we face is explaining the wide array of services the Red Cross provides. Most people know us for collecting blood and responding to large-scale disasters like flood and hurricanes, but many people don’t know that we work closely with the military to verify emergency communications, provide volunteers at VA Centers and Military Treatment Facilities or that we provide trainings on things like CPR and First Aid.


Q: Are there any upcoming events?

A: We are planning on conducting two more Home Fire Campaign canvassing events in February and March (Charles and St. Mary’s counties). Additional information about these two events will be posted on redcross.org/somd as it becomes available. We also host a number of preparedness, health and safety trainings in the area. People can search for classes near them by visiting redcross.org and clicking “Training and Certification.”


Q: How can people get involved with your organization?

A: Those interested can contact our Volunteer Specialist, Gloria Coliton, via email at Gloria.coliton@redcross.org or via phone at 410-627-5369. We have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the Southern Maryland Chapter territory. Additional information is posted on the Southern Maryland Chapter website (redcross.org/somd) and the Southern Maryland Chapter Facebook page (search American Red Cross of Southern Maryland).