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New Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle Debuts at Bank of the Sierra

October 23, 2023

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held by the American Red Cross Central California Region and Bank of the Sierra in September for the debut of the Red Cross’ latest Emergency Response Vehicle, or ERV. The ceremony was held outside the Bank’s Main Street branch and corporate offices in Porterville. The ERV was designed from the ground up to provide disaster relief to those impacted by events such as wildfires or earthquakes. The vehicle allows trained volunteers to arrive with food and supplies wherever they are needed.

The relationship between Bank of the Sierra and its local chapter of the Red Cross started when the Bank asked the nonprofit organization what was needed most to improve the way it could impact local communities. The resounding consensus was a new Emergency Response Vehicle. To reach this goal, the Bank donated $150,000 to American Red Cross Central California Region to build and deliver the vehicle to the Central Valley.

The ribbon-cutting event was attended by members of Bank of the Sierra, American Red Cross Central California Region, city officials and police officers, the Porterville and Hanford chambers of commerce, and local media. In a speech, Kevin McPhaill, President and CEO of Bank of the Sierra, proudly said, “The American Red Cross is a tremendous organization, and we are happy to partner with them.”

In her speech, Kaitlyn Crough, Senior Disaster Program Manager at American Red Cross Central California Region, discussed the rain and weather conditions that led to severe flooding throughout the Central Valley in early 2023 and compared that to fighting drought only months earlier. “During our response to the atmospheric rivers, the Red Cross served 9,944 meals in Tulare County, 1,762 meals in Kern County, and 552 meals in Fresno County. … Our work wouldn’t be possible without these types of Emergency Response Vehicles, and we thank you, Bank of the Sierra, for your donation and your care for our communities.”

The ERV was designed to be used in disaster response situations. It has a spacious interior so individuals can meet and get treatment from volunteers on a one-on-one basis. The new ERV has improved external lighting and larger serving windows than older ERVs, as well as more safety features and better handling for difficult terrain and out-of-reach areas. The new ERV even has Wi-Fi!

Bank of the Sierra is delighted to have contributed to a potentially life-saving vehicle that may be used throughout its footprint. We will continue to look for opportunities to make the communities we serve better!