Changes being made at Red Cross

Published 8:40 pm Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dear Editor

On May 2 the American Red Cross will celebrate 92 years of service to the people of Chilton County; Woodrow Wilson chartered the chapter in 1918. The chapter has been built on a very strong foundation — generations of dedicated volunteers and employees and the incredible generosity of the American people.

From rolling bandages for American soldiers fighting in World War I to providing measles vaccines to children in Africa today, we have weathered hurricanes, wars, health pandemics and human-caused disasters.

Even during these difficult economic times, the Red Cross continues fulfill our mission to save more lives, prepare more people and be there to help after any emergency.

It is the human hand and the human heart that have always made the Red Cross the best at what it does. And the American Red Cross has always found a way t provide assistance to friends, families and neighbors in need. Many chapters are facing tough times and are finding it necessary to down-size operations; we plan to change the way we do business so we can continue serving the families of Chilton County by working with our paid and volunteer staff from the Montgomery office to serve the community.

The dedicated staff and volunteers will continue to give excellent service to the community as they have for 92 years. Our plan is to staff the Clanton office generously donated by the Chilton County Commission with volunteer staff and to recruit and train enough volunteers to form Disaster Action Teams (DAT) to respond to single-family fires in the jurisdiction; last year alone, we responded to 31 single-family fires, spending $19,000 on that service alone.

I would like to say a heartfelt “thank you” to Betty Byrd, who is leaving the Redo Cross after many years of service, first as a volunteer and then as paid staff, for her efforts on behalf of the people of Chilton County.

Thanks also to the members of our board of directors, who have given so much out of dedication to helping those in need and to the generous financial contributors who make our services possible.

We are especially grateful for the continuing financial support of the United Way of Chilton County, the Chilton County Commission and the City of Clanton, which make it possible for Red Cross to meet the immediate, emergency needs of victims of disaster, provide communications between military personnel and their families, fulfill the need for blood products in area hospitals and train people in CPR, first aid and AEDs so that our community can be a safe place to live and work.

If you want to “change a life,” the Red Cross is the place to do it, so place call the office at 755-0707 to get involved.

– Bobby Martin

Chilton County Probate Judge and Chair of the Chilton County Board of Directors of the American Red Cross