Adrienne Baker is an attorney for Wright Lindsey Jennings and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Red Cross Arkansas. Not only is she one of the youngest board chairs ever, she is also the first female chair in many years.
What drew you to the Red Cross?
I was a Girl Scout growing up, and the mission and activities of the organization overlap to a large degree with what Red Cross does. Girl Scouts impressed upon me the necessity of preparedness and gave me a passion for service. Once I learned about all of the services Red Cross provides in Arkansas, I was hooked! Even after several years on the board, I learn new things about the organization all the time. The more I learn, the prouder I am to play a very small part of a very big mission.
People tend to think of the Red Cross as an international organization. What are some of the things that they do here in Little Rock?
Red Cross is really a local organization with an international presence. We do so much in all of the communities we serve.
In Little Rock and across Arkansas, the number one disaster we respond to is residential fires. On average, we respond to three to five home fires each day. This means we have volunteers who show up at the fire armed with comfort kits (toiletries, diapers, the basics), pre-loaded debit cards, and information and assistance with securing lodging, working with insurance companies, and replacing lost medications. We also provide mental health services and open arms for hugs! These volunteers support our clients 24/7, 365 days a year.
Red Cross supports local veterans and members of the armed forces, from enlistment through the rest of their lives. For example, we put local family members in touch with their deployed family members abroad.
Red Cross also collects blood and platelet donations and supplies blood to local and national recipients. Here in Little Rock, Red Cross provides a blood transfusion treatment for men with Stage 4 prostate cancer. The Red Cross office in Little Rock is one of the only, if not the only, place this treatment is given in the state of Arkansas. It can alleviate symptoms and prolong life. How incredible is that?
What is the most difficult part of your role as chairman of the board of directors?
Feeling like I can never do enough to support this incredible organization. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the countless services Red Cross provides to Arkansans, much less participate in all of them.
What is the primary goal of the Red Cross?
The mission statement says it all: The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. No matter your race, religion, creed, socioeconomic status, or any other demographic factor, if you need us, we’re there.
What are some ways that people can contribute?
We need monetary donations 365 days a year, not just after a major disaster strikes. Volunteer! Whether you’re a volunteer board member, home fire responder or even a press release writer, we can use you. Donate blood or platelets! Do you know someone who has undergone cancer treatment? They’ve received platelets, and those platelets probably came from a Red Cross donor. Donations of blood and platelets save lives.
For more information visit RedCross.Org/Local/Arkansas