Islanders assist at Red Cross emergency shelter in Everett

Seven volunteers from The Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross, including Phil and Nancy Schober of San Juan Island, have helped staff an emergency shelter in Everett, which opened Dec. 15.

A large apartment fire in downtown Everett that day took one person’s life and left 20 others in need of temporary housing. An additional volunteer provided all the financial tracking for the shelter from his Friday Harbor office.

Snohomish County Red Cross volunteers opened the shelter at Central Lutheran Church in Everett, and have been staffing it around the clock with help from other chapters in the region. Volunteers serve as shelter operators, cooks, caseworkers and case managers, nurses, mental health counselors, among other capacities.

“We were happy to help out,” said Ron Conlin, disaster services coordinator for Islands Chapter. “Snohomish County volunteers had responded to 12 incidents in 12 days, and they needed relief themselves. We were able to send people from South and North Whidbey and the San Juans.”

The Islands Chapter serves Whidbey, Fidalgo and the San Juan Islands and a small section of La Conner. The Chapter’s main office is in Anacortes with a satellite facility on the Seaplane Base in Oak Harbor.

In 2012, The Islands Chapter assisted 29 families affected by home fires and other local emergencies, and provided emergency communications and other assistance for over 400 military families through Red Cross’s Service to Armed Forces Programs. Both services are provided predominantly by volunteers.

“The Red Cross is a crucial player in emergency response and preparedness in our diverse group of island communities,” says Mike Stamper, executive director of Islands chapter. “We also work regionally to ensure emergency response and assistance for every person who needs it.”

The work of Islands Chapter, like all other Red Cross operations, is supported almost exclusively by donations from the American public. A gift of any size supports the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross, whether it is responding to a disaster, teaching skills that can save a life, or assisting military members and their families.

To volunteer, get training, or make a donation, visit and follow the prompts.


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