Volunteers were recognized for their contributions of time, leadership and expertise.
The featured speaker for the event was Ms. Brandy Sanders, Calhoun County YMCA Aquatics Director, Program Director as well as a Red Cross Certified Lifeguard Instructor. She spoke passionately about the heroic efforts of two very special lifeguards she helped train: Trent Jones and Jonathan Upton.
“These young men were able to rescue and resuscitate an unidentified man while on a Spring break vacation in Florida this year. They retrieved the lifeless man’s body from the bottom of a hotel pool where they were staying and successfully administered Certified Professional Resuscitation (CPR) until paramedics arrived.” said Sanders.
“You never know when you will touch someone’s life and these two young men responded to a critical situation without hesitation utilizing their skills”. Ms. Sanders presented each lifeguard with a certificate of recognition from the American Red Cross “Exceptional Volunteer and Heroism in Saving a Life”.
Ms. Sanders was also recognized as “Outstanding Public Health and Human Services Volunteer of the Year”. American Red Cross Instructor Rusty Kays nominated Sanders for the honor for her exceptional leadership skills.
Other Awards presented at the local level include:
The “Project Share Helping Hand Award” was awarded to the Alagasco Birmingham Customer Call Center for their diligence and quick response working with the Red Cross Calhoun/Cleburne County Project Share Volunteers. Project Share is a program promoted by Alabama Power, Alagasco and other local utility providers to help the elderly and disabled with funding to help pay utility bills. Utility customers can check a box on their bill that donates $1 to help those in need through Project Share. American Red Cross Volunteers Jeannette Riddle and Helen Burns nominated Alagasco for their assistance in taking the initiative to solve processing issues in a timely professional manner.
Mr. Stanley Cobb received the Fire Disaster Volunteer of the Year Award for his service to two counties in responding to home fire victims’ needs day or night over the past three years. His wife Betty Cobb nominated her husband for the award because of his “willingness to enable her to serve and never complaining about the calls that would come in at all hours of the day and night.” She added that he would also be at her side many times so that she would not go our on a call alone.
“Mass Disaster Year Volunteer of the Year Award’ was presented to Mr. Chris Suddeth for his efforts during April 27 tornado event that struck Northern Calhoun County.
Mass Disaster Team Lead Charlie Notar nominated Suddeth for his passion to help provide for the immediate needs of the victims that day and for several days afterward.
The Presidents Award chosen by the outgoing Advisory Board Chair Kirk is given for Extraordinary Service to the Chapter was awarded to Helen Burns, Betty Cobb, Rusty Kays, Bob Mayfield and Jeannette Riddle.
The Chapter’s New Director, Carol Cleghorn also recognized with Certificates of Appreciation two local recipient of awards at the Alabama Region American Red Cross Award Luncheon.
Ms. Carol Kirk, Solutia Community Outreach Coordinator and outgoing Red Cross Board Chair, was awarded the honor of “Red Cross Volunteer of the Year for the Mid-Alabama District” for her extraordinary leadership and volunteer service. The Mid Alabama District includes 25 counties including Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, and Shelby.
Kirk was the Chapter Executive Director for the Red Cross Calhoun/Cleburne Chapter for more than three years when she was offered a community outreach position with Solutia in March 2011. Kirk did not feel right about leaving the Chapter without a director and agreed to take on the volunteer role as Advisory Board Chair. She started her new position just weeks before the devastating April 27, storms. “She worked for United Way for more than 19 years and with the Red Cross for more than 3 years”. Cleghorn stated. She added that “Her leadership experience with volunteers in immeasurable and although Carol switched to the corporate world her passion for this community remained clear as she supported the Chapter during the transitional 2011-12 year”. “Carol is always looking for ways to help our community and she proved it with her never ending devotion during this very tough year” added Cleghorn.
In addition, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama was awarded not only the Alabama Region Red Cross Mid-District Partner of the Year Award but the company received the Region’s highest honor as “The Alabama Region Red Cross Partner of the Year”. In receiving the certificate of appreciation from the Calhoun Cleburne Chapter Advisory Board Member and Honda Plant Operations manager Billy Jones said he was proud to be a part of Honda.
He said his company has contributed not only monetarily but we encourage our employees to volunteer in our community” He added “It is a great honor for Honda to be chosen for this award and we invite other businesses and groups to join us by supporting the many services Red Cross provides to our community and to Alabama.”
As part of the annual meeting, nominees for Advisory Board leadership positions for 2013 were presented by the nominating committee. The Advisory Board unanimously approved the following officers for 2013:
Advisory Board Chair: Ms. Angela Kemp, BB&T Vice President of Commercial Lending
Advisory Board Vice-Chair: Ms. Carol Kirk, Community Outreach
Secretary: Ms. Linda Harvey
The Nominating Committee presented four candidates for the Advisory Board. Current Advisory Board members unanimously approved the following roster of New Advisory Board members:
Ms. Tina Roberts, Attorney, Roberts Law Firm
Ms. Alyson Fuqua, Public Relations community Coordinator, AL Power
Mr. Neal Stephenson, Plant Manager National Gypsum
Dr. Jane Kushma, PHD., Professor, Jacksonville State University
The meeting was closed with comments from incoming 2013 Advisory Board Chair Angela Kemp who challenged the volunteers and supporters “to continue to support the Red Cross because we don’t know when or where the next disaster will occur…. we just know that it will.”