10-31-12-wine gala 2012 - 3.jpgSince Clara Barton first tended to wounded soldiers in the Civil War, at extreme risk to herself, the Red Cross has been known for selfl ess charity in the face of both disasters and everyday hardships in both the national and international arena.

The Red Cross is not, however, known for wine. Never-the-less, for eight years the Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross has hosted a Red and White Wine Gala, and this year — for the ninth time — the tradition continues. This gala is a fundraiser for the Red Cross to help fund its many outreach programs. Victoria Raleigh, executive director of the American Red Cross-Highlands Chapter, said, “The money goes to support the American Red Cross locally in Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke and Sampson counties and Fort Bragg.”

The local chapter of the American Red Cross has fi ve different program areas that money raised specifically supports. Raleigh gave an example of the programs carried out across the counties by saying, “The Red Cross has disaster services, for tragedies like home fires, etc. Also, the county decided to open a shelter after last year’s tornadoes. We provided 1,007 nights of shelter for the community during that hard time. We also have preparedness and health and safety programs including life saving certifi cation, C.P.R., first-aid for babysitting, life guarding and much more.”

Another example of the work that the American Red Cross does to support the Fort Bragg community is the American Red Cross emergency communication program.

“The emergency service for military members and family is used when a service members is deployed. We are the sole organization the family members can use to call overseas in combat zones. We verify the message and send it to the service member’s command when they are overseas. It is a lot of help when there is a death in the family back home but our favorite messages to deliver are birth messages. We also do pre- and post-deployment briefings on how to initiate an emergency communication and offer courses in coping with deployment and tips on reconnecting when you come home. They are hosted by a mental health professional, these are all free,” Raleigh explains.

In addition to great food and wine on the night of the event, there is also a silent auction including exciting packages. “We have items including an African safari, a week and the beach, a portrait sitting, gift certificates to local restaurants, tickets to college football and basketball games, fine jewelry and a day with the Swamp Dogs,” said Raleigh. “We have all sorts of things — several local artists have donated their work to the auction, too.”

The cost to attend the Red and White Wine Gala is $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Attendees are treated to a lavish hor d’oeuvre buffet that will be created by the well-respected and award-winning chefs of U.S. Food Service. There are also 75 different wines provided by Mutual Distributing to choose from and enjoy.

The Gala will be held on Nov. 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. More information about the event, tickets and sponsorship packages is available by calling the Red Cross Highland Chapter at 867-8151. Attire is business casual.

Photo: On Nov. 8, Red and White Wine Gala takes place at the Holiday Inn Bordeaux.

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