We feel that the Philippine Red Cross deserves to be congratulated—which we believe will inspire its millions of volunteers all over the country to even be more humanitarian and heroic—for the inauguration of its new chapter buildings in Olongapo and Alaminos, Pangasinan.
The new Olongapo Chapter building was inaugurated on January 17, coinciding with the birthdate of the first elected Mayor of Olongapo, Mr James Gordon Sr., who happens to be the father of PRC’s Chairman Richard “Dick” Gordon, the perennial embodiment of Red Cross tirelessness and activism, along with PRC Secretary Gwendolyn Pang.
Dick Gordon led the inauguration activities. The building was deservingly dedicated to the late “Ina of Olongapo” Ms. Amelia Gordon, a long time volunteer and advocate of humanitarianism and, even before her son, had also become a kind of personification of the Red Cross in this part of the country, almost the most admired Rosa Rosal.
“My mother rose in life from humble beginnings through hardwork, sacrifice, and a relentless drive to make a difference in the lives of others.
She won numerous awards from the Red Cross for her work, and this building is dedicated to her, “ Gordon said. Beside him stood Mrs. Kate Howell Gordon, also a humanitarian, and a reluctant politician who has served Mayor of Olongapo and the city’s congresswoman.
Over a thousand Olongapo residents, a happy horde of Red Cross volunteers and staff, donors, city officials, and members of the board from the both the local Olongapo Chapter and the National Red Cross were present.
Where the new Olongapo Chapter stands is the very site of the chapter’s first ever building, which had been ruined by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and therefore had to be abandoned in 1992.
“This new building serves as a model for all local Red Cross Chapters,” PRC Chairman Gordon added. As she always does, PRC’s Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang spoke glowingly about her chairman being the actual “the chief architect of the building.” She said “Chairman Gordon strategically designed the building in a way to make it accessible to people needing medical attention, by installing a front desk manned by Red Cross volunteers and staff to immediately assist the patient, then afterwards move straight to the second floor to be attended by well trained volunteer medical personnel and nurses.”
That indeed is something that has yet to be done in mopst other Red Cross chapter buildings.
The Olongapo Chapter is best known for its blood bank as it serves as the largest distributor of blood units not just in Olongapo but also in the entire region, having able to produce 5,000+ units of blood a year, more than what is demanded in the region.
The three story building is comprised of a commercial space on the first floor, a blood bank, labs and offices on the second floor, and a function hall on the third floor to serve as a facility for first aid, life support and other training programs.
The commercial spaces, Pang said, will help pay for expenses. Which is a reminder that the Philippine Red Cross depends on the of compassionate people.
Earlier, the Red Cross Alaminos City Chapter on January 10 also inaugurated its new building in WPDH Compound in Barangay Poblacion. The building has two floors, housing for volunteers and staff and a blood station. Soon it receive donated new machine called the Blood Agitator which will help in the treatment of dengue patients.
Red Cross 143
Both the Olongapo and Alaminos Red Cross Chapters have programs to further intensify further what is called the Red Cross 143.
This is a continuously active program invented by Dick Gordon for the entire Philippine Red Cross. Its main goal is for all barangays in our country to have 43 Red Cross volunteers and 1 team leader.
Each of the local chapters then organize the volunteers to become excellent performers in their particular specializations.
Last December, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Secretary General Bekele Geleta, the organization’s top operations executive, visited the Philippines and personally assessed areas in the Visayas affected by supertyphoon Yolanda.
Bekele, Gordon and Pang conducted field visits in Palo, Leyte, one of the hardest-hit areas, and looked into the relief distribution and other interventions of the PRC.
May the Philippine Red Cross never stop doing a great job.