Summarized by Kent Larsen
Red Cross and LDS Church share values, director says
Deseret News 19Apr00 N1
By Lois M. Collins: Deseret News staff writer
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Dr. Bernadine Healy, director of the American
Red Cross visited with the LDS Church's First Presidency on Tuesday
and then toured the Huntsman Cancer Institute with its founder, LDS
billionaire Jon M. Huntsman. In her remarks, Dr. Healy emphasized the
common values that she believes the LDS Church's humanitarian
programs share with the Red Cross.
"I've been extraordinarily impressed with the humanitarian relief
activities of the LDS Church," said Dr. Healy. "They are working in
the same places we work, and we share overlapping priorities and
values. We both have faith that you can care for people and give them
dignity at the same time as you help them get back on their feet."
Healy emphasized the American Red Cross' desire to help people help
themselves, which is evident from policies such as handing out
cleanup kits instead of doing cleaning for the victims of natural
disasters. In homeless shelters that the organization runs,
individuals have limits on how long they can stay, receiving during
that time job, education and mental health counseling so that they
will be able to leave at the end of their alloted time.
She also emphasized the tradition of volunteerism in both
organizations. The American Red Cross depends on more than 2 million
volunteers and 4.5 million blood donors, many of whom donate "quite
regularly" according to Dr. Healy. She emphasized the organization's
"stewardship of the American blood supply," which is vital to the
health of the U.S. Without the blood supply, the research of the
Huntsman Cancer Institute and other research organizations and
hospitals would not be possible, nor would most major operations.
As part of the annual BYU women's conference later this month, the
LDS Church Relief Society is sponsoring a blood drive, and expects to
collect about 2,000 units of blood for the Red Cross. But Healy notes
that this is only a drop in the bucket compared to the need faced in
the U.S. She says the Red Cross faces increasing challenges as
"expectation of the public of what we have an obligation to do grows,
almost exponentially. We are obligated to continue in contemporary
ways to meet needs, always in the spirit of respecting human dignity."