By Michelle Jones

After two years in Calhoun County, the American Red Cross County Readiness Program is closing its doors.

Since 2010, AmeriCorps volunteers Megan Healy and Michelle Jones have been helping citizens to become better prepared for many different types of emergencies. During 2010-2011, Jones and Healy taught CPR and First Aid to numerous individuals and certified over 25 people.

They started a Red Cross Club at Calhoun County High School and taught CPR and First Aid to 15 students. They also visited several Girl Scout troops and 4-H camps and talked to them about the importance of first aid safety.

At the end of the 2011 school year, they held an emergency preparedness seminar at the high school for over 100 local residents and handed out several first aid kits, literature, and dvds provided by the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund. During the seminar, they discussed the importance of having an emergency home kit and what items needed to be included in the kit. They stressed the importance of first aid kits, smoke detectors, and evacuation plans for households, and answered questions about safety and first aid from those who attended.

Most of the second half of the 2011-2012 service year focused on disaster assessments and prevention. Jones and Healy responded to several house fires in Calhoun and Gilmer County, and through the generosity of the American Red Cross, they were able to provide assistance to the fire victims. Jones and Healy also talked to several businesses and individuals about emergency preparedness and what they can do to help protect themselves and loved ones. More family preparedness seminars were held and several more first aid kits were handed out, thanks in part to the Sisters of St. Josephs.

Now that the County Readiness Program has ended, Jones and Healy are moving on to pursue their own dreams and passions. Healy and her two children, Mason and Ellie, have moved back to Healy's home state of Pennsylvania, where she plans to pursue a career in environmental science. Her goal is to one day help ensure a better and cleaner world for everyone. She loves to travel and is currently crossing the United States, seeing all that it has to offer.

Jones, along with her two children Autumn and Summer and husband Argil, resides in Brohard. She is currently enrolled at WVUP and is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She hopes that through her participation in the County Readiness Program, she has contributed to the residents of Calhoun County, and she hopes other people will take the initiative to volunteer and help make their community a better place to live.

Jones and Healy would like to thank their mentor Rick Postalwait for his sound advice, and Teresa Carpenter, Darla Taylor, Denise Davis, Rocky Holmes, and April Wilson for all the help they have shown them for the last two years while working in the courthouse. They would also like to thank everyone who has allowed them to present and host discussions about emergency preparedness. Also, they would like to extend their appreciation to the Calhoun Chronicle and the Hur Herald for their support in educating local citizens about safety and first aid. Finally, they would like to thank all the staff at the American Red Cross office in Parkersburg for all their support and confidence in them throughout the years.

Jones and Healy hope that the citizens of Calhoun County continue to support each other and wish everyone a safe and healthy year.

Hur Herald ©from Sunny Cal
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