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Lawson named new Red Cross chapter head
Friday, November 9, 2012
By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer
Ralph Lawson of Martinsville has been hired as community chapter executive of the American Red Cross Piedmont Virginia Chapter, covering Martinsville, Henry and Patrick counties, Danville and Pittsylvania County.
“Ralph has been a Red Cross volunteer and board member for several years. Prior to coming off the Piedmont VA board last year, Ralph served as treasurer and public relations representative as a volunteer,” C. Lee Clark wrote in an email. Clark is CEO of the American Red Cross Virginia Mountain Region.
“Ralph was raised in Patrick County, so he has a unique perspective and sensitivity to the needs of the citizens of the Piedmont VA Chapter of American Red Cross,” Clark wrote.
Lawson, 49, of Martinsville, said in a phone interview that he served on the Red Cross board for 10 years and is a past treasurer. He said he has a “love and passion” for the Red Cross, and “I’m excited about the opportunity” of being community chapter executive.
He will start the job Nov. 26 and will be based at the Martinsville office on Spruce Street, with satellite offices in Stuart and Danville.
The job involves providing core services, fundraising and “being the face of the Red Cross for the media, donors and their communities, among other duties according to a job description.
Lawson said he is resigning as marketing director of Therapy Direct, which provides outpatient physical therapy, to accept the full-time Red Cross position. He has worked at Therapy Direct for four years.
Before that, he worked at Avante of Roanoke, Blue Ridge Manor, State Farm Insurance Co., Universal Sewing Supply and Pannill Knitting/Sara Lee. His duties have included marketing, sales and purchasing, among others, according to Lawson and a Patrick Henry Community College news release.
In May, Lawson was one of six annual Distinguished Alumni honored at a dinner hosted by the PHCC Foundation. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree through PHCC’s distance learning program.
According to Lawson and the PHCC release, his community activities include or have included: the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness (current board member); Southern Virginia Recreation Facilities Authority board (current vice chairman); Crime Stoppers board (vice president of marketing); Patrick County Jaycees (past president); Virginia Jaycees (past state president, Top State President in America award); United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (past national vice president); Martinsville Transportation Safety Commission; Martinsville-Henry County Christmas Parade Association; Patrick County Developmental Center; Martinsville Exchange Club (past local president on two occasions); Henry County Baptist Association; and United Way (past chair of the health-care division, former chair of health-care facilities).
He said he is president-elect of Colonial District Exchange Clubs, which covers Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
Lawson will succeed Linette Nuckols as Red Cross community chapter executive, also known as executive director.
Nuckols, who had held the position for about a year, “had some family matters she wanted to focus on more,” said Amy Whittaker, Red Cross regional public affairs director. Nuckols left the position in September.
Clark wrote in his email: “We currently have a strong core of volunteers in this area, but we need more volunteers willing to be trained and to respond to disasters from single-family house fires to major events like Hurricane Sandy.
“For example, last night (Wednesday) about 7,600 people affected by Hurricane Sandy stayed in more than 110 shelters. More than 5,700 Red Cross workers from all 50 states are supporting shelters, providing food and water at fixed sites, and driving through neighborhoods to distribute meals and supplies.”
So far, the American Red Cross has helped people in 10 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico affected by Sandy. The Red Cross has served more than 3.3 million meals and snacks, provided more than 29,600 health services and emotional support contacts, and handed out more than 124,500 relief items, Clark wrote.
Since Sandy hit, response organizations have provided more than 117,600 shelter stays. The Red Cross has provided more than 63,000 of those stays, Clark wrote.