SDN Staff Reports
Leaders for Oktibbeha-Starkville Emergency Response Volunteer Services received an early Christmas gift last week.
The family of the Harrell Josey recently agreed to donate use of the late veterinarian’s former clinic at the intersection of Highway 12 at Jackson Street to the 6-month-old emergency response agency for its use for the foreseeable future.
OSERVS board members and staff members hope to move into the facility over the next few weeks.
“We are most grateful to the Josey family for this generous donation of office space,” said Carol Moss Read, chair of the OSERVS board of directors. “As we work to grow this organization and develop our programs in emergency and disaster response and preparedness training, having a facility like this will be an extreme benefit.”
Having Josey’s former clinic as an office will help increase OSERVS’ visibility in the community, said Amanda Edwards, co-chair of the board of directors.
“This location is in heart of the community and will provide us with visible presence as we launch the programs in emergency training and response,” Edwards said. “We cannot express our gratitude to the Josey family enough for allowing us use of this building.”
Formed in July, OSERVS has already been active in coordinating American Heart Association CPR certification classes and emergency preparedness programs in local schools and day care centers.
OSERVS is formally incorporated with the Secretary of State’s Office and has applied for nonprofit 501(c)3 (tax-exempt) status with the Mississippi Tax Commission.
The agency’s board of directors is working to raise money to be able to support a four-pronged mission:
• To provide training opportunities for the public in disaster preparedness and response, including training for participation in Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), CPR and First Aid, neighborhood/subdivision/school/university preparedness and response and for various volunteer programs.
• To work directly with the Oktibbeha County Emergency Management Agency in disaster response through coordination of volunteer efforts, including CERT activation and deployment, damage assessment handling shelter and feeding operations if called upon and coordinating mass care operations, including fund-raising to support response efforts.
• To provide opportunities for community members to volunteer in emergency and disaster response through programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), Medical Reserve Corps and CERTs.
• To serve as local coordinating agent with Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), helping to ensure effective response when emergency and disaster situations arise.
Some work days to help prepare the Josey clinic as the new OSERVS office will be scheduled in the coming weeks. Anyone interest in volunteering for the work day can contact Executive Director Becky Wilkes by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org  or by phone at (662) 418-8911
For more information about OSERVS or donating to the organization, contact Wilkes via the means listed above or visit the agency’s new website at http://www.oservs.com .
Mail inquiries or financial contributions may be sent to OSERVS, P.O. Box 443, Starkville, MS 39760. All financial contributions are tax-deductible given the pending non-profit status.