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Volunteers honored by Red Cross
Local chapter focuses on challenges
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Toccoa Falls College faculty members Bill and Cynthia "Cyd" Quarterman had the rare opportunity to put some lifesaving skills to use last year.

The two longtime American Red Cross volunteers were vacationing on Tybee Island in June 2007 when they came to the aid of boy named Anthony Holland who nearly drowned in a swimming pool. Cyd breathed into the boy’s mouth while her husband did chest compressions. After three cycles, the boy gurgled and began breathing on his own.

"Anthony had been given another chance at life because of two people who were trained in Red Cross life-saving skills," said Carol Burrell, the outgoing chairwoman of the Northeast Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross, at the chapter’s annual meeting Tuesday in Gainesville.

The American Red Cross and its volunteer members "represent hope," said Lt. Gov. Casey Calge, who presented the Quartermans with the organization’s certificate of merit. "It represents an opportunity to save a life, to learn a skill, to prepare a person in order to give. Life is really not about self, but what life truly is about is service to others. And when we commit ourselves to the act of service, that’s when we truly find the greatness that this world has to offer."

The local chapter has weathered its share of challenges in recent years and continues to focus on the critical task of hiring a new executive director, Burrell said.

"We’ve been operating with a deficit budget primarily due to a decrease in donations," Burrell said. "The economy and the ‘donor fatigue’ after Hurricane Katrina and some other large events have impacted our fundraising efforts. This past few months, the board leadership has worked hard to address this situation, and we feel good about the plan going forward, but your help will be most appreciated as we try to shore up our efforts."

On Tuesday, Forsyth County’s David Mancuso of American Southern Bank officially took the helm as board chairman for the new fiscal year.

In fiscal year 2008, the chapter, which serves 13 Northeast Georgia counties, assisted 157 families who lost homes due to disasters, trained 6,480 people in lifesaving skills and collected 12,948 productive blood units.

Despite fiscal challenges, Burrell said, "the mission of the American Red Cross to help prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies continues to be our local and national focus. We know the American Red Cross makes a difference in our communities."

Other award winners Tuesday included:

Wanda Hardin and Karen Hillman, disaster service volunteers of the year, local response

Pamela Wilder, disaster service volunteer of the year, national response

Joseph and Beth Weaver, health and safety services volunteers of the year

Stark Lovingood, blood services volunteer of the year

Cindy Ragsdale, volunteer fund raiser of the year.

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