Red Cross Celebrates 100 Years in Wyoming County

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Photos and Story by Rick Hiduk

(Also published in the Rocket-Courier)

Red Cross representatives (clockwise from lower left) Andy Nagy, Barbara Furbish, Kate Crowley, Kathe Bartron, and Kathy Talcott join Wyoming County commissioners Judy Mead and Tom Henry and chief clerk Bill Gaylord in marking the 100th anniversary of the Red Cross in Wyoming County at the regular meeting of the commissioners held on June 12.

The June 12 meeting of the Wyoming County Commissioners opened with a proclamation marking the 100th anniversary of the American Red Cross in Wyoming County. Started by Clara Barton in 1881, the local charter was started in Tunkhannock in 1918 as a response to a vigorous county-wide effort to support soldiers of the first world war and their families.

In addition to alleviating suffering in this country and abroad, the volunteers and one staff member representing the Red Cross also cited local blood drives, CPR and first aid training, and swimming and aquatic safety instruction among the organization’s accomplishments.

Volunteer Kate Crowley thanks the commissioners and the county for the space the agency occupies in the Emergency Operations Center in Tunkhannock Township, stating, “It’s been a wonderful partnership.” After commissioner Tom Henry read the proclamation, Crowley presented him and commissioner Judy Mead with a framed replica of the 1918 Red Cross charter for Wyoming County.

Wyoming County is currently part of the Northeast Chapter of the Eastern Pennsylvania Regional Red Cross.

New Transport Vehicle For Coroner

The commissioners approved a motion to lease a new county vehicle that will primarily be used for the transport of deceased persons by the county coroner for the purpose of autopsies. The need for transports was once very uncommon but has increased in recent years. Approximately 25 transports were conducted last tear at a cost of $200 each to the county. At five thousand dollars for 2017 alone, a three-year, seven thousand dollar lease on a new Ford Explorer seemed both practical and economical.

If we need it somewhere else in the county, we can use it,” said Mead.

Chief Clerk Bill Gaylord noted that the county has access to relatively inexpensive GPS units via a grant from the state and that one could be installed in the vehicle to monitor its use.

911 Updates Approved

Wyoming County 911 director Jeff Porter stopped by the commissioners meeting to seek approval of state funding for upgrades to three communications sites that need updated alternate power supplies, as well as key pad alarm systems for the doors. The $37,029 approved for the upgrades also includes a new generator for a communications tower in Sugar Run that is shared with Bradford County.

Porter also asked to spend $16,804 on a complete rehabilitation on the “blue Ridge” tower, so named because it used to belong to the cable company of the same name. It is currently owned and operated by the Meshoppen Fire Company at no cost to the county, and Porter said that it too needs a new generator.

Other Business

In other county news, district attorney Jeff Mitchell’s office was approved as the Naloxone coordinator for law enforcement officials in the county. The appointment will allow Mitchell to apply directly for grants to maintain the necessary supply of the antidote used for opioid overdose victims.

The commissioners accepted the resignation of Joseph Stanco, who has served as the 4-H youth coordinator for the county’s Penn State Cooperative Extension office for the past 12 years. They credited Stanco for his work and wished him well in his new post as an equine extension associate at Penn State. Stanco’s replacement will be filled by Penn State, Mead noted. It will no longer be a county position.

A Marcellus Legacy grant for five thousand dollars was approved by the commissioners for a streetscaping project in Nicholson.

After an executive session with members of the Wyoming County Prison Board, the commissioners approved a recommendation by the board to discharge Steve Bennett from his duties as a corrections officer at the prison in Tunkhannock.

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