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Red Cross officials re-certify instructors

The American Red Cross took another step toward establishing astronger presence in the Brookhaven area Saturday by reauthorizinglocal instructors to continue serving and educating under thedirection of the Hattiesburg chapter.

South Central Mississippi Chapter Director of Preparedness BillPowe led the quality assurance committee in an evaluation of sevenformer local instructor trainers that would rehash their skills andauthorize them to continue serving.

The seven instructors from Brookhaven and McComb were authorizedunder the former Brookhaven-headquartered Mid-South MississippiChapter, which disbanded over $25,000 in bad debt last September.Upon their Saturday reauthorization, the instructor trainers willbe official under Hattiesburg’s direction, allowing them to trainnew instructors, who will train new volunteers and perpetuate theorganization’s goal of strengthening membership in the newly-formedMid-South Mississippi Service Delivery Area.

“When the Brookhaven chapter gave up its chapter, they becameinstructors without a home,” Powe said. “Now, they will becertified with us and stay here to serve. We want to continue tokeep instructor trainers in this area.”

Powe said the reauthorized instructors would play a part in theorganization’s efforts to expand its community health and safetycourses. He said the chapter hopes to begin hosting such classes -which teach emergency skills such as CPR, life guarding and otherforms of care-giving – on a monthly basis in Brookhaven andMcComb.

“The backbone of health and safety services is communityclasses,” Powe said. “We want to train up as many as possible.We’re still not where we want to be, but by authorizing theseinstructors, that’s a good start.”

Community Programs Director Robin Mays said the instructortraining courses the seven reauthorized instructors can now teachwill help the Red Cross stay involved in the community year-round -not just in times of disaster. She said the organization’s missionwas not just to respond, but also to prepare.

“We need to get our face out there and let people know we’rehere,” Mays said.

Mays has been working to such an end. She said Red Crossofficials have been meeting with local churches and other hurricaneshelter operators to prepare them for hurricane season, andMid-South representatives have responded to several house firesrecently.

Mays is also still working to secure space for a Red Crossoffice in Brookhaven, in which will be housed two part-timeemployees. Employees and an office have already been established inMcComb, where regular office hours will begin next week.

“I lucked up very quickly in McComb, but I just haven’t beenable to get anything nailed down in Brookhaven,” Mays said.

Mays said the Red Cross’ needs in Brookhaven are minimal – spacefor a desk and phone and Internet connections are all that isneeded. She said she would prefer the the organization be able toaccess the office after hours, but she “is not picky.”

Anyone wishing to donate office space in Brookhaven to the RedCross – or become a volunteer – may contact Mays at (601)582-8151.

“We’re coming back,” she said.