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Red Cross, FMU and the Konduros Fishermen Fund host kickoff luncheon for six-day training

National Red Cross leader delivers message of preparation, response and recovery 

FLORENCE –Jerry DeFrancisco, president of Humanitarian Services of the American Red Cross, told volunteers of the six-day training of the inaugural Rachel Hodges Leadership Institute at Francis Marion University that the training is about preparation, response, recovery, fundraising and the ability to tell the story of the Red Cross. 

DeFrancisco told attendees at a kickoff luncheon today that “One, we need good people to lead. Two, a leader has to learn to listen and third to always be learning.” 

The institute is being held at FMU from May 19 – 24 and involves training more than 400 volunteers and staff to respond to small and large scale disasters. In total, Red Cross volunteers and staff have traveled from eight states – ranging from Texas to Pennsylvania to attend this Institute.  

“I am thrilled to see smiles on the faces of the participants. Being here on the campus of FMU has made this ream more cohesive,” said Hodges. “The ultimate goal is to build leadership skills so volunteers go back to the communities reinvigorated and ready to serve.” 

There are several opportunities throughout the six-day training for media to experience a behind the scenes look at how the Red Cross prepares and responds to more than 70,000 disasters each year. 

Red Cross volunteers, staff and instructors will be available for interviews, along with FMU leadership. Below is a list of activities that the media is invited to attend throughout the week.  


Media Opportunities: 

Wednesday, May 23 and Thursday, May 24: South Carolina Hurricane Meeting and Exercise

Time: Wednesday, May 23 – 1– 5 p.m.; Thursday, May 24, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location: Francis Marion University, Leatherman 106

  • Staff and volunteer leadership will be participating in the annual South Carolina Hurricane Meeting and Exercise to prepare and practice emergency readiness and response plans for the upcoming hurricane season which lasts from June 1 – November 30.
  • Red Cross Leadership from South Carolina, the South area and National Headquarters will be available for expert interviews in hurricane readiness and response.

Also, during the week there will be various training sessions that will offer great media interview possibilities. The media is welcome to observe and interview participants, volunteers, staff and instructors throughout the week. To coordinate these interviews, please contact Anna Kate Christophillis at (803) 730-5506 or Angela Crosland at (843) 843-206-5579. 

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. To make a financial contribution to the Red Cross, please send donations to: The American Red Cross, P.O. Box 91, Columbia, SC 29202. Donations can also be made by visiting or calling (803) 540-1242.  

About Francis Marion University

Francis Marion University is one of South Carolina's 13 public, coeducational universities. As one of the state's six comprehensive institutions, FMU prides itself on providing a strong liberal arts education.

The University offers a broad range of undergraduate degrees and a growing number of graduate programs in serving the needs of communities, businesses and industries of the Pee Dee region.



Last Published: May 29, 2012 1:39 PM
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