Over 100 people turned out for the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society’s first annual General Assembly at Marshall Islands Resort at the end of June.
The well-attended event voted in the organization’s first Governing Board, with Dr. Alex Pinano as President for a four-year term. Pinano has been interim president for a number of years and was the primary person pushing to get the Red Cross established locally.
President Hilda Heine was among the many people who turned out for the General Assembly. “I call on everyone to stand with Marshall Islands Red Cross Society as a volunteer or member,” she told the group.
Visiting International Red Cross officials who attended the Saturday event indicated their support for and encouragement of the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society. “We look forward to support from MIRCS as we continue ours,” said International Committee of Red Cross representative Michael Myers. “I am impressed with results,” said International Federation of Red Cross official Alex Torres.
Marshall Islands Red Cross Society (MIRCS) Secretary General Jack Niedenthal said the international organization is 150 years old and now has over 190 nation members worldwide. It was founded by Henri Dunant, who was a businessman in Italy when a great battle was about to take place involving hundreds of thousands of men. After the battle, it took days and nights to bury the dead. Dunant worked with villagers after the battle and came up with the idea for humanitarian aid, which led to the founding of the Red Cross. “Dr. Pinano is our Henri Dunant,” said Niedenthal.
Following the General Assembly, MIRCS now has 351 registered volunteers around the Marshall Islands. Some volunteers commented on their interest in being Red Cross volunteers.
Volunteer Maile Sam said being a volunteer comes from the spark inside us that wants to help others. “I learned and conducted first aid, CPR, emergency response training, community/school outreach,” said volunteer Richard Anta. “Coming together as one can make for a safe place.”
Read more about this in the July 7, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.