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Red Cross marks helpful year

The American Red Cross Mid-South Mississippi Chapter honoredmembers for their service in the past year and elected five newboard members Thursday night at their 2004 annual meeting.

Elected to the board were the Rev. Eddie Alsworth, Carl Brown,Fern Crossley, Liz McDaniel, Marie Rogers and Archie Ross. TheMid-South Chapter includes Lincoln, Lawrence and Pike counties.

Rod Crawford, public affairs officer for the Mississippi HighwayPatrol, was the guest speaker. He gave a brief history of bothorganizations and explained how the two became more closelyintertwined in providing disaster assistance through the years.

“It wasn’t too long before the Red Cross came to us and showedus the benefits of being able to work as a team,” he said. “Ourhistory is not as dated as yours, but we are just as proud.”

In 2001, Crawford said, then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove ledlegislation that created the site-specific command center in theevent of a disaster and created a framework that allowed governmentagencies and allied non-profit assistance organizations to workmore closely together.

“We now have a blueprint and a clearer idea of how we eachelement is to be applied,” he said. “We’re now able to concentrateand focus on our own little piece of the pie.”

Under the framework, disaster assistance is grouped into fourdifferent areas – operations, planning, administration and financeand logistics.

“It is under logistics that you will have your greatest input,”Crawford said.

The logistical section includes such things as medicalassistance, food, supplies and communications, he said.

Layla Edwards, executive director of the chapter, provided boardmembers with a brief summary of events in the last year.

“We have faced more obstacles this year than we have had in thepast four years,” she said.

The agency helped more than 500 family members with clothing,bedding, food and shelter as a result of home fires.

The largest mobilization of the year was conducted recently toassist refugees from Hurricane Ivan fleeing from the coast, shesaid. The Red Cross opened seven shelters in Brookhaven and two inPike County to assist nearly 800 people and provided nearly 6,000meals and snacks.

The agency also assisted families with flooding damage in allthree counties served by the chapter and extended their assistanceto residents of the Enon Community in Walthall County, which didn’thave a local chapter, following a devastating tornado on May 1 thatcompletely destroyed five homes and damaged 77 others.