A press conference was held at the Mid-Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross in Minot Wednesday morning to announce a sizable donation from several regional businesses.
The donation totaled more than $56,000 and came from five companies - Border States Electric, with a corporate office in Fargo and offices in Grand Forks, Bismarck, Minot, Williston and Dickinson; H&H Electric in Williston; Triangle Electric in Williston; Industrial Electric Services in Dickinson; and Slope Electric Co-op in New England.
Allan McGeough, executive director of the Mid-Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross in Minot, said you only need to look back to 2011 to see how effective the nonprofit organization can be.
"For example, 16,479 overnight stays in our shelters, we served 81,000 meals, we served 213,000 snacks, distributed almost 6,000 cleanup kits to folks cleaning up their homes, and did this all with the help of around 2,000 volunteers," McGeough said.
He said this past summer alone they served just under 7,000 meals, served 14,000 snacks, and did it with the help of 467 volunteers. Along with large-scale disasters like the Souris River Flood and Hurricane Sandy, McGeough said the Red Cross also helps with single-family events such as fires, wind storms and minor flooding.
"All Red Cross emergency services are provided free of charge, and they remain possible through the generosity of individuals and companies," McGeough said.
Amanda Schooling, Ward County emergency manager, said the Red Cross has helped the county through several disasters just since she's been there.
"The Red Cross has helped us numerous times," Schooling said. "They help us with sheltering, feeding, and even participating in the call centers during the flood disasters, as well as putting up individuals who have lost their homes."
Judy Green, the regional CEO for the Red Cross, said it was an extraordinary day, and she was proud to be announcing new partnerships that will support building additional capacity in western North Dakota.
"The American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, is always there in times of need," Green said. "We aspire to turn compassion into action, and we do that so that all people affected by disasters locally, regionally, across the nation and around the world will receive care, hope and shelter."
Green said the investment of the five companies in the Red Cross is important, and will help purchase a fully-loaded trailer with cots, care kits and first aid supplies, a fleet vehicle, will provide the opportunity for an internship at Dickinson State University, as well as provide financial assistance to be used for volunteer recruitment and training, and travel costs for disaster relief.
"That is significant," Green said. "These five businesses from western North Dakota have answered the call of strong corporate citizenship. We want to acknowledge them today."
Jason Stein, vice president of the northwest region for Border States Electric, said it was an honor and a privilege to be on hand for the presentation. He said the one word that came to mind as he thought about his company's involvement with the Red Cross was "proud."
"I just look at the employee ownership that I work with each and every day, and the hundreds of employees that made this possible, and I think about the relationships they have with their customers, their willingness to go out and extend the hand and ask for assistance for this great cause," Stein said. "I was really proud of the fact that we were able to accomplish it all together."
Stein also wanted to recognize the Red Cross, an organization he said does so much with so little and helps so many.
"I feel like as corporate citizens, it's the least we could do, is help them with this endeavor. And I felt really proud of the fact that we were able to step up and get it accomplished together as a group," Stein said. "So I'd like to thank the leadership at the American Red Cross and the volunteers that make this all possible, because at the end of the day they're the real heroes in all this."