Giving back, after receiving help

Topics: British Columbia and Yukon, Community Health, Emergencies and Disasters in Canada, Our Impact on the Ground, Philanthropy News, Volunteer
June 13, 2020

After retiring in the fall of 2019, Paul Ravelle wasted no time signing up to volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross in Prince George
 
A long-time volunteer with the Kidney Foundation of Canada, and the current co-ordinator for this year’s virtual Kidney Walk, Paul decided to volunteer with the Red Cross after seeing first-hand the benefit the Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) had for his wife. 
 
“The HELP program was able to provide immediate support of professional-grade health care equipment when we needed,” said Paul “through an understanding and caring system of volunteers at the HELP facility here in Prince George.” 

The Prince George HELP depot is one of 65 locations around the province and in Yukon, that lends equipment like walkers, commodes, crutches and wheelchairs to people recovering from illness or surgery.
 
Paul wears multiple volunteer hats with the Canadian Red Cross  working with the HELP team three afternoons a week and assisting with Emergency Social Services and Personal Disaster Assistance team call-outs on the Emergency Management Team. Paul also recently took additional training to become the/a Duty Officer for BC/Yukon, supporting people around the province who have immediate needs for shelter, clothing or food which most often occur after a house fire or flood.
 
“It was easy to become a volunteer and part of a program that provides support to people when they need it most.”
 
Through his role with the Personal Disaster Assistance team, Paul has been deployed in the Prince George region twice: once for an apartment flood and the other for an apartment fire. While he’s found that these call-outs can be unnerving and stressful for all involved, Paul was impressed with the Canadian Red Cross training and support provided and the immediate impact those Red Cross  supports had on the families affected. His favourite part of the call-outs was, “seeing how quickly people can respond and cope with a bad situation if provided with the right support.”

He encourages prospective Red Cross volunteers to “...be patient. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, doing the training and call-outs, and volunteer as often as possible to build on your experiences, because it is remarkable the support you can provide people in need as a volunteer with the Red Cross.”
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To learn more about volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Load or Emergenvy Management Teams please visit www.redross.ca/volunteer Apply HERE or email volunteerbcy@redcross.ca

Paul Ravelle - HELP Volunteer