American Red Cross is active as ever

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, October 25, 2014

This letter refers to an article published in both the Albert Lea Tribune and the Austin Daily Herald on Oct. 9.

The word on the street is that the American Red Cross is moving to Rochester. That’s not true.

The Red Cross is not the building in Albert Lea or the building in Austin or even the building in Rochester. The Red Cross is the people who are dedicated to the mission of the organization.

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Yes, the Red Cross office in Albert Lea has closed, and the building in Austin will be closing. But I find it ironic that at the same time that the Austin Daily Herald’s reporter was preparing his story describing how the Red Cross was leaving, I was on the scene of a fire on Academy Street in Albert Lea, providing Red Cross assistance to the people affected.

The current changes provide more emphasis on volunteer engagement and greater responsibility for volunteers. This provides us with the opportunity for more involvement in the community, not less. I hope to see more local volunteer activity and even better cooperation with our partner agencies like the Salvation Army.

I’m still a newbie, being a volunteer with the Red Cross for only 10 years. I’ve seen small and large — single-family fires and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The full resources and expertise of the Red Cross are behind us if we need them in Freeborn County. The beauty of the organization is that we’re not dependent on someone in Rochester if we need help, but we can tap the resources and expertise of Rochester, the Twin Cities, and volunteers across the country if they are needed.

No, Elvis has not left the building. In fact, we need more Elvises. Check out to get involved.


Steve Bonine

Albert Lea