Local Red Cross forms

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More volunteers still needed

By Calen McKinney


Found: many good volunteers.

A local man's plea for help in starting a local Red Cross disaster response team has been heard.

Michael K. Humphress said about 20 people have responded to his effort to start such a team. And, on Saturday, several of the volunteers underwent training on their way to becoming certified team members.

Humphress and Greensburg resident Bill Hargan, who leads a Red Cross team in Green County, spoke to city and county officials last month about the importance of a team. After word of their request spread via local media, Humphress said, he began receiving phone calls - many of them.

"I thought it was pretty good," he said.

Humphress, who has agreed to be the team leader, said the first person who called said she has lived in Campbellsville for nine years and this is the first she has heard about a Red Cross team in Taylor County.

Humphress said he has received calls from nurses, bankers, those who work for communication companies and many more who want to help.

"So I'm getting young people, I'm getting older people," he said. "It's just people with big hearts that want to help people.

"It's those kind of people that make me want to be involved."

One woman who is volunteering, Humphress said, wanted to get involved after seeing the Red Cross help a friend.

"She said she seen what Red Cross could do for the family and she wanted to give back," Humphress said.

Though there are now enough volunteers to form a local Red Cross team, Humphress said more are always welcome. The Red Cross is always happy to train people to help others, he said.

"They don't turn down anybody."

Hargan and Mike Crenshaw of the Red Cross chapter in Louisville taught the class on Saturday and told the volunteers how they should respond to disaster incidents.

After the volunteers pass a background check, Humphress said, the group will be ready to respond should they be needed. He expects that to be complete by the end of the month.

Humphress said local emergency service officials have been notified about the Red Cross team and know whom to call should they be needed.

Also covered on Saturday was how to get emergency equipment in Campbellsville and how to recruit volunteers.

"But I think we've done pretty good so far," Humphress said.

The group also learned about setting up staging areas in a disaster, volunteering at blood drives and how to stay safe. Future classes will address first responder duties, CPR and basic first aid.

Once the Red Cross team becomes active, team members will respond to natural disasters, any incident that involves residents being evacuated, some house fires and other severe storms.

Members won't have pagers or radios, but Humphress said they will stay in contact with each other often and have protocols for which members of the group will respond to certain situations.

"When you have a disaster, you're gonna be glad when anybody shows up," he said.

Humphress said there was an effort to create a Red Cross team about four years ago, but it didn't come to fruition. He and local officials are glad to see the effort really happening this time.

"They're all excited," he said. "We never got this far. We've never gotten to the point where we've had a class."

Amber Youngblood, senior director of communications with the American Red Cross Kentuckiana Region, said the area has more than 2,000 volunteers, but more are always welcome.

"Volunteers in Taylor County will be able to help respond to disasters that may take place locally, in a neighboring county, or if they have interest, can get ongoing and additional experience and training by responding on large disaster relief operations anywhere across the country," she said. "Having a local team in Taylor County ensures we have Red Cross teams trained and ready to respond."

Youngblood said having a team in Taylor County will be beneficial.

"Having a local team who knows the community has helped build partnerships within that community, makes the team very valuable to the Red Cross and the community it serves."

Until the Taylor County team gets up and running, Humphress said he will work with Hargan and his team in Green County.

"We want the people of Taylor County to know there's a team here to help," Humphress said. "If there's a disaster, Red Cross Taylor County's gonna take care of it."

To become a Red Cross volunteer, call Humphress at (270) 789-9231.


Red Cross Month

In honor March being Red Cross Month, officials are recognizing those who donate blood or volunteer to serve on Red Cross disaster teams.

According to an American Red Cross news release, the organization has been helping patients since World War II and today partners with about 2,700 blood transfusion centers and hospitals throughout the United States.

A nonprofit organization, the Red Cross provides food, shelter and emotional support to victims of disaster, supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply, provides international aid and supports military members.

For more information, visit www.redcross.org.