Local Red Cross Chapter Expands Disaster-response Fleet

SPRINGFIELD — Last month, the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter hosted a reception to celebrate the unveiling of its new emergency-response vehicle. The addition of the new vehicle expanded the chapter’s fleet to four vehicles that will be used to deliver immediate emergency assistance to those affected by disaster in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.

The event was attended by sponsors, board members, staff, volunteers, members of the community, and city officials, including Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

“These vehicles are the heart of our response operation on scene,” said Rick Lee, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Chapter. “The true beneficiaries will be the hundreds of people affected by disaster every single year in our hometowns.”

The Pioneer Valley Chapter provides disaster relief services to cities and towns from the Connecticut border to the Vermont border. The addition of the new vehicle will allow the chapter to situate a vehicle in each of the three counties served, ensuring faster disaster-response time and greater ability to meet disaster-related needs throughout the Pioneer Valley.

A leadership gift from MassMutual provided the foundational support to launch a campaign to purchase the new emergency-response vehicle.

Beyond MassMutual’s support, the procurement of the new vehicle would not have been possible without the support of the following contributors who made gifts of $1,000 or more: Westfield Bank, Easthampton Savings Bank, PeoplesBank, TD Charitable Foundation, United Bank Foundation, Westfield Gas & Electric, Pearson Realty Corp., NewAlliance Bank, and OMG Inc. Leadership support was also provided by Dan and Jane Roulier and an anonymous donor. The chapter staff and volunteers are also grateful for the many special gifts from local individuals and businesses.

Additional components of the campaign include funding for communications equipment; disaster-response supplies; repairs, safety enhancements, and maintenance for current vehicles; an ice machine for the Franklin County territory; a disaster-supplies storage and transport trailer; and a portable generator.

The total campaign goal is $140,000. To date, nearly $120,000 has been committed, allowing the chapter to purchase the vehicle and begin the process of enhancing communications equipment to better communicate across the breadth of the chapter’s three-county territory. The chapter continues to work to raise the remaining funds to cap off the disaster-services capacity-building campaign.

Community support is welcome. For more information about the campaign or to make a contribution, contact Paige Thayer at (413) 233-1003 orthayerpa@usa.redcross.org.

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