On Thursday, the Scotland County Chapter of the American Red Cross recognized the volunteers who supported its mission in 2011.
Some 70 people attended the chapter’s annual meeting at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church. Ravonda John, the chapter’s board vice-chair, briefed the meeting on the chapter’s performance in 2011 and 2012 with Executive Director Carol Ann Lentz.
During the 2011 fiscal year, the chapter, which serves Scotland and Robeson counties, responded to 132 local disasters and trained 72 individuals in disaster and preparedness courses.
More than 3,600 people were trained in skills such as CPR and first aid, and blood drives supported by the chapter collected more than 4,100 units of blood from more than 1,200 donors, John said.
“That is a wonderful milestone for 2011 and we as a chapter and you as volunteers contributed,” said John. “You should be proud of the accomplishments that took place in 2011.”
Lentz reported that 2012 looks to be an even more successful year for the Red Cross. Through this May, 96 blood drives sponsored by the chapter have collected 3,800 units of blood. Although they are organized in Wilmington, much of the hands-on work associated with blood drives is performed by local Red Cross chapters.
“Blood drives are coordinated out of another office - our chapter supports these drives with our volunteers, canteens, and promoting them throughout the county,” Lentz said. In the last 11 months, Lentz said that response to local disasters has assisted 328 people, providing 3,041 nights of lodging for those displaced by disaster.
So far this year, the Scotland County American Red Cross chapter has assisted at one emergency somewhat outside of their usual scope. On March 8 and March 13, a recurring fire at the Laurinburg Nature’s Earth Plant demanded the attention of many of the fire departments in Scotland County.
“There’s not a week that goes by that we don’t respond to a single-family fire, but this was a business,” Lentz said. “We had our first responders to go out and they needed us to help them, so we were there. We were able to provide them with drinks and food, as they were out there for quite some period of time - if you climb 100 feet into the air trying to put out a fire, you’re going to get hungry, you’re going to get tired, and we needed to support the first responders.”
Lentz also commended the community for its support of its Red Cross chapter, providing nearly $200,000 in support this year from various sources: $58,000 in donations, $100,000 between the United Way of both Scotland and Robeson counties, and $30,000 from fundraising events. The chapter’s 16th annual celebrity dinner, held in March, raised over $27,000.
The chapter also nominated new members to its board of directors, appointing Blake Caldwell, Jay Todd, Jeff Mercer, Jim Whitley, Sheila VanDyke, and Theresa Alexander to their first three-year term. Christopher Gardner was appointed to a second term and Candy Nichols and Roylin Hammond to a third.
John was also appointed board chair for the 2013 fiscal year, replacing Norman Mathes. Johnny Robertson will step up to take her place as vice-chair, with Christopher Gardner taking the post of secretary.
Volunteers and sponsors were also awarded for outstanding service to the chapter in the last year.
Dinah Veler was recognized as the 2012 Volunteer of the Year. Emergency Services Director Pat Smartt spoke of Veler’s resourcefulness in her deployment to Wilson to assist those affected by Hurricane Irene.
“Dinah is a powerhouse - she can do anything,” Smartt said. “When they showed up to a Baptist church in Wilson, there was not much set up there and they really didn’t know how they were going to feed the people, but it all kind of worked out. She made it happen.” Robeson County volunteer Robert Bean was presented with both the E.L. Whiting and Chairman’s Awards.
Chantress McNeill was this year’s recipient of the Gracie Award, given to the volunteer with the most hours donated.
East Laurinburg Church of God was awarded the Lottie Carpenter Award for the Scotland County sponsor to reach the highest percentage of their goal contribution. Wal-Mart of Lumberton was awarded the Robeson County equivalent Ann Moss Biggs Award.
Scotland County’s Pat Williams and Robeson County’s Laura Cromartie were presented with Biomedical Volunteer Awards for customer service to donors and sponsors.
Other volunteer awards presented were the Health and Safety Award to Toni Leak, the Service to Armed Forces Award to Terry Graves, the Philanthropy Award to John Ridge, the Disaster Preparedness and Response Volunteer Award to Scotland County volunteer Lee Gaunt and Robeson County volunteer Ray Oxendine, and the Martha Gibson Youth Volunteer Award to Andrew Tietjen, president of the Scotland High School Red Cross Club.