West Alabama Red Cross appeals to Greene County Commission for funds

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2005

EUTAW-The West Alabama Chapter of the American Red Cross has helped many people in their years of service. However, this help has become expensive.

Bob Burns, a member of the Board of Directors for the West Alabama Chapter of the American Red Cross, said additional funding was needed for the Red Cross to be an effective helper for the people of Greene County. Burns said they had helped people in Greene County as often as they could, however, a lack of funding had made this more difficult than in years past.

Burns asked the commission to consider helping their organization with funding whenever they approved their next budget.

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“We would like to request your financial support for the West Alabama Chapter,” Burns said. “Our service area consists of seven counties including Greene. We have an annual budget better than $500,000 which is really very small for a seven county area.”

The West Alabama Red Cross is understaffed and under funded prompting Burns to ask for help from the counties they serve.

“We have a staff of five full time employees and a lot of volunteers,” Burns said. “We are a very small organization and our source of funding in the past has been strictly derived from Tuscaloosa County. That is why we are here today.”

Burns said in the past few months the Red Cross has been forced to spend outside their means. Burns said they were to the point of dipping into emergency funds, which could cause some problems.

“Over the past three months we have had a shortfall of as much as $6,500 to $8,500 per month,” Burns said. “We are having to use our reserve funds and those funds will only go so far. When they are gone we will be in trouble.”

For each county they represent the Red Cross has to pay an assessment to the national Red Cross. In 2005 the Red Cross paid $6,627 for Greene County alone.

Burns said during the fiscal year 2005 Greene County had five fires. The Red Cross helped out 25 people at a cost of $3,376. Burns also said during Hurricane Ivan there were nine cases served and 32 people helped at a cost of $2,800.

Greene County Commission Chairman Chip Beeker said they would like to help the Red Cross out if they could.

“We will certainly look at this as we prepare our budget,” Beeker said. “We appreciate all you do for us.”

Greene County Sheriff Johnny Isaac also asked the Commission to remember one if his deputies who had been called to active service and will soon be deployed.

“We would like to ask you to remember Jimmy Bennison,” Isaac said. “He was called up to active duty and will be deployed to Afghanistan. We would just like to ask you to remember him and his family in your prayers.”