There’s more to the Red Cross than blood

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

The director of the American Red Cross Black Belt Services does more than set up blood drives. She raises money. Lots of it.

According to Jeanette Crusoe, director of American Red Cross Black Belt Services, her office serves Dallas, Marengo, Perry, Wilcox and portions of Choctaw Counties. In order to get funds to provide Red Cross services, Crusoe uses methods ranging from the heroes campaign to mail-outs.

Money raised from the heroes campaign is used for disaster response. Funds go to victims of tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and the like. &uot;The one that we see the most here are single-family fires,&uot; Crusoe said.

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A chairman of the campaign finds five co-chairs, which raise money any way they can. Civic organizations and churches are two examples of methods co-chairs raise money. &uot;But some people sell hotdogs or do car washes,&uot; Crusoe said. &uot;Our goal this year is $24,000.&uot;

Crusoe also maintains her organization’s volunteer following. &uot;We’ve had a lot of reorganization in the past year,&uot; she said. &uot;I have a lot of good volunteers working for me.&uot;

It’s not all fund-raising and volunteers, though. As director, Crusoe maintains the day-to-day activities of her office, which include various programs the Red Cross provides. One of those programs is the health and safety program, which provides CPR training.

Project SHARE is another service Crusoe’s office provides. The program helps people with electricity bills. Crusoe said she’d like to see the program expand in January to help people purchase gas and wood. &uot;Anything for heating purposes,&uot; she said.

Blood drives, though, are always on Crusoe’s mind. The next blood drive will occur on Dec. 23 and 24 at her office at 812 Selma Ave. On Dec. 23 the blood drive will last from 11:30 to 3:30 p.m. On Dec. 24 it will last from 8 to 11 a.m.

Crusoe began working as director full-time on Nov. 24, but this isn’t her first experience with the Red Cross. She served as a nurse for 16 years, most of the time in the Selma area. Before gaining her current position she worked as a health and safety instructor for the Red Cross. She saw the director position was available and applied.

It was just a matter of time before she moved from a part-time director position to her current full-time one.

Crusoe’s future plans include making her office’s services more widely known. &uot;I want people to know that we’re here and we’re working,&uot; she said. &uot;I would like for this office to be a stronger presence in this community.&uot;