Community expresses concern at Marshall County Red Cross meeting

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- People packed into a room at the Guntersville Public Library Monday to express concern about new cost cutting measures at the American Red Cross.   Those measures cost Marshall County Red Cross director Judy Rhea her job.

"She was diligent.  She was dedicated.  And that kind of dedication, I've never seen before in any kind of organization," said Debbie Head.

Head's home was destroyed during the April 27th, 2011 tornado outbreak.   She was one of several people at the meeting who questioned the Red Cross' new structuring that saw the termination of 34 paid employees across the state, including Rhea.

The new plan not only closed the Marshall County chapter, but also other local chapters across North Alabama.   Head questioned whether the area can be served by just the office in Huntsville.

"You're going from one side of the state to the other," she said.  "And you think all of that , you think all that vast area, that includes Decatur, Russellville, The Shoals, Huntsville, Scottsboro, Fort Payne, do you think that's going to be manned by volunteers and be efficiently run?"

Mark Beddingfield, the regional director for the Alabama Red Cross, told the crowd the organization will continue to meet all of the expectations of the community.

"We are going to be there in every community, offering every service  that we provide and hopefully in some cases, even more than we've been able to provide in the past," he said.  "But we are going to be relying on volunteers as we have in the past but we are going to be recruiting even more volunteers."

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