The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Larry Reid’s first involvement with the Red Cross was in high school when he took a Red Cross course in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Later, while in the military, the Red Cross facilitated his ability to be at his father’s side during a serious illness. “Once you truly experience making it possible to be there with a family member, you realize the importance of the Red Cross,” Reid recalled. Through these experiences, Reid learned first-hand how the Red Cross touches so many different aspects of people’s lives. As a result, he made the decision that he wanted to be there on the giving end instead of just on the receiving end.
Reid is a Preparedness Health and Safety Services (PHSS) instructor who teaches courses in First Aid, CPR and AED (automatic external defibrillator). He also is a Disaster Assessment specialist. In this role, Reid is trained to deploy to a disaster site, whether it has been impacted by floods, tornados, or fire and provide information to the Red Cross to initiate what response is needed by those touched by the disaster. His training has provided him with the ability to gather, analyze, interpret and distribute accurate and timely information about the extent of damage, overall impact, weather conditions, and demographics of a disaster-affected community.
When asked about one of his most memorable experiences while at the Red Cross, Reid recalled a student from one of the First Aid/CPR courses that he taught. Soon after taking the course, the student was present on a playground when a child had a serious injury. Because of the student’s Red Cross training, he was able to provide life-sustaining support to the child until paramedics arrived.
The Red Cross is there before–through training courses and seminars–and after a disaster with immediate assistance. It’s an organization that touches people in many different ways and stresses learning before a need arises, Reid noted. As the discussion concluded, Reid paused, and mused with a thoughtful and reflective expression, “for me the Red Cross has been a life-changing experience.”
Reid recently made the transition from volunteer to full-time staff person. Today, Reid puts the skills he developed as a volunteer to work on a daily basis as the Planning and Response Manager for the Mid-South Chapter.
Story and Photo Credit: Robert W. Wallace/American Red Cross