TUPELO MAN'S DONATION WILL HELP RED CROSS EXPAND
By Eileen Bailey
The local chapter of the American Red Cross is long on community support in crisis situations but short on space.
But thanks to a donation from a retired Tupelo man, the Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross is about to expand.
Currently, the Red Cross is operating in 400 square feet of space in the McLean Center on Main Street. This small space does not allow for any storage of equipment and safety supplies, such as cots, first aid kits and other materials.
"We are jammed pack," Director Leslie Posey said.
S.A. "Junior" Hancock's donation of land in west Tupelo will allow the Red Cross to construct a building to provide space for offices, classrooms and storage.
The donation was announced Thursday night at the organization's annual meeting when Hancock was presented an award for his contribution to the Red Cross.
Hancock, 70, said he supports the Red Cross and its volunteers. It was one of those volunteers, Clyde Whitaker, who approached him about the property, he said.
"They (the Red Cross) help a lot of people who can't help themselves," Hancock said. "I feel like they will have the best location in town."
The new location is on Westside Drive near the intersection of Coley Road and West Main Street. The lot is 150 feet wide by 186 feet long.
Posey said an environmental site assessment has been conducted and a committee of Red Cross Board members has been appointed to research the design and cost of constructing a building on the property.
"I am very excited about this," Posey said. "Our chapter is growing by leaps and bounds."
Storage and additional classroom space are the biggest reasons for the chapter seeking its own building, she said. The Red Cross offers numerous courses in the area of health and safety, including First Aid, CPR, babysitting and water safety.
Posey said the chapter will have a capital campaign to raise funds for the construction of the building, which the Red Cross hopes to have built and open within a year.
In addition to health and safety services, the Red Cross assists military personnel in crisis situations and provides emergency care during disaster situations.
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Also at the meeting, Volunteer William Deas of Shannon was awarded a Certificate of Merit, the highest national awarded given by the American Red Cross.
The award, signed by President Clinton, is given to an individual not in the line of duty for an extraordinary act in order to save or sustain a life as a direct result of American Red Cross training.
Deas received the award for his efforts in assisting a victim of an automobile accident.