Red Cross director stepping down

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2011

Covington County will begin this hurricane season without an official local Red Cross chapter executive director.

The current director, Merrill Davis, is stepping down. His last day is May 25.

“Serving the Covington County Red Cross as executive director has been truly an honor,” Davis said. “I have had the privilege to see our community work together for the common good of others who face disaster. It is truly amazing to see the compassion that many have for their fellow man.”

Davis said he is leaving to pursue “what I feel is a great career opportunity.”

President of the local Red Cross board Staci Wilson of Opp said Don Johnson, a six-year Red Cross employee, will serve as interim director.

Wilson said regional and national Red Cross officials have instructed the local chapter to not hire a new director until the end of its fiscal year, which is in June.

“The board met (Thursday night), and we have been told by our regional office that we’re not going to do anything until the end of June,” Wilson said. “We do have a regional director and (Johnson), so we’re not really without a director.

“The reason we were told was that they’re doing a revamp of the Red Cross’ administrative issues, so there’s no need to hire someone and train them under the old policies when (those policies are) going to change in a month,” she said.

Wilson said the local Red Cross will not be without Davis’ assistance if a disaster strikes locally.

“We’ve appointed him to the board, because his experience is too valuable to let go,” she said. “So, he’s not leaving us completely.”