Ready to go red

Published 10:47 pm Thursday, February 28, 2013

For all the help the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross has given to residents of the city and the surrounding area this year — and officials say the organization has responded to 20 different incidents in Western Tidewater just since the beginning of the calendar year — the organization does not have unlimited resources.

On Saturday, area residents will have a chance to give a little back to the Red Cross, as the organization holds its annual fundraiser, Paint the Town Red, which in recent years has become one of two primary fundraisers held by the American Red Cross of Southeastern Virginia, the parent of Suffolk’s chapter.

Paint the Town Red is a gala banquet hosted this year by Craig Moeller and Vanessa Coria of WVEC-TV. Diners will be served by celebrity waiters, including US 106’s Dave Parker, Mayor Linda T. Johnson and her husband Jesse Johnson, Councilman Roger Fawcett and a variety of other media representatives and businesspeople. There will also be an auction, with City Councilman Mike Duman, owner of Mike Duman Auto Sales, holding court as auctioneer.

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Paint the Town Red is always a fun event, a chance for volunteers to get a little silly in pursuit of raising money for a worthwhile cause and for guests to enjoy a good meal in pursuit of the same goals. More important, though, is the reminder the event gives of the important role the American Red Cross plays in Suffolk and the rest of Western Tidewater.

The Red Cross was one of the first emergency-response agencies on the scene after a tornado injured more than 200 people and flattened homes across two Suffolk communities in 2008. The Red Cross is the go-to organization when families are displaced from their homes by fires. And the organization may be best known for its role in keeping fresh blood supplies around the nation, using grass-roots collection campaigns to keep stocks replenished.

You can support the Red Cross this year and have a lot of fun doing so by attending the Paint the Town Red event. Tickets are $55 each and are still available. To purchase them, or for more information about the event, visit