Red Bluff’s volunteers make it happen

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Small corps thrives because of dedicated volunteers

Left to right: Crystal Birks, corps assistant; Fran Fazio, Experience Works/AmeriCorps Vista; Una Jordan, advisory board vice chairwoman; Gayle Juul, Experience Works/AmeriCorps Vista; Major Frank Severs, corps officer [Photo by Roger Hosler].

Red Bluff, the county seat of Tehama County, Calif., is about 30 miles south of Redding, 40 miles northwest of Chico, and 125 miles north of Sacramento. With a population of approximately 14,000, it is the third largest city in the Shasta Cascades.

Six days a week, at the Salvation Army corps in the small northern California town of Red Bluff, Roger Hosler performs a variety of tasks, from handyman and janitor to data entry and food box packer. Roger, age 60, is a full-time corps employee—only he’s a volunteer, donating not 10, not 20, but more than 40 hours a week. He’s never had an interest in being paid, just an interest in helping others.

“Roger is a blessing to our corps,” said Major Frank Severs, Red Bluff corps officer. “He comes six days a week with a smile on his face, eager to help in whatever way he can; I thank the Lord every day for him.”

Recognizing volunteers
With only three paid employees, the Red Bluff Corps depends heavily on its volunteers to fulfill the Army’s mission of doing the most good. The corps honored these individuals in 2008 with its first Red Bluff Kettle Kick-off and Volunteer Recognition Dinner. Jo Winn was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Winn, a 10-year volunteer, is a senior citizen who volunteers extensively during the Christmas season. She said she volunteers “because I want to give back and there’s no better way to do that than through the avenue of The Salvation Army.”

Hosler had previously received many community awards.

Regarding the event, Severs said, “It is individuals like Jo and Roger who have made a night like this possible. It was put on strictly by volunteers and is yet another way to display how vital volunteers are for this corps.”

Post holiday needs
After the holidays, Hosler keeps to his rigorous volunteer schedule.

“There are always things that need to be done,” he said. “Given the economic situation, more people are coming to us seeking assistance, so there’s always a food box to pack or carry out to a car or food to be unloaded onto our pantry shelves.”

Raising funds for the community
With all 25 of the tables sold, the dinner was a success. At $60 a table, that’s $1,500—a good day’s work for a small town like Red Bluff. The event netted over $3,000, all of which will go to meet the needs of the community.

“I cannot say enough about how generous the people of Red Bluff are, said Severs. “Over Christmas, we raised nearly $43,000—with a population of just 14,000 that averages out to $3 a person. This is a great example of the sacrificial giving Tehama County is famous for.”

The Red Bluff Corps is currently planning two fundraisers for this spring: the second Run to Feed the Needy and the first Cycle to Feed the Needy. Last year’s Run to Feed the Needy raised $4,000 for the corps. Cycle to Feed the Needy is an alternative for those who don’t want to run; it’s slightly less strenuous and provides another venue where the community can unite to help those in need.

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