CERT, Community Emergency Response Team, received a $1,000 donation Monday from Wal-Mart to publicly support the organization’s mission in Dawson County.
“We see how these good people help Emergency Services and wanted to enable them to continue their work,” said Cecil Bennett, Wal-Mart’s community involvement leader.
CERT is made up of local volunteers who aid local emergency services personnel in search and rescue missions, extreme weather response, mapping and fires.
The organization falls under the umbrella of Homeland Security.
Wal-Mart’s donation will be used to purchase emergency equipment and supplies, such as fire extinguishers and chainsaws.
“We decided to donate this money to CERT to recognize them for their admirable service to the community and so that in some way, we could be a part of that service,” said Bennett.
Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford attended the check presentation to show support and appreciation for the organization’s service to the community.
“They are an invaluable resource that not enough people know about,” said Swafford.
Richard Sims, director of the local CERT organization, joined the group 4 years ago after retiring from Verizon Communications.
Sims is proud of the service the group provides during emergency situations.
“It’s a way to give back to the community and sometimes what we do could save lives,” said Sims.
CERT not only responds to emergency situations, but also works toward preventing disasters from happening in the first place. One of the more recent prevention projects CERT participated in was the free installation of smoke alarms and batteries in over 200 needy homes throughout Dawson County.
The fire department received the smoke alarms as part of a grant and CERT volunteered to assist in the installation process.
The Dawson County CERT program started 5 years ago and now has 75 members, ranging in ages from 18 to 82.
All volunteers participate in a 25-hour training class in which mock disaster scenarios are created to teach volunteers how to properly and efficiently respond in real-life crisis situations.
For more information or to volunteer for CERT, contact Richard Sims at (770) 833-4533 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.