JACKSON, Tenn. – May 14, 2003 – The tornado which hit Jackson May 5 caused power outages throughout the city and left dark the offices of the local chapter of the American Red Cross. On May 7, Union University began providing technical assistance and space in the Fred Delay Gymnasium for a temporary disaster relief headquarters.
“Union has bent over backwards to help,” said Eric LaMault, a public affairs officer from the Red Cross. “We are very grateful for all that the school has done to help us and the community.”
Union’s administration offered facilities to the Red Cross as a way of showing thanks for their services, according to Gary Carter, senior vice president for business and financial services. “We have a sense of gratitude for what they do and wanted to help the community anyway we could,” he said.
From the Fred Delay Gym, Red Cross staff and volunteers will coordinate efforts to meet the transportation, health care, counseling, damage assessment and communications needs of those effected by the tornado.
“Our primary responsibility is to make sure that the needs of the victims are met,” said LeMault. “We try to provide everything people need from a bed to sleep on to clothing.”
According to John Venner, a volunteer coordinator, hundreds of volunteers from Madison county and throughout the United States have arrived to aid disaster victims. “We are receiving a lot of local volunteers,” he said. “These are people who want to help their neighbors.”
According to Patrick McCrummen, public affairs specialist, the Red Cross receives all of its services and supplies through the donations of American businesses and individuals. McCrummen said the Red Cross will occupy Union’s gym until they are able to return to their local chapter’s building downtown. Their efforts in Jackson will continue “until the last person is helped,” he said.
If you are interested in volunteering your services to the Jackson area chapter of the American Red Cross, please call 1-800-HELPNOW. If you want more information about what is happening, please call 1-800-GETINFO.
If you are a nurse and are willing to give an hour or two of your time to help, please call 1-800-651-6421.
By Tracie Holden
Class of 2004