Elfer is everyday hero

Published 11:08 am Monday, April 7, 2014

The American Red Cross recently reiterated something folks in Warren County have known since at least Hurricane Isaac.
Warren County Emergency Manager John Elfer is one of the best.
Elfer, who has held his current position since 2011, does a great job of the chaos wrangling that is emergency management. Weather its teaching the public how to stay safe during an active shooter situation or coordinating disaster relief efforts, he works in a professional manner that is unparalleled by many in his field.
A lot of Elfer’s work, though, is behind the scenes as his office works as a coordinator between emergency responders, the public and disaster relief agencies. He work’s primarily with the Red Cross in helping victims of disasters find housing.
Disasters come in all shapes and sizes — tornadoes, floods, house fires — and can devastate in a moment’s notice, as any victim will recount.
The key to a good response, Elfer told us, is volunteers.
“You cannot respond to a disaster without faith-based organizations and volunteers,” he said.
Today is the beginning of Red Cross Volunteer Week, and we encourage each one of you to consider taking part in the organization.
The Red Cross’ disaster relief work is noticeable in times of large-scale disaster, but they are working in our state almost every day.
In 2013, Red Cross volunteers responded to 3,035 disasters in Mississippi, primarily single-family and apartment fires.
The work includes finding a comfortable place for displaced people to stay and providing hot meals, safe drinking water, new clothing, and replacement medicines and eyeglasses.  Here in Vicksburg, they provide two days in a hotel for victims of fire.
Volunteers have also trained 12,707 people in lifesaving skills over the past year. That includes CPR and lifeguarding classes.
We encourage anyone interested in volunteering with the American Red Cross to call Barbara Davis at 601-353-5442 or send an e-mail to barbara.davis@redcross.org.
The skills you learn in doing so will one day save a life.