Turmoil nationally has no bearing on Island chapter's work, Red Cross leaders say
The press recently has contained a number of articles dealing with the American Red Cross at the national level and particularly as related to Gulf Coast hurricanes. Some of these articles have not been especially flattering with respect to the Red Cross management or response to the hurricane related disasters, but have little or no bearing on Martha's Vineyard. In fact, the criticism leveled at Red Cross in the Gulf Coast states have been specifically addressed by your local chapter here on island for the past several years.
With respect to collaboration with local public safety and emergency health organizations your local chapter has developed close and exemplary relations so as to make our response seamless. Arrangements for additional mainland support including the necessary transport of resources to the Island through the Steamship Authority are already in existence.
With respect to segregating finances and spending funds according to the donor's wishes, the Martha's Vineyard chapter remitted ALL funds collected as a result of the 9/11 disaster, and has withheld less than one percent for local support activities during Katrina, et al. In both major disasters the Island community has donated monies well above the national average, and provided volunteers directly to the impacted regions.
Everyone should know and appreciate the federal charter under which the Red Cross operates requires invitation by elected local, regional, and national authorities - and fortunately here on Martha's Vineyard the local Red Cross coordination with the Island's Emergency Management guarantees that response.
Your local Red Cross chapter thanks everyone on the Vineyard who has provided help in the form of time, talent and treasure to the success of our activities.
Deborah Medders is the executive director of the American Red Cross, M.V. Chapter, and Art Flathers is chairman of the board of directors.