GFD teams up with Red Cross

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2005

The Greenville Fire Department and the American Red Cross are teaming up to help raise funds for disasters here in Butler County.

According to Greenville Fire Chief Mike Phillips, the firefighters will be out in force in the Wal-Mart parking lot on June 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. asking people to "Fill their helmet."

"They approached us about helping with raising funds that would benefit the people of Butler County," he said.

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"These funds will be for Butler County and will provide food and housing for families who have had their homes damaged or destroyed due to fire or a disaster."

Phillips said they'd have the fire engines out that day along with many of the firefighters.

Jane Thrash, community development specialist for the area's Red Cross needs, said it is important to understand the funds stay here to help local people.

"The funds we raise will stay in Butler County to help in disasters," she said.

"We learned after Hurricane Ivan and especially after the recent tornado in Chapman, that it was important that we conduct a fundraiser over here."

She said the firefighters will be out in front of the store and will be holding out their hats for donations.

The more people who come out on Sunday, the more money they'll raise, Thrash said.

She said this is just a step towards being better prepared for local disasters.

"We never know what is going to happen," she said.

"We have to be prepared for what's coming with disasters. The money we raise will be used for the Butler County area.

It will never leave the county and will be spent with Butler County businesses."

She said the Red Cross has already signed vendor agreements with area merchants so that people who bring in dispersing orders can get food, clothing and supplies.

"We actually don't give out money, but use vouchers," she said.

"We then pay the local vendors for the goods and services. That way we keep a better accounting of the money and protect the dollars."

She said the Chapman storm was a good example of why people must be prepared.

"I got a call that morning from Georgiana saying there was damage in town," she said.

"I was only my way to Georgiana and happened up on the damage in Chapman and I never made it to Georgiana that day."

She said she quickly ascertained that the storm had done more damage in Chapman than in Georgiana.

"We were there within minutes of the disaster," she said. "I worked out of my car until other volunteers could get there from Montgomery as well as the Urban Response Vehicle. These funds will be used to help stock an URV, for use here."

She said the time Sunday will also be used to recruit volunteers from Butler County.

"We need people here who know their way around Butler County," she said.

"We need church leaders who will step forward and volunteer their churches to be used as shelters throughout the county so that we can better respond to disasters in Butler County."