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Red Cross in Saskatchewan Vice-President talks pandemic operations and future plans

The Canadian Red Cross’ vice-president for Saskatchewan was invited to speak to the Rotary Club of Lloydminster about his transition to the role and the organizations work during the pandemic.

Luc Mullinder took the position in November 2020 after spending five years as an ambassador during his time with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and seven years as part of the Red Cross’ philanthropy team. The former defensive end spent eight years with the team and retired with the Roughriders in 2013.

Mullinder says he’s proud of their work in the assisted self-isolation site (ASIS) program. ASIS provides shelter to those needing to self-isolate but are unable to do so safely such as people who are homeless or live in a multi-person dwelling. In total, Red Cross helped between 3,000 to 5,000 people under the program during the pandemic with an average 200 to 300 people a night needing assistance during the peak transmission periods.

“One thing about the Canadian Red Cross we know that we have to help each other out but, more importantly, the people we come across are probably going through some of the most stressful times in their life and it’s a real honour to help them. It is something we take seriously and we want to do well.”

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Emergency Management Coordinator John Halliday says right now they are averaging at around 100 people a night. Another thing he highlights was the Red Cross’ support in Saskatchewan long-term care homes. Mullinder says they were able to assist three Regina facilities get through the outbreak phase and back to normal operations.

“At the end of the day we saved lives and gave life back to the people that were in those long-term care facilities whether it was the staff or the people that make their home there 24 hours a day.”

Mullinder says the Red Cross has a strategy to help in the COVID-19 vaccinations which they are bringing to government leaders. He adds the organization is able to do several different things to ease the rollout from contact tracing to helping manage lines for when appointments are set.

“Our capacity is really impressive when it comes to the fact that we can augment anything the ministry of health wants to do with its vaccination rollouts. Whether that’s providing clinical support or non-clinical support, we’re able to surge teams from Saskatchewan or the rest of the country to help this province.”

As for future plans for the organization, Mullinder says he will continue building an organization that is understanding and empathetic to those within the Red Cross and those that need their services as well as supporting communities and community groups across the province. He says Lloydminster has the strongest youth-led initiatives in Saskatchewan and commends the community for the anti-bullying work which inspired initiatives like the Imagine No Bullying campaign.

“Saskatchewan was a leader in bullying prevention and we got those ideas from Lloydminster. It’s pretty cool and it’s something I’m going to reflect on.”

He adds he has some strong ambitions to get communities involved in programs and show what Saskatchewan and Lloydminster are capable of to the rest of the country.

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