Kim Fisk is named as the new Red Cross office coordinator

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   The new coordinator of the local American Red Cross office is hoping to pump life into the Carter County office with renewed citizen and community involvement.
   Kimberly Fisk was selected by the regional American Red Cross Board of Directors to become coordinator in January, four months after two former office staff members and the chapter's board of directors abruptly resigned.
   "This is a fresh start," said Fisk, who moved to Carter County two years ago. "We want the community to know that we are there to help in an emergency situation."
   A committee review of the regional American Red Cross organization declined to recharter the county's chapter membership last year. The county's Red Cross office temporarily closed in September when the chapter's two staff members and entire board of directors resigned.
   The Kingsport Red Cross chapter has been handling telephone calls and providing Red Cross services for Carter County since the county office closed on Sept. 13. The office now functions as a service center.
   Fisk's role will involve coordinating emergency service work, recruiting volunteers, and managing day-to-day business.
   Glenda Bobalik of the Kingsport Area American Red Cross said an advisory council made up of Carter County citizens will help identify needs for the agency's service to the county.
   "People really want to help," said Bobalik. "Our goal is to get volunteers here to help."
   The Red Cross office continues to operate on a part-time basis from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. Emergency assistance is available for fires, other disasters, and military emergency messages.
   The office needs volunteers to provide disaster assistance, teach classes, and perform office and clerical duties, among other needs, to build the office, said Fisk, who joined the American Red Cross on January 2.
   "Having people skills is a big plus," she said.
   Emergency messaging to U.S. military forces from family members was fast becoming a priority as the U.S. armed forces continued mobilizing for possible deployment to Iraq, said Bobalik.
   The office is also planning an "Adult, Child, and Infant CPR and First Aid" course on Jan. 25 and other training courses on subjects from family services to disaster services in the coming weeks.
   "We are looking for people to interview families after disasters to find out what their needs are," said Bobalik.
   Fisk said her immediate goal was re-energizing the community to volunteer their time with the American Red Cross office.
   "I'd like to see some traffic in the office," she said.
   The Red Cross office will hold an "open house" on Jan. 21 from 4-7 p.m. to familiarize citizens with the office's new personnel and mission. Citizens interested in becoming American Red Cross disaster volunteers are urged to contact the office in Elizabethton at 542-2833 to enroll in January classes. There is no cost for the training, but a minimum of six individuals are needed to teach each course.