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Red Cross Executive to Talk of Sept. 11 Experiences

(Posted April 19, 2004)

Jeff Varnes

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Jeffrey Varnes, a 1964 Juniata College graduate and an executive with the American Red Cross, will speak at Juniata College about his experiences as the director of Red Cross relief efforts in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in the aftermath of the crash of American Airlines Flight 93 at 8:15 p.m., Thursday, April 22 in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Science Center on the Juniata campus.

The talk is free and open to the public. The talk is sponsored by the Juniata Alumni Relations Office and the Health Occupations Students of America club.

Varnes is executive director of the York County chapter of the American Red Cross, a position he has held since 1987. In 1996, he was named coordinating chapter executive for the state of Pennsylvania.

He has responded to many different disasters and incidents in his two-decade career with the relief agency. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was driving to New York City to help coordinate relief efforts at the site of the World Trade Center when he was asked to direct Red Cross operations in Shanksville, Pa., the site of the crash of Flight 93.

As a member of the Red Cross critical incident response team, Varnes has worked at the sites of many natural disasters and transportation accidents. A short list of his response duties include the 1993 Mississippi River flooding; the 1996 Pennsylvania flooding; the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; the Amtrak derailment in Orlando, Fla. in 2002; and the November 2001American Airlines Flight 587 crash into a Queens, N.Y. residential neighborhood.

Varnes is a native of Altoona, Pa. and a graduate of Altoona Area High School. He currently lives in Springettsbury Township, Pa. He has worked for the Red Cross in a variety of locations, including Hartford, Conn.; Dover, Del.; Baltimore, Md.; San Antonio, Texas; and Norfolk,Va. He also served with the Red Cross in the Republic of South Vietnam.

He is a member and vice chair of the American Red Cross State Service Council for Pennsylvania. He also is a member of he Rotary Club of York and a member of the York Suburban School Board. He is currently president of the Leadership York group.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.