YOUNGSTOWN - A delegation of officials from the Red Cross of China arrived in the city Thursday to renew friendship with the Mahoning Valley.
"It reminds us again that the Red Cross is everywhere," Mahoning Valley Red Cross Executive Director Karen Conklin said.
The relationship between the Shandong Province Red Cross and the Mahoning Valley branch based in Warren has been ongoing for 12 years, with the last visit some four years ago, Conklin said.
Tribune Chronicle / Margaret Thompson
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and Vice President of Shandong Red Cross Branch Xinghua Xuan speak Thursday as a delegation from the Red Cross of China spent time visiting the area.
After a luncheon with the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, the delegates visited the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency. Here they were welcomed by Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and were given tours of SWAT and HazMat vehicles.
The delegates included Xinghua Xuan, vice president of the Shandong Branch of the Red Cross. He said the government-run branch has 28,500 workers for the province's 96 million people.
"We hope there will be a long-time relationship," Xuan said while presenting Franklin with a 4,000-year-old vase.
While the branches are worlds apart, Xuan said they uphold the same mission. They offer similar emergency response throughout the province which is located in Northeast China, below Beijing.
He said they are also working to encourage organ donations and to educate citizens on personal emergency response procedures. In the United States, there is a 5-to-1 wait for an organ, while in China there is a 30-to-1 ratio of available organs, he said.
Among additional services, he said they offer financial assistance to the sick and homeless. They also have spend $100,000 to help infants with heart disease and leukemia.
Xuan said the visit allowed a renewal of the two branches' relationship and that there is always something to learn from one another.