Marvin Crawford spends his days driving Lawrence area children to and from school. In the evenings his duties are quite different.
In addition to driving school buses for Mayflower Contract Services, Crawford can be found instructing first-aid classes for the Douglas County Red Cross. So how do the two activities coincide?
``We want to make sure that the drivers know what to do for the children in case there is an emergency,'' Crawford said.
Crawford's interest in Red Cross first-aid training began when he was required to take the training in order to drive school buses. After completing his own certification requirements, Crawford continued his interest in the Red Cross by becoming a first-aid instructor.
Now Crawford spends some of his free time helping others learn the skills and procedures necessary to become certified in first-aid.
``WE TRY to make sure people know what they're doing before they're certified,'' Crawford said. ``We don't want people going out and making emergencies worse because they don't know what they're doing,'' he said.
In a standard two-evening course, Crawford helps teach students how to perform rescue breathing, airway obstruction procedures and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as how to handle first-aid emergencies.
``I think the CPR is the most important,'' Crawford said.
Crawford understands the importance of knowing first-aid skills, because he once helped to save a life by performing CPR.
First-aid is only one of the many services the Red Cross provides to the public.
One of the cornerstones of the Red Cross is its communication link with the armed forces.
``THE RED CROSS always has been military-related,'' said Jo Byers, director of the Douglas County Red Cross.
The American Red Cross originally was chartered to provide aid to the sick and wounded of the armed forces during times of war. This link with the military is kept alive today by services that the Red Cross offers.
According to the national organization, the Red Cross helps a member of the armed forces or a family member every 11 seconds. Primarily, the Red Cross serves as the communication link between military personnel and their families. Besides providing confidential information and referrals to military personnel in times of need, the Red Cross also facilitates the travel plans necessary to bring families together during emergencies.
EMERGENCY financial assistance also is made available to military members. During a crisis, the Red Cross provides interest-free loans or grants to military members and their families to help defer the costs incurred during the crisis.
The Red Cross also helps military families resolve the stress and tension that can result from the separation of loved ones by offering free counseling.
For matters closer to home, the Red Cross provides instructional classes in areas ranging from lawn-mowing safety to baby-sitting. This is in addition to the traditional swimming and water safety classes the Red Cross offers.
In Lawrence, the Red Cross has its own Blood Center where the blood donations are accepted every day. It also has a Telecare system for the elderly, wherein residents living alone are called on a regular basis to make sure they are safe and well.
``The Douglas County Red Cross has more than 750 volunteers, but we're always looking for more volunteers,'' Byers said.