By JB Clark
TUPELO – The Red Cross Northeast Mississippi chapter named Guntown’s Joe Lukas this year’s outstanding volunteer and the CREATE Foundation this year’s community partner of the year at its annual meeting.
Lukas was given the award for his weekly dedication to the chapter.
“He comes in two or three times a week, deployed to several national disasters and worked on local disasters like the April 28 tornado,” said the chapter’s executive director, Patty Tucker. “He was instrumental in getting our shelter up and running. We can always depend on him.”
Tucker said the CREATE Foundation was recognized because of its immediate fundraising efforts following the April 28 tornado.
“We appreciate their initiative and that they dispersed the money to so many organizations that provided services and continue to provide services to the community,” she said.
The Northeast Mississippi Red Cross received more than $600,000 from United Way, individual giving, corporations, local governments and in-kind gifts in the chapter’s 16-county footprint during the 2014 fiscal year.
“The 2014 fiscal year was an outstanding year because of the support we received from the community,” Tucker said. “We just received a tremendous amount of support financially and through community partners as a whole. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.”
During the same period, the chapter responded to 252 single-and multi-family fires, assisting 600 families and households with clothing, food, household items and shelter.
During the recent tornado, the chapter served more than 3,000 meals, distributed more than 2,000 relief items (like hygiene kits, work gloves and shovels) and provided more than 2,000 health consultations while deploying at least 100 volunteers.
The chapter also trained 990 people in health and safety classes and assisted 217 local military members and their loved ones.
The chapter’s advisory board officers were also elected for the new fiscal year and are:
Chairman – Henry Cobb of Union County.
Vice Chairman – Buddy Collins of Itawamba County.
Treasurer – Colt Doom of Union County.
Secretary – Rosland Jackson of Lee County.