Previously the Marshall/Fulton County office was part of twelve counties overseen though the regional office in South Bend. Now all of northern Indiana is being serviced though that office ,with much of the paperwork being generated and completed in Indianapolis.
The position of Disaster Director has been eliminated. Mickey Davenport, who has held that title for ten years and accepted the responsibilities of 24/7 disaster responses, is one of eight in the region who’s position was eliminated. Although Davenport only worked in the office one day a week, she was the first person to receive the calls during disasters that could range from a family burned out of their home to flooding that caused many families to have to be relocated.
Davenport said she will remain on as a volunteer as long as needed.
The office is staffed by volunteers currently from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. When no staff is available, an answering machine is used to take messages. The recorded message on the answering machine also gives a separate number to call for fire assistance or military related assistance.
Executive Director John Pinter of the South Bend location has been responsible for the Fulton/Plymouth chapter for some time. Pinter said, “To fill the void, the Red Cross will have the Emergency Services Director from the neighboring chapter on Tuesdays and a staff member from St Joseph County up on Thursdays, so there will be a little more staff time in total.”
Kathleen Husband, director of Health and Safety for the local office, will retain her half-time position, but will be out of the office more than in the past and involved in more training of volunteers.
Pinter said, “A new AmeriCorps member will start full time after September 12, and we hope to continue to have a senior aide or “impact” worker for the mornings.”
Pinter said, “In short, we’ll likely have to reduce office hours one afternoon until the AmeriCorps person starts. However, the chapter will remain as such.”
Carol Arnett, chair of the local Red Cross Board, said they hope to keep the hours of operation the same by continuing to use volunteers.
Pinter and others met with Marshall County EMA (Emergency Management Agency) Director Clyde Avery last week to discuss the changes. Avery said, “I hope that we can continue to get the same great responses.”
Pinter said, “Red Cross is called upon to help victims and survivors of disasters. Most of the time, people think of disasters as big events, but nationally over 95 percent of what our volunteers respond to is single family fires.”
In Marshall / Fulton Counties in 2010-2011, the Red Cross has helped with seven single family fires, one multi-unit fire, two other incidents (gas leak and blizzard), and assisted fourteen families.
They have also assisted in 30 military cases requiring financial assistance and /or emergency communication.
According to Pinter, Red Cross personnel train over 2,000 people in Fulton/Marshall County each year, in lifesaving techniques like CPR, First Aide, and Lifeguarding.
Red Cross mobile blood collection trucks are conducting blood drives throughout and had over 4,000 units collected in 2011 in the two county area served by the chapter.
Funding for the American Red Cross comes from donations from the public; United Ways of Marshall and Fulton Counties, for a portion of the disaster and military work; grants for projects from foundations and businesses; class registration fees; and bequests, legacies and planned giving.