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Red Cross honors longtime Maui shelter manager | News, Sports, Jobs

Red Cross honors longtime Maui shelter manager | News, Sports, Jobs 2020-09-21Leave a comment

Purple Cross honors longtime Maui shelter supervisor | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

A Purple Cross banner honors Gloria Chee (proper) as Maui County Volunteer of the Yr. Merry Tamashiro (left) was given the respect in 2018. Pictures courtesy Gloria Chee

When a hurricane churns by way of the Pacific or a fireplace burns on the pali, Purple Cross volunteer Gloria Chee expenses up her cellphone and waits for the decision.

As a shelter supervisor and Catastrophe Motion Group captain for the Purple Cross in Maui County, Chee is on name 24 hours a day, seven days every week, ready to assist displaced households after home fires or usher stranded residents into college health club shelters.

“It’s like each main risk or precise incident that we’ve had, Gloria’s been there,” mentioned Michele Blair, the previous Maui County Purple Cross director who labored with Chee for 10 years.

This month, Chee was named the Maui County Purple Cross Volunteer of the Yr and acknowledged for her decade of service to the nonprofit. Usually, the honoree can be celebrated with a banquet, however with the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, the Purple Cross opted as an alternative for a shock drive-by parade of volunteers and Maui Police Division officers at Chee’s residence in Kihei on Sept. 5.

“I don’t have a look at getting any type of recognition, however I’m very humbled, and I recognize it,” Chee informed The Maui Information final week.

GLORIA CHEE – Volunteer of the Yr

Chee additionally was awarded with a 10-year pin for her time with the Purple Cross.

“Not everyone has cash to present, however now we have time to present, so I give my time,” Chee mentioned. “I feel they’re an amazing group serving to individuals in a few of their darkest moments.”

When Chee first joined the Purple Cross 10 years in the past, she shortly impressed her teacher with how organized she was, Blair recalled. She was “a type of people who has tabs for issues of their binders,” the sort that didn’t simply preach preparedness however had a go equipment of her personal.

“For those who want one thing, you need to hope you’re with Gloria,” Blair mentioned, recalling how Chee’s truck would all the time be stocked with “clips, ties, workplace provides, one thing for any individual to sleep on, drink out of, it doesn’t matter. She’ll be ready.”

Blair mentioned that serving as a shelter supervisor is “a giant job for a volunteer to tackle.” Members of the Catastrophe Motion Group are on name 24 hours a day, seven days every week for potential disasters. They must function the shelters and deal with the feelings of scared, stressed individuals who might have misplaced their properties or don’t have entry to fundamental wants.

Gloria Chee poses with the pin she obtained in honor of her 10 years of service to the Purple Cross on Sept. 5. The Purple Cross additionally organized a shock drive-by parade of volunteers and Maui law enforcement officials to rejoice Chee as Volunteer of the Yr.

“It may be a tough crowd generally on the market, and she will be able to stand as much as that and be robust,” Blair mentioned. “Nothing rattles her.”

Chee mentioned she’s responded to flooding in Honokohau Valley, gone out to deal with fires and helped with different Purple Cross initiatives, corresponding to smoke alarm campaigns.

Organising shelters and responding to disasters, nonetheless, have modified throughout the pandemic. Throughout Hurricane Douglas in July, shelters had diminished capability, social distancing necessities and temperature checks on the door. After home fires, volunteers not exit to the scene however slightly meet up with displaced residents later to ship a Purple Cross help card that they will use to get fundamental provides and lodging.

Chee mentioned it’s completely different not having the ability to go to the scene and get a way for a way the particular person is feeling and the scope of the incident.

“You meet up with them, assist them with what you’ll be able to, however you’ll be able to’t make any contact, you’ll be able to’t actually go to the scene,” Chee mentioned. “You must take individuals’s phrase. It’s completely different.”

When not volunteering for the Purple Cross, Chee is planning packages for purchasers with particular wants as this system supervisor for Arc of Maui.

Kula resident Elaine Olson, who’s been a Purple Cross volunteer for six years, has gone with Chee on various calls and described her as “very devoted and good.” Olson mentioned Chee has managed the Central Maui shelter a number of instances throughout massive responses, together with a large brush fireplace lately that shut down Honoapiilani Freeway and stranded a whole lot of vacationers and residents.

“We rely on her for lots of issues. We rely on her dedication and judgment. She positively deserves it,” Olson mentioned of Chee’s award.

* Colleen Uechi could be reached at cuechi@mauinews.com.

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