People who worked for the American Red Cross when Oktibbeha County had its own chapter may get back their old building located on Felix Long Drive
The board also unanimously approved a request to a state attorney general’s opinion on whether they can donate the current property housed by the new Red Cross “branch” to the Oktibbeha-Starkville Emergency Response Volunteer Services (OSERVS).
“We just want to make sure the board is covered (legally),” said Board Attorney Jack Brown.
When the higher-ups of Red Cross informed local volunteers in June that the organization may be leaving the county, they assumed they were also leaving the building.
“They changed their minds and decided to stay,” said Becky Wilkes, who formerly served as director of the chapter.
OSERVS has been incorporated with the Secretary of State’s Office, has a board of directors and executive committee and has applied for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization. The group has also identified its mission to coordinate and develop programs that support the mission of the Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Agency.
Without a permanent place, OSERVS has been offering CPR classes at various locations throughout the city.
The classes are taught through the American Heart Association and are among many health and safety courses OSERVS will be working to offer as the organization develops. The CPR certification lasts for two years.
Working with Emergency Management Director Jim Britt, OSERVS volunteers are also developing programs to train local disaster response volunteers in a variety of tasks and raising money to be able to respond effectively to a large-scale disaster in the community.
Wilkes said that all but but two board members of the former Red Cross chapter have switched their services to OSERVS — one whose term rotated off and the other who began serving the new Red Cross “branch.”
“We’ve been receiving donations,” Wilkes said of OSERVS’ current mailing address, P.O. Box 443, Starkville, MS, 39760.
“The city and the county have been very supportive.”
The organization’s first big fundraiser will involve an Oct. 16 pancake breakfast at Applebee’s where Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, the Board of Aldermen and the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors will serve as waiters.
The pancake breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m.