Poarch donates $95K to Red Cross

Published 3:20 pm Monday, October 3, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribe takes pride in being a good neighbor.
Thursday, the Tribe displayed their generosity by presenting the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross with a check for $95,000.
"It has always been a tradition within our Tribe to help others," Tribal Chairman Fred L. McGhee said. "Not only is this the right thing to do for our neighbors, it is also important for us to honor this tradition for our future generations."
According to Sharon Delmar, community relations director for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the donation is a part of the Tribe's ongoing Planned Giving Campaign. The donation represents an $85,000 gift to the National Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and a $10,000 contribution to the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter.
"I want to thank you all for all those kind words; what you all have said about the Red Cross just honors me so much," Virginia Liles, Chairman of the Board of the Alabama Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross said. "It's hard to find the words to thank you for a donation of this size. As you know we don't receive any funding, we rely on donations from people for our operation. Our local chapter, which is Mobile, Baldwin, Monroe, Clarke and West Escambia has already spent $25 million to assist 22,000 people."
Tribal Emergency Management Director April Sells explained in detail of how grateful the Poarch community and the surrounding areas were to have the American Red Cross following Hurricane Ivan during the check presentation.
"Lots of people don't know what the American Red Cross did for us during that time," Sells said. "Of course, they brought us meals and we were able to feed our community after the storm. One of the representatives called me and asked me how much longer we needed them and I asked for one week because that would take us up to the first month. After three week of having no power, everything that people had in their freezers was gone. People in the community, not only on the reservation, but in the surrounding community, they're on fixed income, so they could not replace what they had already lost. That was a wonderful commitment that they made to us.
The Red Cross not only provided hot meals following Ivan, but also handed out and provided information pamphlets and cleaning supplies as well as provided counselors to assist in personal recovery efforts.
"They also contacted us and were able to provide counselors and went into Huxford Elementary School and talked to our children to make sure they didn't have any lasting effects from Ivan," Sells said. "They had never been through a hurricane and they didn't understand about all the winds and rains and all the devastation that could result from a hurricane like Ivan. I can't speak anymore highly of the American Red Cross."
Although Hurricane Dennis did not hit with near the force of Ivan, Sells said the assistance from the Red Cross was again a blessing.
"Our involvement has been wonderful," Sells said. "After Dennis hit, it wasn't too many days before they were calling letting us know that they would be out in the trucks delivering food. From the bottom of our hearts we appreciate everything that has been done for us."
Tribal councilman and president of Creek Indian Enterprises, Robert McGhee, mirrored both Fred McGhee and Sells' sentiments.
"The Tribe's donation is our expression of appreciation for the American Red Cross' assistance when we needed them most," he said. "No it's our turn to help. We want to support the Red Cross as they help our communities in need."
Following the check presentation, representatives of the American Red Cross and Poarch enjoyed refreshments and reflected on recent hurricanes.

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