WEST WHTELAND — Harry J. McHugh
wants your time, your money and your blood.
Click Here!> > No, McHugh is not with the Internal Revenue Service.He is the chairman of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross and the featured speaker at Exton Region Chamber of Commerce's 2008 Expo luncheon on Friday at the Church Farm School.
The event was free and open to the public.The Red Cross chapter's CEO, Tom Foley, was to be the luncheon speaker but had to fly to Ireland on Friday on an emergency, McHugh explained.
told the gathering his
interest in the Red Cross
began after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.His
niece was lost in the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center
."We never found my niece but it was a turning point in my life," said McHugh, who is also senior vice president of convenience chain Wawa Inc., headquartered in Middletown, Delaware County.He
said it was then that he
realized the great importance of family and need to help people turn desperation into hope and hope into confidence so that they can return to a normal life.The SEPA Chapter
is one of the largest Red Cross chapters in the country and serves a community of 3.8 million people in the five-county Philadelphia area.It provides critical disaster relief, lifesaving CPR classes, first aid and safety training
courses, youth leadership programs and community disaster education programs.
The chapter has provided assistance to people caught in 850 disasters this year, McHugh
said.Of that, 796 were fires."We provide money, food and clothing, replace lost prescriptions and shelter," said McHugh, 64, of West Whiteland.
So far in 2008, McHugh's
chapter has provided some 1,149 people with shelter, three meals a day and money to get back on their feet.The Red Cross
provides support for military families who have someone overseas.Usually it is contact when there is bad news such as illness or death, but sometimes it can be good news, as well, such as a birth of a baby, he
explained.The Red Cross
, which also helps trace people lost through disaster, assisted in 19 searches for Holocaust victims last year, he
In one case, a young woman was sent to a Nazi work camp in 1942, separating her
6-year-old brother.The Southeastern Chapter
was able to assist in the 66-year old search.They found the woman, now 83, in the Philadelphia area, McHugh
has been reunited with her
The chapter has 108,000 trained lifesavers, of that 33,000 are youth, McHugh
of the chapter's good works depend on its 10,000 volunteers, which prompted McHugh's pitch for more people to join the nonprofit.
Referring to the troubles on Wall Street, McHugh
said "Your 401(k), that's not important.This is important, your family and your health."McHugh
said the Red Cross
is not looking for people with special talents.