We are all volunteers. We did not "join" Red Nose Response. RNR is not a membership organization. RNR is a chartered charity whose purpose is to respond with smiles and gentle humor in case of a disaster, natural or man-made. RNR's responders volunteer! We are responders. We see a need, we respond. We act. As a network of responders we make ourselves available to RNR and we respond with "smiles to the rescue,” if we are able, when a call goes out.
RNR is not a first or second tier response entity. Some responders may be first on the scene of a disaster by the nature of their professions, such as police, firefighters, EMTs, CERT personnel, National Guard troops. When it's appropriate and possible, they bring the RNR spirit of caring, compassion, humor, and the heart of the clown with them to supplement their primary responsibilities.
RNR has some folks who typically respond in the second wave of any response. Many of these folks are people involved with the Armed Forces, National Guard, Red Cross, United Way, Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Convention, Catholic Charities and similar groups who set up shelters, serve food, provide services to displaced peoples caught up in what is going on as well as tend to and support the first level responders. RNR asks the same thing of them. If you are able to share a smile or a laugh while you are doing what you do, please do so.
Red Nose Response is part of the third tier response to a disaster or catastrophe, if appropriate and requested by the on-scene coordinating staff. RNR responders visit established shelters, entertain youngsters of all ages, listen to the adults caught up in the situation, offer a hug or a shoulder to cry on when appropriate, and inject gentle humor as a momentary outlet or distraction from the stress of the situation. In the process, we interact with and support the efforts of other professionals who are attempting to rally services and resources to help the victims and survivors get back on their feet.
In some cases, RNR responders do not respond to a specific situation, but instead do work with charitable groups, agencies and activities to raise awareness, and generate funds in their communities to help them carry out their missions.
Other RNR responders raise disaster prep awareness in their communities by working with fire departments and police agencies as they teach how to prepare for a disaster or work in support of a CERT or other such groups. In essence, those responders offer a comic perspective on a serious subject that people just don't concern themselves with until it is too late.
The one thing we all have in common is that we combine our clown hearts with raised hands. What do I mean? We have all raised our hands to say I will help.