The American Red Cross held its annual volunteer recognition event for northeastern Oklahoma last week at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks.

Ronnie Cline, Miami's assistant fire chief, was a keynote speaker at the event.

Cline thanked the Red Cross volunteers for their help during the July flood event - the city's second-worst flood of record.

Noting that the citizens of Miami were a “hard-working and resilient group of people,” Cline said they would have suffered even more after the disaster without help from the local Red Cross. He called the Red Cross “angels” as they set up shelters, provided meals, distributed cleaning supplies and provided financial assistance. He also thanked the Red Cross for the day-to-day disaster relief of helping families after house fires to meet their immediate needs of food, clothing and shelter.

The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 as a humanitarian organization with the intent to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Whenever a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross is there providing shelter, food, clothing, health and mental health services to address people's basic human needs. Also, the American Red Cross is the only humanitarian organization on the scene after home fires.

“This event honored hundreds of volunteers from the 18 counties in northeastern Oklahoma, many of whom helped in Miami. Our volunteers are ready whenever they are needed, but it is always nice to hear that they had an impact,” said Tammie Lewis, Service Center Director for Craig, Delaware and Ottawa Counties.

The best ways to help the American Red Cross are by volunteering time, donating financially and giving blood. The Red Cross also can train groups to be prepared for a disaster. The first step is to develop a disaster supplies kit and become certified in Red Cross CPR and First Aid.

For more information about the local Red Cross or to sign up for a safety class, call Tammie Lewis at 256-6143.