YAKIMA - For several years she has served as a volunteer for the Yakima Valley chapter of the American Red Cross working to help with its annual Grand Vin fundraiser.
Approximately three weeks ago Lisa Reinhart was named the chapter's interim executive director, and she hopes to provide the public with a greater awareness of the organization and its services.
"Right now, my main focus is Grand Vin, which is scheduled for Sept. 12," she said, stating the fundraiser takes much effort on the part of its volunteers.
The organization as a whole is reliant on volunteers, according to Reinhart.
She said, "The Red Cross was built on volunteers...they are dedicated individuals and they are passionate about helping others."
Reinhart said the annual fundraiser, which will feature 14 wineries from throughout the valley, takes place at the Wilkinson Estate owned by Russ Wilkinson of Yakima.
There will be both silent and oral auctions of many items and packages sponsored by the wine industry.
As the new interim executive director, Reinhart is also focused on elevating public awareness of the Red Cross, which provides CPR and first aid training, as well as aquatics training, babysitter certification classes and disaster relief.
The Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team volunteers are available 24/7. That group, said Reinhart, assists with providing water and helping firefighters during a fire. They also give out comfort kits, quilts, stuffed animals and help victims of disasters.
As a volunteer herself, Reinhart has been provided the opportunity to see how the organization's volunteers work together.
"I hadn't known exactly how the disaster side worked until now and I am truly impressed," she said.
Reinhart said understanding the services provided by the Yakima Valley chapter, including providing emergency communications for families of the men and women serving in the armed forces, has impressed upon her the dedication of those involved with the organization.
"I don't know if the general public is quite as aware of the devotion Red Cross volunteers have," she went on.
She said this week (Aug. 2-8) McDonald's in Sunnyside is helping her organization. The restaurant is donating 10 cents for every Angus Burger sold.
In the meantime, Reinhart said she is busy trying to familiarize herself with those who volunteer for the organization and working to raise funding to further assist those in need of services in the Yakima Valley.