The University of Tennessee at Martin was recognized April 27 for its support of the Red Cross following the Dec. 10, 2021, tornado outbreak in Northwest Tennessee. The American Red Cross of Mid-West Tennessee presented its 2022 Outstanding Community Partner Award to the university during the annual Heroes Luncheon held April 27 in Jackson at Union University’s Carl Grant Events Center. The annual event honors local individuals and organizations for service and raises funds to support the Red Cross. UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver, an American Red Cross Mid-West Tennessee board member, was the keynote speaker.
The Outstanding Community Partner Award honored the university’s support for the agency during initial recovery efforts from tornadoes that caused widespread devastation in Dresden, Kenton, Samburg and other areas. David Hicks, American Red Cross Mid-West Tennessee executive director, said that community partners are important to the Red Cross and the organization’s ability to deliver services when needed.
“The partnership that we coordinated with UTM in the aftermath of those storms was one of the most beneficial I’ve experienced in my six years serving as a Red Cross executive director,” Hicks said.
“The partnership that we coordinated with UTM in the aftermath of those storms was one of the most beneficial I’ve experienced in my six years serving as a Red Cross executive director,” Hicks said. “Any self-serving agendas were all put aside for the benefit of aiding deeply hurting communities of people. It made me proud to serve my organization and to be associated with UTM.”
“It (the award) was a surprise to us. … We just did what any neighbor would do and tried to help,” he said.
Carver announced the award to the UT Martin community April 28 during a virtual town hall attended by more than 100 university faculty and staff members. “It (the award) was a surprise to us. … We just did what any neighbor would do and tried to help,” he said.
The Red Cross contacted Carver the day following the outbreak and requested space to house trucks and supplies. The university found ways to do much more and provided space in the Boling University Center for an emergency command center, housed volunteers in a residence hall, and provided the requested space for vehicles and supplies. “We did also have some groups who went out and helped the Red Cross,” Carver said, and he thanked student housing, the physical plant, public safety, and other university areas and individuals who made the arrangements with the Red Cross possible.
The Red Cross continued operations at UT Martin through December and served Dresden, Kenton, Samburg and Tiptonville. “They (the Red Cross) were great partners,” Carver said. “They left things better than they found them, and we were just happy to be able to help in some way.”
The American Red Cross of Mid-West Tennessee serves Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Madison, McNairy and Weakley counties. For more information, contact Hicks at 901-208-0152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.