PDT Staff Writer
Officials with the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross were surprised on Saturday when they got a call from the Portsmouth Police Department with information that the chapter’s van had been vandalized.
“We had a class for health services here (Red Cross Offices, 1801 Robinson Avenue) and it ran until about 3 p.m. Then my wife and I went to Lowe’s to pick up some supplies when we got a call from the Portsmouth Police Department saying that someone had vandalized the Red Cross Van,” said Eli Allen, Disaster Services Coordinator for the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. “We were told by the officer, our van had been spray painted. It seems as if someone was driving down the street, stuck an arm out the window and spray pained the side of our vehicle.”
Allen said the officer was able to give them a description of who they think might have done it.
“The description was a black Pontiac, with four passengers,” Allen said. “It’s not a tag or anything it just looks like someone put a racing stripe on the van.”
He said the entire situation is unfortunate because the Red Cross will now have to find someone who can remove the spray paint for free or pay for it use funds designated to help the community for the repair.
“This is really unfortunate because, .91 cents out of every dollar donated to the Red Cross goes towards helping our clients. It pains me to spend even a dollar on things like this,” Allen said.
He said since the incident occurred on Saturday, there has not been time to seek estimates.
“We have not done an estimate yet, we’re hoping we can find someone in the community that will donate the labor. This way we will not have to spend money to makeup for it,” Allen said. “This way we may not have to spend any funds that could be better spent on helping people.”
He said the spray paint is a single stripe of black paint on the driver side of the van.
As a result, Allen said the Red Cross has had to take protective measures with their other vehicles and put them in a locked enclosure.
“We are having to move them (Red Cross vehicles) to a locked enclosure, which could delay response times,” Allen said.
He said there is no indication on who or why someone did this.
For more information about the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, visit them at 1801 Robinson Avenue, Portsmouth or call 740-354-3293. Visit www.redcross.org/about-us/careers to see career opportunities for the Red Cross.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.