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Area Red Cross volunteers to be honored at Grand Island meeting

June 14, 2018 GMT

Several area Red Cross volunteers will be honored at the annual meeting in Grand Island on Thursday evening.

Two of the five primary honorees this year are Chuck Scripter of North Platte and Mary Cone of Ogallala.

Scripter will be honored as the Disaster Cycle Services Volunteer of the Year, while Cone will receive the Blood Services Volunteer of the Year award.

Rachelle Lipker, executive director for the Red Cross in west and central Nebraska, said Scripter is an invaluable volunteer who volunteered on-scene for both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. She added that was not an anomaly: “He always has his bag packed and is ready to go. He’s an amazing volunteer,” she said.

Since Cone took over directing blood drives for the Ogallala area in 2009, that region’s production has gone up from 700 units annually to 1100 units. Cone typically directs 12 drives a year, with two-day events every other month.

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Also being recognized at the meeting are Lynnette Gralak of North Platte and Vicki Halligan and Barb Wegner, both of Cozad.

“Ninety percent of the Red Cross workforce is volunteers,” Lipker said. “Without them the work wouldn’t get done.”

Along with recognizing impactful volunteers, the meeting also serves as an opportunity for new board members to be nominated. Lipker noted that the board currently has no members from the Nebraska Panhandle, and she said she fears that some may be scared off by the concept of monthly meetings and subsequent long trips to meeting locations. However, thanks to technology, the board members do not have to make in-person appearances and can Skype into the meetings. Lipker said she hopes that at this year’s meeting the board can add some voices from the far west side of the state.