Red Cross celebrates a legacy of service, 140th Anniversary Celebration on Friday

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(NEWS10) — The Red Cross is celebrating a huge milestone on Friday and you’re invited: both to roll up your sleeve to donate blood and join the virtual celebration with special guests. It’s the 140th anniversary of the American Red Cross,14 decades of service that continues to this day.

Kevin Coffey, the Regional CEO says some of that service includes, “Each and every day we’re responding to home fires, we’re making sure that our area hospitals have blood, we’re at the Albany Stratton VA right now helping with the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Coffey says every two seconds someone needs blood, that’s why the first part of Friday’s celebration will be a blood drive at Albany’s Capital Center, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

But the Red Cross helps in other lifesaving ways, including installing 25,000 smoke detectors in homes across our community.

According to Coffey, a local couple had just finished restoring their dream home. Red Cross volunteers were in the neighborhood installing free smoke alarms and teaching critical fire safety tips and they installed one in their home as well.

Two days later, it burned to the ground but Coffey said their lives were saved because of the newly installed smoke detector, “They were able to get out of their house in time, which is truly incredible, across our region we’ve saved over 26 lives thanks with these lifesaving smoke detectors.”

Some of these stories will be shared in the virtual celebration, featuring JR Martinez, a U.S. Army veteran turned motivational speaker and best-selling author after surviving devastating injuries in the Iraq War.

JR is sharing his thoughts on living a life of purpose, “Now more than ever we have realized over the last year that we are greater as people, we are greater when we work together when we come together as one.”

Because you never know when you’ll need blood after an accident, shelter after a fire or tornado, or the precious seconds notice given to you by a smoke detector.

“It could easily happen to us,” JR points out, “and so in the back of your mind knowing how this organization is there, yeah they’ve been helping other people, but one day, I don’t want it to be, but one day it could be me.”

“This is our community,” says Coffey, “and I love that the Capital Region always steps up to support one another, now’s the time to support your local Red Cross.”

The virtual program starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 21.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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