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Red Cross needs help

The American Red Cross needs help to keep one of their representatives in Pearl River County, and they are looking to the community for that help.

Even though Hurricane Katrina passed through the county more than a year and a half ago, the agency still has a role in the community. In the past year the agency has helped the community by issuing about $35,000 in financial assistance to families affected by fires, said American Red Cross executive director for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chapter Bill Brent.

Currently there is enough funding to keep Pearl River County’s Red Cross Community Recovery Specialist Ernie Brown-Rampola in the area for about another year. However more money is needed to keep her here longer. In response the Red Cross Heroes program has set a goal of at least $20,000.

Turnout at Saturday’s Red Cross Heroes meeting was light. The group would like to get about 20 to 25 people involved to be heroes and raise money but only about seven people were in attendance for the most recent meeting.

Heroes are expected to use creativity to formulate ways to raise the money.

“You can raise money by any legal means necessary,” Brent said.

Picayune Public Relations Director Jon Myers said he will talk with Fire Chief Keith Brown to see if they will help put on a boot drive. He also said he would check into getting something set up for the Senior Fair coming up.

Roy Acker said he will talk to the local churches, corner stores and even go door to door to try to raise funds.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Volunteer Liaison Kim Bui said she and FEMA Database Administrator Kristy Truong would cook food to raise funds.

“Kind of like a bake sale,” Truong said.

All money raised in their and other Red Cross Hero efforts will go towards keeping Brown-Rampola in this county, Brent said.

Brown-Rampola currently keeps an office at the Emergency Operations Center in Poplarville on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to help with community needs.