Zemek steps down from Red Cross post

The director of the Union County location of the American Red Cross, Sally Zemek, has put in her resignation that will be effective Friday, September 24, 2010. 

Zemek has been the director of the Union County Red Cross for five years and has helped countless families, along with other Union County volunteers, through emergencies and other emergency-related situations.

According to Patty Tucker, executive director of the Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross, “People in Union County will still be covered just as they always have, but they will be covered out of the Tupelo office.”

There is no answer as of yet as to what will happen with the Union County location and whether or not Zemek will be replaced. Residents can still call 534-5023 until September 24th.

Zemek has remained willing and able to help Union County residents amidst the changing of the Union County Red Cross being changed from a chapter to a location, a decision that was handed down from American Red Cross authorities in June. That decision was based on the need for restructuring of the American Red Cross organization.

Also, at the end of June, Zemek originally received a call that said that the Red Cross chapter would be closing and she would be out of a job as of June 30th. The Red Cross reversed that decision a few days later and decided to not let Zemek go, but keep the Union County office open as a location and not a chapter.

The Union County Red Cross chapter had been in existence for ninety-three years, but that chapter, along with twelve other chapters, were forced to close their doors in June and either become a location only or merge with another location in another city or county. 

Zemek did not give specific reasons for her resignation with the American Red Cross, but said that another non-profit Union County organization called Lighthouse Enrichment Center had approached her about becoming a director of that organization.

The primary mission of Lighthouse is to provide home repair for elderly and disabled homeowners in Union County who live at or near poverty level. Assistance is also provided to the working poor. Lighthouse raises the money to buy materials and use volunteers to do the majority of the labor.

Zemek has been the director of the Union County Good Samaritan Center for five years, which is another non-profit organization that helps needy families get much needed food from the county’s food pantry. As of the end of the month, she will be working part-time as director for both organizations.

“I still believe in the Red Cross mission; they are the only organization that does what they do. I hope that residents from Union County will come forward and volunteer with the Red Cross because volunteerism is important to the community,” said Zemek.

 For more information, contact the Tupelo chapter at (662) 842-6101.