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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Pam Gilchrist is responsible for Red Cross

  • Pam Gilchrist started her duties Aug. 20 as manager of the newly reopened Pittsburg American Red Cross office, and has barely had a free minute since then.



    “We’ve had two fire calls since I’ve come,” she said. “The Red Cross can provide immediate assistance if people need a hotel room, a change of clothing, toiletries, pajamas, a pillow and blanket.”

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  • Pam Gilchrist started her duties Aug. 20 as manager of the newly reopened Pittsburg American Red Cross office, and has barely had a free minute since then.
    “We’ve had two fire calls since I’ve come,” she said. “The Red Cross can provide immediate assistance if people need a hotel room, a change of clothing, toiletries, pajamas, a pillow and blanket.”
    She was also part of a regional response to a recent power outage in the Fort Scott area.
    Gilchrist’s mission is also to grow the capacity of Red Cross service delivery in the area through volunteer recruitment and donor engagement, and she immediately got busy at doing that. She’s been searching the newspaper daily for opportunities to connect with people.
    “I saw that there was going to be a community fair on the Pittsburg State University Oval on Aug. 22, so I called about that and was able to go to the fair,” she said.
    That was a great success.
    “Sixty people signed up who were interested in volunteering or supporting the Red Cross,” Gilchrist said.
    She would very much like to set a Red Cross club on the PSU campus, noting that this would be a great opportunity for students and faculty from nearly every department to use their knowledge and skills to serve others in time of need.
    “The Red Cross offers so many types of disaster training,” Gilchrist said. “For example, many volunteers do work with people, but there’s a whole other group that people don’t even know about who go around after a disaster and evaluate buildings that have been damaged. That would be a good fit for those in the construction  departments.”
    She also read at the last minute about the Parents University scheduled on Sept. 18 and called the Wildcat Extension District office.
    “It was closed, but they called me back on Monday and told me that I could have the Fire Department’s table because they were going to be outside,” Gilchrist said.
    This tied in well with the Red Cross emphasis on the importance of developing a family disaster plan and preparing a disaster kit.
    “Where should family members meet if there’s a fire? Where should children go if there’s a disaster when they’re away from home?” Gilchrist asked. “Is there an outside phone number to call if local service is out?  A simple disaster plan can help you think through and get it together.”
    She added that it’s important to do a home disaster drill, to check the disaster plan once or twice a year and make any needed changes, and update contents of the disaster kit.
    Gilchrist also arranged to have a presentation on how to put together a Red Cross -approved emergency kit at the Pecha Kucha Tuesday at the Overman Student Center.
    Page 2 of 2 - “For more information and a form for creating a family disaster plan, people can visit www.redcross.org,” she said.
    Coming up will be a volunteer celebration/update from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in the First United Methodist Church fellowship hall with information for current and new volunteers.
    A day of disaster training is planned for “Make a Difference Day” from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the church. Beverly Largent, longtime Red Cross volunteer, will teach classes on disaster service orientation and shelter operations. Interested persons should register by calling the Red Cross office at 620-235-1436.
    “The First United Methodist Church provides us with our office space and also allows us to use their fellowship hall,” Gilchrist said. “We appreciate this so much.”
    She also appreciates the participation of Largent and of Janet Pittman, who has been serving the Red Cross in Pittsburg and will continue to do so.
    “Janet will be working with me,” Gilchrist said. “We make a good team.”
    She and her husband, Jay Gilchrist, came to Pittsburg about two years ago when he accepted a position as vice president of mission integration at Via Christi Hospital.
    They are both from Iowa, she from Cedar Rapids and he from Marshalltown.
    “We met at school in Iowa City, and were both getting undergraduate degrees in religion,” she said.
    They previously lived in Tennessee, and she was a Red Cross chapter manager in Monroe County, Tenn.
    “A tornado hit there and they had no organized disaster response,” Gilchrist said. “They decided they needed a Red Cross chapter there and it took a year of planning to start it. I was there about a year, and then we moved to Nashville and lived there 10 years.”
    She is very happy to be back with the Red Cross.
    “I’m glad to be working in another area of service and helping the community,” Gilchrist said.
     
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