Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ripped through the Gulf Coast Region in the fall of 2005, taking lives and property. In less than a month’s time transportation and communication systems, public utilities and roads were destroyed.
A gift from the people and State of Kuwait provided the funds to construct these state-of-the-art Red Cross offices in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The photo is from the Louisiana Capital Area Chapter.
The next February, Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, vice president of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, was in the Gulf Coast. With video camera in hand, he was visiting Red Cross food trucks, talking with volunteers and personally learning about the Red Cross recovery operation in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The day before Dr. Al-Sayer had visited the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, D.C. There, on behalf of the people and State of Kuwait, he presented a $25 million check to the American Red Cross to help improve infrastructure along the Gulf Coast and in high-risk areas.
On July 16, Dr. Al-Sayer returns to the Gulf Coast. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he will help open new offices for the Louisiana Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, offices built with a portion of the 2006 Kuwaiti donation.
The new offices will allow the Baton Rouge chapter to better respond to disasters and provide community services. There is a Disaster Operations Center for state-of-the-art coordination and communication during the next hurricane, and an industrial kitchen that can prepare as many as 2,000 meals a day. New training classrooms were constructed, so more individuals can become certified in first aid and CPR skills.
During his first visit, Dr. Al-Sayer commented that he could see the dedication and belief in the cause of the Red Cross. He’ll see that dedication and commitment again at the grand opening, from special guests and from Baton Rouge area citizens.
An afternoon chock full of public events will include a formal ribbon cutting, an open house and a hurricane presentation by a local television personality. In addition to Dr. Al-Sayer, Gerald DeFrancisco from the American National Red Cross and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden will join the festivities.
The generous donation from the people and State of Kuwait funded new Red Cross buildings in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Mobile and Tallahassee, and more. Kuwait’s gift remains the single largest donation in the history of the American Red Cross.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.