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2013 No. 18

May 2, 2013

FREE

Red Alert

Local chapter of Red Cross responds to the flood crisis By Sean Cameron Herald Reporter “Getting help into the hands of people as quickly as possible is the priority of the Red Cross in times of disaster,� said Mitch Figert, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of North Central Indiana. “That is what drives our volunteers.� Over 70 of those volunteers – from all over Indiana – have been in residence helping with the relief effort. In addition, others from around the country, including a volunteer all the way from California have been working to see those affected receive the resources they need. “These people are dedicated, they are knowledgeable, and they are experienced,� Figert said. “Many of them were involved in relief efforts for (Hurricane) Sandy, as well as those along the Gulf Coast. There is not a more seasoned group of volunteers. “Bob Hewitt, our volunteer from California was here within 24 hours,� said Figert. “He specializes in disaster service technologies and by the end of his first day had set up 20 laptops and scores of cell phones so our other volunteers could do their jobs.� While the Red Cross relief team was mobilized almost immediately, there was a slight lag before all services could be initiated.

Bark For Life will begin 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 4th, at Jackson Morrow Park. (Photo provided)

Bark for Life • Relay for Life event digs up cancer cure.

Red Cross volunteers hard at work making sure flood victims receive the resources they need including, food, shelter and medicine. They are two of over 70 Red Cross volunteers who have turned the United Way building into a flood assistance crisis center. (Herald photo)

“Our volunteers were in place very quickly,� Figert noted. “But the warehouses had to be filled before we could begin. It would have done little good to send people to get supplies which hadn’t arrived yet.� The role of the American Red Cross is to provide for immediate needs in the areas of food, shelter, and medicine. Figert described the local chapter’s

efforts to fulfill this role. “Through our efforts in conjunction with Urban Outreach, mobile feeding trucks have been out in affected neighborhoods from the earliest part of the crisis,� Figert said. “We moved our emergency shelter from the United Way building to Memorial Gym to accommodate more people and to be closer to the areas hardest hit by the flood.

“From a medical standpoint, we’ve provided breathing machines, nebulizers, prescriptions – whatever the specific needs have been. Additionally, we’ve made mental health workers available to people,� he added. Figert acknowledged that in some circumstances individuals and families have had a See Red

Cross on Page 8

CAM celebrates two decades of service

Inside

By Sean Cameron Herald reporter How many lives can be touched in twenty years? For the Reverend Ruth Lawson, the answer is always, not enough. As Executive Director of Coordinated Assistance Ministries, Inc. (CAM), Reverend Ruth, as everyone calls her, has been serving families in need throughout Kokomo for two decades. On May 1, CAM held a 20th Anniversary celebration at the Family Hope Center at 210 North Market.

In local ... On Nov. 15, Drake opened at 115 West Sycamore, formerly the home to both Hoops and the Sycamore Grill. A3

“It is stunning how fast the years have gone by,� Lawson said. “It feels more like a couple of years than decades.� When reflecting on her time at CAM over the past twenty years, Lawson found it difficult summarizing the impact the organization has had on the community. “I think the best thing about what we have done, is that we’ve been willing to innovate and try new approaches without fear of failure,� Lawson said. “And just

Executive Director Ruth Lawson (R) with board member Brenda Underwood. (Photo by Rick Wilson)

See CAM on Page 8

So often dogs help people through their darkest hours, whether it is guiding the blind, watching over the young, or supporting those who are sick - those with cancer. Area canines, with owners in tow, take to the track this summer as part of the American Cancer society’s Bark For Life event to dig up a cure for cancer. Bark For Life adds a twist to the Society’s traditional Relay For Life, serving as a fundraising activity to honor the care-giving qualities of canine companions while supporting the mission of the American Cancer Society. This family-friendly event is planned for Saturday, May 4th, at Jackson Morrow Park and will begin at 9:30 a.m. with registration a special celebration lap around the track, canine costume contest, cutest pet trick, paw painting, pet photos, vendor booths, Relay For Life information, and so much more! Dogs are more than just best friends. They are considered part of the family. Bark For Life is the canine counterpart to Relay For Life, a very family friendly movement. Cancer patients often receive a great source of comfort from their pet during their cancer journey. The event celebrates our canine caregivers, just as we honor other family members who support their loved ones who are fighting cancer during Relay For Life. Event organizers are still recruiting pooches and their owners to take part in this year’s Bark For Life. Registration can be done See Bark on Page 8

In sports ... The 89th Annual Kokomo Relays, dubbed “The oldest continuous high school track meet in the United States,� outlasted a windy afternoon and crowned 14 champions Saturday at Walter Cross Field. B1

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