LACK OF COMMUNICATION BY CANADIAN RED CROSS MANAGEMENT REMAINS MOST UPSETTING ISSUE IN HELP DEPOT DEBACLE
Posted on 12 September 2012 by admin
It appears no amount of persuasion or pleading is going to change the fact that the Canadian Red Cross appears to be unwilling to re-open its Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) depot here in Osoyoos.
After he appeared before members of Osoyoos town council three weeks ago, it appeared John Richey, the regional manager for the Southern Interior of B.C. with the Red Cross, was willing to reconsider the decision made in July to close the depot in our community.
Even though a group of 30 volunteers quickly organized and stepped forward to offer their services to operate the depot should it return to Osoyoos, it appears the Red Cross is unwilling to change its mind.
And that’s very sad and unfortunate since no one in this community was given any prior warning about Red Cross management’s decision to close the depot in Osoyoos once longtime volunteer co-ordinator Charlotte Sanktjohanser informed them back in May that she was stepping down after 27 years of dedicated service.
Richey’s explanation that the vast majority of HELP depot clients spread across British Columbia have to travel at least 15 minutes to access equipment and services, and the Osoyoos depot was assisting an average of only five clients per week, do have some merit.
The fact the HELP depot in Oliver remains open 20 minutes away and has expanded and has more equipment to help more clients is also good news, but not as good as having one in Osoyoos.
But what has so many local residents upset, and rightfully so, was the lack of communication by Red Cross management in making such an important decision without telling anyone about their plans.
When a service has been offered in a community for almost 30 years – one which has assisted thousands of people over that time period – it’s polite, prudent and professional to inform community leaders and customers about your intentions.
As the famous line from the great American movie Cool Hand Luke says, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.”
There’s simply no excuse for basically trying to keep the pending closure of the HELP depot hushed for several weeks.
Richey says he’s more than willing to lend his expertise and advice if a new Osoyoos-run committee wants to open up a similar kind of depot in town in the coming months, but he makes it very clear it won’t be under the Red Cross banner.
If Richey and the Red Cross had been more open and forthright about their intention to close the Osoyoos depot and explained in detail about their reasons, all of this would have been much easier to swallow.
As things stand now, a large group of volunteers remain very upset and dozens of clients now have to travel 20 minutes to Oliver to access the depot there, which isn’t going to be easy for many of them.
And all the blame for that lies at the feet of Canadian Red Cross management.
The only options for the local group of volunteers appears to be organizing a similar service here in Osoyoos or working to set up a travel schedule to bring clients to the HELP depot in Oliver several times a week.
Members of the volunteer committee, which includes town councillors Sue McKortoff and Michael Ryan, aren’t going to like either option, but there doesn’t appear to be any other choice considering Richey is a senior manager and his decision appears to be final.