Red Cross honors volunteers

TUPELO – The Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross has had a pretty good year so far, despite the recession.
Executive Director Patty Tucker delivered the Red Cross annual report to board members and the community Thursday at the Tupelo Furniture Market.
“Even though we are in an economic downturn and the donations we usually receive have decreased, we have still had a great year as an organization,” said Tucker. “We raised more than $100,000 to send to Haiti for the earthquake relief. People here still have giving hearts and it shows.”
The Northeast Mississippi chapter has more than 637 volunteers and Tucker said the Red Cross couldn’t operate without them.
“These volunteers makes it possible for Red Cross to work,” said Tucker. “They dedicate their time and effort to helping those in need. It’s truly a labor of love.”
Marty and Debbie Williams of Booneville got to see firsthand on Jan. 8 how the Red Cross comes to rescue those in need. On that cold winter morning their home burned down and the Red Cross was there to help them put their lives back together.
“I didn’t know much about the Red Cross when it happened,” said Debbie. “But people told me to call them. I thought they were for helping people who’d gone through floods, earthquakes and other disasters. But they came right in and helped us. I don’t know where we’d be without their help.”
Like every year during the annual report meeting, several community volunteers were recognized. For their Fish and Fixings Fundraiser, J.B.H.M. Architects was given the Community Partner Award. Pam Mauldin was given the Health and Safety Program Award, Mike and Pat Thorn were given the Disaster Service Award and the newly formed Clara Barton Volunteer Achievement Award was given to longtime volunteer Nancy Howarth.
The biggest award of the night, the 2010 Volunteer of the Year Award, was given to James Threadgill. Threadgill is the volunteer coordinator in Alcorn County. A former Army medic, Threadgood said he saw the Red Cross help a lot of soldiers while he was in Iraq and that’s what made him want to volunteer.
“I knew I wanted to be a part of this wonderful organization,” said Threadgill. “They did so much for the soldiers and people around us that I just wanted to get home and help out any way I could. It is truly an honor to have received this award for doing something I love doing.”

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal