In the spring of 2011, Arkansas was hit by a series of severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding. Due to the storms' strong winds and rain, hundreds of miles of roadways, bridges, and emergency routes were covered with debris, and thousands of Arkansas families were left without power or shelter. When the storms finally subsided, I was able to travel around the state with local community officials to assess the extent of the damage. While touring, I was amazed by Arkansans' ability to pull together in times of tragedy--communities were filled with volunteers, first responders, and church members all working together to rebuild and recover. One of the main organizations leading the charge was American Red Cross in Arkansas. This event--while terrible--underscored the importance of local organizations like the American Red Cross that provide life-saving services to our state every day.
March marks Red Cross Month--a time to remember and thank the American Red Cross for the work they do in our state, across the country, and around the world. This month, I hope all Arkansans will join me in showing support for our local Arkansas chapters. First established in 1917, the American Red Cross in Arkansas has now grown to a statewide organization. Each year, more than 1,200 of these trained and dedicated volunteers help nearly three million Arkansans respond to emergencies, learn about ways to stay healthy and safe, and provide families with life-saving blood supplies. Thank you, Red Cross for your life-saving services and efforts to keep our communities safe.