By Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer
Every year, Canton, Ohio, rolls out the red carpet—and the gold jackets—as it hosts events celebrating gridiron greats and long-time legends being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And each year, the American Red Cross is part of the action as it provides first aid services throughout the two-week festivities.
Retired Canton City Fire Department Firefighter and Red Cross Volunteer Chuck Goldy acts as head coach for the Red Cross’ Pro Football Hall of Fame coverage. He has coordinated the effort and called the plays for six years.
“When I retired, I decided that I’ve been blessed all my career, and I wanted to continue to give back,” explained Chuck. “Now that I’m not working, I can plan and do more.”
“Red Cross relies on our volunteers each and every day in fulfilling our mission, and the Hall of Fame events are no exception,” said Kimberly Kroh, executive director of the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter. “Chuck is a dedicated Red Cross volunteer and leads the Hall of Fame events every year, spending dozens of hours before, during and after these events. His dedication is inspiring to me and is also why working side by side with volunteers is the best part of my job.” See the video with Kim and Chuck, recorded after the 2016 Hall of Fame events here.
This year, the Red Cross staffed five Pro Football Hall of Fame events. It provided first aid stations as well as hydration and cooling stations.
First aid stations are staffed by those certified in CPR/AED who are trained to respond to breathing and cardiac emergencies. At hydration and cooling stations, Red Cross volunteers distribute water and provide cold towels to bring down body temperatures. Volunteers check vital signs and provide cots so individuals can recover if in distress. Equipped with two-way radios tuned in to the Canton City Fire Department channel, volunteers are ready to connect individuals to paramedics on site, if needed.
The 2018 festivities kicked off July 22 with a community parade. It was staffed by 14 Red Cross volunteers who handed out approximately 800 cups of water to parade participants.
On Friday, Aug. 3, a fashion show and luncheon at the Canton Civic Center was staffed by 12 volunteers. That evening, 16 volunteers were on hand for the Enshrinee’s Gold Jacket Dinner, attended by 4,000 guests. Red Cross workers treated one guest for vertigo issues.
The grand parade was Saturday, Aug. 4, and was staffed by 20 Red Cross volunteers. They distributed about 2,000 cups of water to parade marchers. With temperatures nearing 90 degrees, five individuals were treated for heat-related issues. They were high school band performers who had overheated under their heavy uniforms. After being assessed and cooled down, they were released to their parents and band directors.
Red Cross coverage culminated at the Enshrinee’s Roundtable Luncheon on Sunday, Aug. 5. Twelve volunteers staffed the event.
The Enshrinee’s Roundtable is Chuck’s favorite event.
“I enjoy the Roundtable,” he said. “The guys sit down with a sportscaster from the NFL Network. It gives an opportunity to hear their personal stories. It’s interesting to hear about their background. Some players have big hearts and they share what is meaningful to them and how they were raised. You get a better picture of who they are.”
“I’m not a huge football fan—but this is for Canton,” Chuck explained.
If you’d like to be like Chuck – and more than 1,500 other volunteers in Northeast Ohio, visit redcross.org/neo, and click “Volunteer” at the top of the page to begin the application process.