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Gannus named Red Cross Volunteer of the Year Print E-mail

Johnnie Gannus, Bamberg Red Cross Chaplain, was named the Red Cross Volunteer of the Year at the Red Cross annual business meeting June 23. “Johnnie has been a long-time, dedicated volunteer of the Bamberg Red Cross,” Bamberg Red Cross Coordinator Harvey Kling said Thursday. “Johnnie’s efforts in the Red Cross follows his principle, ‘Let’s teach our children real Christian values.’”

“My jaw almost dropped to the floor when Harvey (Kling) announced it,” Mr. Gannus said following the executive meeting. “I so deeply appreciate the honor,” he said.

Joey Hutto of the Aiken Red Cross reported that the Aiken Chapter “is doing well.” He said that the Aiken Chapter raised over $160,000 for the 5- county area (which includes Bamberg County). He said that “about 2,000 individuals were certified this year in Red Cross first aid and life-saving courses.

The Aiken Red Cross (that included the Bamberg County Red Cross) responded to 136 military assistance calls during the fiscal year, Hutto said. He explained that the system for military assistance has changed by centralizing calls for assistance. Now, to ask for military assistance, one can call a central number, 877.272.7337, for assistance and the call will then be relayed to the appropriate Red Cross chapter for follow up. “Because the system is new,” he said, “you may have about a five minute wait, but the system is working well.”

While providing service to 1.4 million active duty military personnel and their families, the Red Cross also reaches out to more than 1.2 million members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families living in nearly every community in America.

“The Junior Red Cross in both schools are doing a fantastic job,” Kling noted. Denmark-Olar High School has forty-one active members in the Jr. Red Cross sponsored by teacher Emma Dowling. Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School’s Jr. Red Cross, sponsored by Constance Ferguson, now has 31 active members. “This is spectacular!” Kling commented. “We have two really good advisors in these clubs.” “We have very hard working young people,” Ferguson said of the jr. Red Cross members.

“We will be having our annual Christmas in July Toys for Tots and Teens in July and August,” Kling announced. Christmas in July is an annual toys collection of the area churches to lead off the annual toys drive in Bamberg County.

“The Aiken chapter of the Red Cross has been named ‘the best chapter in the nation’”, said Aiken Red Cross Executive Director Lindsey Findley. “We have two programs, the ‘Claire Barton Society with 30 member families and the Tiffany Circle, women who take leadership roles in the Red Cross. There are currently two members in the Aiken region who are members of the Circle. Dr. John Ross recently donated $2,000 to the Claire Barton Society.

Joey Hutto reported that the Aiken region responded to 51 structure fires this year. Bamberg County assisted one family with 3 members on memorial Day and another family of six, said Paul Sandifer, coordinator of disaster relief for Bamberg County. “Responding to the needs of these families is to rebuild their lives,” Hutto said. “Many families are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs after such disasters.”

Denise Elkins, Red Cross coordinator for blood donations, said that the next area blood drive will be held at the First Baptist Church in Bamberg June 28. “The Bamberg high schools and the Bamberg Job Corps Center have been ‘top notch’ organizers for blood drives in the area,” she said. Other blood drives for the remainder of the year will be announced in the local news papers. The Red Cross has noted a “severe shortage of type O-negative blood” saying that 500 units of blood are needed for each weekday in order to provide need services in the country. Type O negative blood, often called the “universal blood,” can be used for transfusions in emergency and other situations for all patients, regardless of their blood type.

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