The American Red Cross of Augusta spent its annual meeting honoring volunteers, electing new officers and reflecting on its 86th year serving the community.
"The heart and soul of the Red Cross organization is its volunteers. Without them, we would have a very difficult time," said Jim Whitehead, the organization's new board chairman, at the Aug. 21 meeting at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel. The meeting marked the 10th anniversary of the merger of the Richmond and Columbia county Red Cross organizations.
Chris Handy, a freshman at South Carolina State University, received the youth volunteer award. The last recipient of the award was Linda Johnson in 1995.
Mr. Handy contributed more than 1,000 hours of service in four years to the Red Cross. He was the 2003 Georgia Youth Volunteer of the Year and received a national volunteer award for the Southeast and Southwest regions.
"He is sensitive, energetic and creative - a role model of character," said Mary Donna Beman, volunteer chairwoman.
Mary Lou Reynolds (from left); American Red Cross of Augusta executive director Birnie Florie; Anne Trotter, outgoing board chairwoman; and Nancy Hussey attended the organization's recent awards banquet.
Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett
Mr. Handy also received the Carolyn S. Maund scholarship.
Also, the Red Cross gave its highest award - the Mary Lou Reynolds Award - to Nancy Hussey, a former board chairwoman who has volunteered on several committees, including the executive committee and the search committee to find a new executive director when Carolyn Maund retired in March after 20 years.
Other volunteers singled out for their contributions were Jonathan Fisher, Robert Thoresen and Milledge Williams.
Howard Willis, Richmond County Emergency Management Agency director and chief of Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department Special Operations, praised the Red Cross and its volunteers.
In instances of fires which left people with nowhere to stay, "who was the first one out there? The Red Cross," he said. "You can pick up the phone when you need assistance and they are there."
During the year, the Red Cross helped 300 people affected by 124 single family fires. The Red Cross trained more than 400 people in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automatic external defibrillators machines.
Red Cross personnel also assisted in nearly 1,200 Armed Forces Emergency Services cases.
Buddy Lockhart, who works with a family assistance center of the Georgia National Guard, saw firsthand the work of the Red Cross and the nation's soldiers.
Because of the Red Cross, a man was able to get home 24 hours before the death of his father, and another man was able to visit his twin brother, who had been struck by lightning.
"No one could get him to respond until his brother touched his hand," he said.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at (803) 441-6927 or email@example.com.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.