March ends with several

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Red Cross successes


Staff Writer

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March 31, 2001 10 PM

Red Cross Month is over, but the local chapter’s plans and activities are really just beginning.

Since 1943, every United States president has proclaimed March to be Red Cross Month. President Franklin D. Roosevelt started the annual tradition when the nation was in the midst of World War II and used the proclamation as a call to contribute to the Red Cross War Fund.

More than half a century later, Pike County’s Red Cross is working to educate the public and help those in need.

Doors to Pike County’s chapter of the American Red Cross were closed last year, but they are open again to anyone who might need assistance or information on such things as disaster plans and sexually transmitted diseases.

Recently, Jane Thrash came on board as the community development specialist for the local American Red Cross office and has hit the ground running.

Since taking on the position, Thrash has established the four major shelters and six alternate sites that will be opened in the event of a disaster. The first four that will open are Salem Baptist Church, Brundidge United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church of Troy and Park Memorial United Methodist Church.

Thrash said Bush Memorial will be where those needing medical care will be sent if Edge Regional Medical Center cannot handle them.

"The food vendors are ready in Brundidge and Troy and we have vendors to take care of pets during an evacuation," Thrash said.

Last month, Thrash found herself busy, but took time to recognize the efforts of Ralph Fowee, who ran the local chapter before retiring last year.

And, anyone who has rolled up a sleeve, knows the Red Cross conducts blood drives to replenish blood supplies in hospitals and blood banks.

The American Red Cross also offers instruction in first aid, cardio pulmonary resuscitation and lifeguard courses. The Red Cross also has information on such things as AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, tornado and hurricane safety and tips on fire safety. Thrash is more than willing to present a program to any organization.

"We want the public to be aware," Thrash said of what the Red Cross offers.

Thrash can also offer help in locating military personnel in the event of a family death or illness.

Now, Thrash is working on a fund-raising campaign.

"It doesn’t take long for a family of five to deplete the disaster funds," Thrash said of those who might need help after such situations as a fire.

Pike County’s American Red Cross chapter was chartered in October 1917 when Woodrow Wilson was president. It was dissolved in August 2000 and recently re-opened under the umbrella of the ARC of Central Alabama.

The local office is open from 8 a.m. until noon every week day. It is located at 404 East Walnut Street where the Southeast Alabama Gas District’s temporary office was while the new office was being constructed.

Anyone interested in volunteering with the American Red Cross or in need of information or assistance, can call Thrash at 566-0632 or at home, (334) 735-2004.