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October 1, 2013

Volunteer spreads new lifesaving techniques

PLATTSBURGH — Charlotte Hackett sees the benefit in “passing it on.”

Hackett, a graduate of Saranac High School who is finishing her senior year in political science at SUNY Plattsburgh, has decided to augment an already-busy schedule by volunteering for the American Red Cross.

Hackett visits area schools, community centers, adult homes and other community groups to share lifesaving techniques and procedures to young and old audiences alike.

“We talk about how to be more prepared in emergency situations, what kinds of disasters happen in our area, how to make a kit (for when disaster strikes), and how to make and plan and be informed (to deal with a disaster),” Hackett said recently after returning from a visit to Saranac Lake Central School.

“I’ve learned (through her college studies) how government helps the citizens and how non-governmental groups can help as well,” she added. “Volunteering for an organization like Red Cross is one way that we all can help.”

Hackett’s first experience with the Red Cross was years ago when a childhood friend received a collection of teddy bears that had been gathered by the organization after the friend’s family had suffered a tragic fire.

“As it turned out, they gave her parents what they needed to get through the first and most challenging days as well,” Hackett said.

That early contact laid the foundation for a value that would remain with Hackett to this day.

“Throughout the years of natural disasters that have faced our region and country, I’ve had a positive association with the Red Cross symbol and presence,” she said.

The region’s assault by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 augmented her faith in the power of support that the aid organization offers communities in stress.

“The disaster following (Irene) made me fully aware of how unprepared our community truly is, yet how fully the American Red Cross anticipated our needs,” she said. “I knew that if I took my own steps to stay safe, Red Cross volunteers could focus on aiding the truly helpless.”

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