Red Cross volunteers talk to Chamber

American Red Cross volunteers Ralph and Phyllis Kreutziger spoke to Marion Chamber of Commerce on Friday about their volunteer efforts with the organization.

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, the Kreutzigers took a donation to the Red Cross facility in McPherson and asked if there was anything more they could do to help, Phyllis said. That question quickly led to their recruitment as volunteers. They trained for disaster response.

Since joining the Red Cross, the Kreutzigers have responded to 31 local disasters, including tornadoes and winter storms, but the most common disaster they respond to is house fires. The Red Cross provides lodging and financial assistance with immediate necessities such as food, clothing, and medications for disaster victims.

When they respond to national disasters, their specialty is damage assessment. Ralph has experience in construction, giving him a talent for identifying damage, and Phyllis has clerical experience that helps her with the paperwork logging damage.

In 2011, the Kreutzigers responded to their first natural disaster when Hurricane Irene struck the coast of New England. Ralph said it was hard to imagine how many donations were required to mobilize so many volunteers.

Amy Kjellin, director of Butler Community College in Marion and Council Grove, spoke to the Chamber of Commerce members about the college’s upcoming morning of free classes on April 6.

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