When a fast-moving fire heavily damaged a Coralville apartment building last weekend, Red Cross volunteers were there to help the 15 displaced residents recover. Agency volunteers responded to more than 800 local emergencies in Iowa last year.

Kara Kelly, spokeswoman for the Red Cross of Greater Iowa, says they’re saluting volunteers during March which is National Red Cross Month.

“Volunteers who get up in the middle of the night and respond to home fires,” Kelly says. “People who donate blood and also for people who give financial contributions to the Red Cross.”

The Iowa-based chapters of the charity assisted 1,300 military families last year by bringing deployed troops important information about births, deaths and other significant personal events.

Kelly says, “A big part of our mission is supporting members of the military, veterans and their families, delivering emergency communications when something’s happening in their lives.”

The agency is involved in humanitarian efforts on a global scale, while also offering to help Iowans learn how to save a life.

“The International Red Cross vaccinates thousands of children each year against measles and rubella, and of course, those health and safety classes,” she says. “We are teaching first aid and CPR and aquatics.”

More than 54,000 Iowans were trained in life-saving skills through the agency last year.

“Hero” ceremonies are planned by the Red Cross to honor Iowans who have shown courage, dedication and character through extraordinary acts of heroism and kindness. Events are planned in Dubuque on March 16th, Sioux City on April 20th, Ottumwa on April 21st and Cedar Rapids on April 22nd.

Learn more at www.redcross.org/iowa.

Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City