Red Cross volunteers honored

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Volunteers ranging from age 7 to 89 were honored at the annual American Red Cross Chickasawba District Chapter annual banquet Thursday evening at the Mississippi County Library in Blytheville.

Mississippi County Judge Steve McGuire was the guest speaker for the banquet.

"I am very proud of your Red Cross chapter and of all the hard work you do," McGuire said. "You now serve the whole county, doing a job that once took three organizations to do. There was once a North Mississippi County chapter, a South Mississippi County chapter, and a West of Big Lake chapter. There used to be 70 chapters in the state of Arkansas and now there are 13."

"You have always done whatever is demanded of you, and beyond," McGuire said. "You are an exceptional group of volunteers, and worthy to be honored tonight."

Chapter Manager, Pam Knapp-Carver praised the 85 years of work being done by volunteers from 1917-2003 and reviewed the past year's accomplishments.

"Our service delivery report shows that we assisted 124 individuals during single family fires, three individuals during a multi-family fire, and 27 individuals during a single family disaster - a tornado," Knapp-Carver said. "Our records show that 90 armed forces emergency services cases were worked, as well as 305 individuals assisted through FEMA, 472 individuals assisted through Project Deserve, and eight individuals helped with financial assistance.

"Our volunteers are very busy, and you can bet where there is a need, there is a Red Cross volunteer to fill that need."

The Red Cross provides training in community first aid and safety, CPR classes, water safety, lifeguarding, and swimming lessons.

"The largest fundraiser we have ever had was the Hero Campaign, where $18,761.27 was raised for the chapter's single family fire victims," Knapp-Carver said. "Rose Mary Polston of Manila served as the chairman for that event."

Knapp-Carver awarded special certificates of recognition, pins and plaques. Eighty volunteers were recognized for their contributions, listing service from one year to 50 years. Huddy Cohen received the 50 year certificate.

The Northeast Arkansas Town Crier was one of 20 groups and businesses receiving the Good Neighbor Award.

Rose Mary Polston, Clarence Wayne Guthrie and Violet Kelley received Exceptional Volunteer plaques.

Petra Baugh was presented with the Volunteer of the Year plaque, for exceptional service.

Ron Caldwell gave the nominating committee report. Board of directors for 2002-2003 were: Chairman Mark Terry; Vice Chairman Laura Martin; Secretary Suzanne Carver; Treasurer Martha Grant; members, Ron Caldwell, Carol Ann Hinson, Virginia McClure, Mitzi Patterson, Dr. Helen Nunn, Cherry Sue Holstead, Donna McFadden, Rose Mary Polston, Ruth Gaines, Ben Hubbard, and Mark Moseley. Lifetime members are Jessie Coalter, Hulda "Huddy" Cohen, Frank Anderson, and Dot Stone.

Newly elected additions to the 2003-2004 board of directors include Jan Gurley, Karen Wallace, and Shelly Crosskno. Outgoing members are Martha Grant, Carol Hinson, Ruth Gaines, and Ben Hubbard.

A special memorial was given for three deceased members, Betty Hay, Donna Mahan, and Carol Guthrie.

Banquet guests enjoyed a barbecue meal and cut the 85th anniversary decorated commemorative cake for dessert.

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