Elaine Hansen will now be serving as executive director of both the Mower and Freeborn County Red Cross chapters. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

Mower, Freeborn Red Cross chapters merge

Published 2:23pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Mower and Freeborn County chapters of the American Red Cross have officially merged.

The two chapters, consolidated last September under a national restructuring of the organization, are now under one title: The Freeborn-Mower chapter of the American Red Cross.

Executive Director Elaine Hansen said she wants to reassure people the organization is providing the same services as in the past — just more efficiently.

“The individual chapters have complementary strengths and share the same mission, vision and values,” said Hansen, who previously oversaw the Mower County chapter. “We are excited for the opportunity to build upon those strengths and share resources to meet the growing needs of our communities.”

Hansen, who has been involved with the Red Cross for 17 years, most in Mower County, said all changes have been fully integrated and she is glad to see the organization move ahead.

“It’s exciting to be at this point where we can be more efficient and effective and focus more on the things that really matter to people — delivering help where help is needed,” she said.

She said the consolidation will save both time and money, allowing the nonprofit organization to be better stewards of donated money.

Offices in both counties will be open, and she and Emergency Services Coordinator Chris Avery will work at both locations.

The two women work closely with local volunteers. There is also one board of directors between the two counties. Previously, there had been an executive director for each county.

“It’s making it more seamless now,” Hansen said.

She noted the organization is always looking for volunteers.

The Red Cross responds to small and large disasters, providing food, water, clothing and mental health counseling to victims of the disasters. It also organizes blood drives and provides CPR, first aid and water safety classes, much through donations from the public.

Opportunities are available in the office, at bloodmobiles, in the classroom or in the aftermath of disasters.

If people would like to get involved, they can contact the Mower County office, 305 Fourth Ave. NW, Austin, at 507-437-4589.

The Freeborn County office, 1608 W Fountain St., Albert Lea, can be reached at 507-373-4544.

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