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Red Cross loses staff

The local American Red Cross chapter is among those being affected by the organization’s plan to consolidate 18 into six and adopt new names for them. The changes are to be effective today.
The reorganization means there will be no paid Red Cross personnel working in the local chapter, but state officials say locals will still receive emergency services when needed.
As part of a national restructuring initiative, the local chapter, which was once the Escambia County Chapter and more recently the South Central Alabama Chapter, will merge with seven other counties to become known as the South Alabama Chapter. Those counties include Choctaw, Washington, Mobile, Baldwin, Clarke, Monroe, Covington, Butler, Conecuh and Crenshaw counties.
Mike Brown, executive director of the South Alabama Chapter, which is based out of Mobile, said the change will not close the local office.
However, volunteers, rather than an executive director, will now staff it.
Brown said Alabama’s Red Cross will continue to provide statewide disaster response, health and safety courses, and emergency communications for the military through a model which will enable us to meet the growing demand for our services will making the very best use of the donated dollar.
“By consolidating chapters and involving more of our volunteer leadership we will reduce operating expenses and have added resources to direct to the people and communities we serve,” he said.
“Our goal is to reach even more our neighbors, more efficiently, with vital Red Cross services,” he said. “Plans are in place for servicing all counties with a dedicated Red Cross chapter and we will be working closely with local boards to ensure a smooth transition to the new structure today.”
Mark Beddingfield, Regional CEO of the Alabama Red Cross, said, “We want to assure communities in North Alabama that, despite structural changes, they can still depend on local volunteers and paid staff to be there when needed. In the end our goal is to provide an even higher level of service to our friends and neighbors who are impacted by disasters.”
In terms of future donations, funds that are designated for Escambia County will stay in the area.
“Ultimately, our goal is to provide an even higher level of service to our friends and neighbors who are impacted by disasters and other emergencies,” Beddinfield said.