In times of crisis and need, the Red Cross is usually among the first on the scene to provide aid and comfort.
Such was the case early last summer when the Promontory Fire evacuation was underway.
The Rim Country Service Delivery Unit of the Red Cross enlisted the services of Mount Cross Lutheran Church to use their facilities as a shelter.
Also, Cucina Paradiso stepped in to provide a dinner for the volunteers and evacuees.
During the 2005 Edge Complex Fire, Lew Levenson -- Payson's 2006 Man of the Year -- and his fellow volunteers from the Rim Country Service Unit of the American Red Cross provided a safe haven for firefighters and evacuees from Tonto Basin at the emergency shelter they opened.
Levenson is now the government liaison and trainer for the local chapter of the Red Cross that was established just after the Rodeo Chediski fire in 2000.
Levenson is also credited with helping increase local Red Cross volunteer membership and teaches a Speechcrafters class for those volunteers who are asked to speak to the media, or the public, during an evacuation.
Also in Payson, Roxey Bowers serves as the Rim Country Team Leader and Carol Flowers is the volunteer coordinator.
In addition to providing hope and comfort for those devastated by disaster, the Red Cross helps prepare people to save lives through its health and safety education programs.
Among the courses the Red Cross offers are lifeguarding, first aid, CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillators), swimming and water safety and babysitter's training.
Those interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer will be asked to first fill out a self assessment.
Then the volunteer will review opportunity descriptions, which will include an overview of tasks available within the Grand Canyon Chapter.
Finally, the volunteer application, available at firstname.lastname@example.org, must be completed.
Youth volunteers, under 18 years of age, must have a parent or guardian permission form signed.
Once the application is completed, Volunteer Resources will schedule a class where new helpers have the opportunity to meet one another.
Also, the class curriculum will include a lesson on the mission of Red Cross and the Grand Canyon Chapter.
To become a volunteer or for more information, call Bowers at (928) 719-5008 or Flowers at (928) 472-7294.