Red Cross is responding in Carter County but needs help

Published 9:12 am Monday, March 9, 2020

It was three years ago when hurricanes were hitting the U.S. coasts that Janey and Earl Harmon thought they should be helping. They visited the American Red Cross office in Northeast Tennessee and found out they indeed could be trained to respond. They took training classes and deployed in New Orleans to staff a Red Cross shelter. Their assignment was cut short when the storm took a turn back to sea; but the Harmons had only begun to understand what the Red Cross does in a disaster.

What Janey and Earl learned was the Red Cross responded frequently to disaster right here in Carter County and Northeast Tennessee. Now they respond frequently when a fire destroys the home of a family here in East Tennessee. They often visit with families to provide shelter, food, clothing and even medications as the family begins to recover after losing everything. In 2019 alone the Red Cross responded to the needs of 23 families in Carter County. “I had no idea the Red Cross provided so much service right here in our area.” Janey continues, “It is a best kept secret but should be much better known.” The Harmons have helped families in Carter, Sullivan, and Washington counties. They would love to share their volunteer job with other interested individuals. Training is available online and here in Northeast Tennessee.

Responding to a spur of the moment disaster may not be the job for everyone and the Red Cross has other positions available for those wanting a more scheduled assignment. “We also help install smoke alarms in homes for families,” states Janey. “We have volunteered on smoke alarm installations in Bristol, Johnson City, and Sneedville as well as here in Elizabethton.” In Carter County, 24 smoke alarms were installed free of charge to residents during 2019. Additionally, 176 individuals were trained in First Aid, CPR, or Water Safety training. In another little-known program 93 services were provided free of charge to 36 active duty Carter County military families during times of family emergencies. Janey’s advice for a new volunteer is to find out about all the positions available and select the one that best suits your time and interests. “We learn so much when we attend monthly meetings and talk with other volunteers about what they do. The Harmons are ready to mentor new volunteers here in Carter County.

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For information about how to begin volunteering contact Adrian Riser at 865-599-6774 or .

For other information or for service you can check out the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee by visiting and entering your zip code. The American Red Cross is not a government agency; it is funded entirely by donations from some local United Ways, many individuals, and local organizations.