CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The American Red Cross West Virginia Region will be getting a next-generation emergency response vehicle courtesy of the American Electric Power Foundation.

In celebration of World Red Cross Day on Wednesday, officials from Appalachian Power gathered at their North Charleston offices with leaders of the Red Cross WV Region (ARCWV) for a donation of $150,000.

“We will be able to serve hundreds of thousands if not millions of people through this emergency response vehicle,” Erica Mani, the CEO of ARCWV said.

“Our volunteers not only utilize it here locally in West Virginia but anytime there is a large disaster across the country, we are able to send our volunteers to help in these emergency response vehicles.”

Mani said the need for a new vehicle was an absolute must for the department. They currently have vehicles more than 10 years old that have had mechanical issues.

Officials at the presser said the Red Cross vehicles are usually one of the first to arrive on the scene of a disaster to provide relief to those in need, whether it be clothing, food or physical and emotional help.

In 2018, ARCWV helped over 1,000 families who experienced a local disaster and more than 800 families after a fire.

“This is a big need,” Jeri Matheney with Appalachian Power said. “We could really see that need so it seemed like the perfect fit for the AEP Foundation to support this request.”

Mani said the vehicle is a special order and will take between 18 to 24 months to arrive.

The vehicle will feature a new design which will be more energy efficient, less on gas and should last longer.