The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 2, 2013

HOPE Award given by American Red Cross to 2 Enid volunteers

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Two Enid residents were recognized Saturday by the American Red Cross.

Richard and Diana Mitchell are volunteers with the Central and Western Oklahoma Region of the nonprofit, which among other duties responds to disasters around the globe.

The Mitchells were honored with a HOPE Award for Community Service. Spokesman Ken Garcia said they are some of the most-traveled volunteers in the region.

“They are willing to travel anywhere in the region for an event, or to assist with disaster response,” he said.

They also participated in this year’s Day at the Capitol in Oklahoma City. An announcement from the American Red Cross states that Diana is a retired nurse active with health services, and Richard is an emergency response vehicle driver.

They were two of 20 awarded the honor during the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon in Oklahoma City, the second of its kind since the nonprofit’s reorganization into regions. HOPE stands for Helping Other People Everyday.

The awards are broken down to key jobs within the Red Cross, such as communications, sheltering, feeding and fundraising.

The Red Cross is 96 percent volunteer workers, Garcia said.

“Without their dedication and hard work, the Red Cross would not be able to function. Volunteers respond all hours of the day and night to disasters,” he said.

These disasters can range from tornadoes to house fires, and house fires are the most common disaster response.

“These great volunteers work long hours and some even give up vacation time to help others in time of need. In short, volunteers deliver hope and comfort in time of disasters,” Garcia said.

As part of this year’s volunteer recognition, the Red Cross honored those who helped with relief efforts following the 2013 Oklahoma spring storms and tornadoes. Following the storms, thousands showed up to volunteer, Garcia said.

“While we will not have that many at our recognition event, many in attendance were those spontaneous volunteers, and we could not have done the work we did without their dedication and support,” he added.