By Riley Manning
TUPELO – The Northeast Mississippi branch of the Red Cross held its annual meeting Thursday night, recognizing leaders, donors and volunteers for the previous fiscal year.
The annual meeting, held at the Summit Center, provides the Red Cross with an opportunity to present its progress to the community.
Patty Tucker, executive director for the Northeast Mississippi Charter, said the past year has been a successful one.
“We couldn’t do what we do without our donors and volunteers,” she said.
Tucker’s district covers 16 counties in Northeast Mississippi, and she said she has around 200 enrolled volunteers.
In the past year, the Northeast Mississippi Red Cross has assisted in 276 house fires, and spent more than $200,000 in aid to the families affected.
Additionally, the Red Cross provided emergency communication for 413 military families, and received more than $400,000 in donations.
Though the organization trained more than 1,000 volunteers in CPR and first-aid techniques, Tucker said her focus for the current year is to adopt a preemptive approach to training volunteers.
“We’re really going to work on recruiting more volunteers and having them trained before they’re deployed to disaster sites,” she said.
In addition to honoring donors, the Red Cross recognized volunteer Sandra White with their highest honor, volunteer of the year.
White was deployed to give aid following 2012’s Hurricane Isaac, which claimed nine lives in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. She also assisted recovery efforts in the aftermath of Category 3 Hurricane Sandy, which is recognized as the most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.