CORNER BROOK — Jerry Scott hopes more people will get to appreciate how rewarding being a Canadian Red Cross volunteer can be.
Scott, who began volunteering with the Red Cross three years ago, was one of several volunteers and special guests who were on hand to mark the official opening of the new location for the humanitarian organization’s western Newfoundland service centre Thursday morning.
Now situated at 30 Main Street, Scott believes the more visible location will get more people interested in what the Canadian Red Cross does.
“At our other location, there wasn’t much visibility and a lot of people weren’t even aware the Red Cross was in town,” Scott said of the former address tucked deep inside an office building at 9 Main Street.
“We wanted to get out into the public more and let people know where the office was. This new office will help get the word out that we are here and we are looking for volunteers.”
Scott has volunteered for many causes in the last 25 years, but his three years with the Red Cross stand out. Last year, he was one of 84 volunteers from Newfoundland and Labrador who went to help folks in Slave Lake, Alta. who lost everything they owned to wildfires.
One of those people happened to be his sister, but Scott said hearing news that she and so many others who were helped are slowly getting their lives back together is a reward beyond compare.
“This is be the best organization I have ever worked with,” he said.
In its old location, the Red Cross had one room in which to operate. That meant meeting and training sessions were done in the same room where all of the equipment used for disaster management or to help local people with medical needs had to be stored.
In the new location, there is office and meeting space, in addition to separate rooms to store equipment. There is even a cleaning station to wash down equipment after it’s been used — a chore that had to be done externally before.
“This new location for our western service centre in Corner Brook provides the Red Cross with greater accessibility for our clients, volunteers and partners,” said Rick Graham, vice-president of the provincial council of the Canadian Red Cross.
“There is obviously increased visibility in this location and, more importantly, greater functionality.”
John Byrne, a former Corner Brook resident who is now the Atlantic director general of the Canadian Red Cross, said the organization does a lot of good both locally and abroad, whether it’s a local house fire, a flooded community in the province or a devastating earthquake halfway around the world.
Byrne noted it is always the volunteers and those who support its efforts financially or with in-kind contributions that enable the Red Cross to do what it does.
“Without their support, we would not be able to act and behave the way we do in times of need,” he said.