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Red Cross chapter sees busy times ahead

March 4, 2011

PARKERSBURG - The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross will continue to provide members of its district community with help and services throughout 2011.

"We had a busy 2010 and 2011 is already turning out to be very busy," said Sharon Kesselring, financial development director for the chapter.

Last year the chapter hired Todd Wines as the new emergency services director for the local chapter.

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Photo by Jolene Craig
The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross continued to work on its Eighth Street facility to provide training and services to volunteers and citizens of its six-county region.

"Todd is probably our biggest change," Kesselring said.

Wines said his first year in the office was busy with the chapter having assisted 102 families with fires.

Kesselring said that number is up but the 2009 numbers were not available.

"This year we saw a lot more families who needed assistance after a disaster and that is probably because of the economy," she said. "People are cutting their homeowners' insurance in order to afford other necessities and that means we have more families that ask for help.

"It has little to do with the number of fires," Kesselring added.

Janet Leasure, service to the armed forces coordinator, said the Services to the Armed Forces program assisted in 130 cases with service members and their families in 2010.

"That number was up because the 1092nd (Engineering Battalion) was deployed," Leasure said.

The program also assisted with six military loans and held nine deployment event as well as services for coping with deployment.

At the end of 2010, Services to the Armed Forces also worked with area school children and other organizations to send more than 5,000 holiday cards for heroes.

As for CPR, Kay Villers, health and safety director for the MOV Red Cross, said the chapter is working on a more cost-effective way of training office workers throughout the region.

"We are training instructors who provide the services to employees, which allows for flexibility on our part and the companies," she said.

In 2009, the chapter finished the final work on the remodeling of its headquarters at 220 Eighth St. in downtown Parkersburg.

After years of fundraising, the chapter announced plans to rebuild on the corner lot of Eighth and Market streets were put on hold and the organization would make the Eighth Street building its permanent home, Kesselring said.

"The focus shifted from the building campaign to chapter financial health to make sure we are able to provide the services we can to the community," Kesselring said.

All of the work including new restrooms, a volunteer center and full kitchen was done by volunteers, especially Mike Kesterson and Jim Blair.

Funding to renovate the building came from the Parkersburg Community Foundation and the money to build the Disaster Relief Kitchen came from the Osteopathic Heritage Fund.

The McDonough Foundation also provided money to pave and landscape the lot on the corner of Eighth and Market streets that was to be the site of the new chapter headquarters.



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