Jim McDonald of Whitfield County has been named Volunteer/Citizen of the Year by the Emergency Management Association of Georgia.
Mr. McDonald, who was nominated by the Whitfield County EMA, received the award on Nov. 6 in Young Harris at Brasstown Valley Resort during EMAG’s 60th annual state meeting.
Mr. McDonald has volunteered his time for Whitfield County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) since 2013.
“During his tenure with our program, Jim has been a dedicated member of the team,” said Claude Craig, Whitfield EMA director.
“He volunteers his time without hesitation and goes above and beyond time and time again. Jim’s smiling face is present at numerous CERT trainings, public relations events, and deployments. He is a reminder of the spirit of volunteerism!”
"McDonald, who was named the local 2017 Responder of the Year, will take on any task asked of him – without complaint," Mr. Craig said.
“He asks questions when necessary, and is not afraid to give us feedback. He works a full-time job, and he often volunteers for events after his eight hours at work. He changes his clothes and then spends his evening volunteering.”
Last year, Mr. McDonald volunteered 35 hours with the CERT program, giving him a total of 214 volunteer hours since 2013. “That’s a lot of volunteering!” Mr. Craig said. “We are proud to call Jim part of our team.”
If you would like to volunteer with CERT, another training session is coming up this weekend.
This risk and hazard awareness training is available to you at no cost through Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency and is designed to help you protect yourself, your family and your immediate community in the event of a major situation in your neighborhood.
Already, 293 residents have completed CERT training in 16 previous sessions, and Whitfield Emergency Management officials have set Academy 17 for Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. You must attend both days to complete the course successfully.
“CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can and do make a difference,” said Jeff Ownby, deputy director of Whitfield Emergency Management.
“While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger, therefore minimizing their risk of bodily injury and simply becoming another victim.”
Participants will be trained in Fire Safety and Fire Extinguishers, First Aid and Disaster Medical Lifesaving Skills, Decision Making, Team Building, Light Search and Rescue, Disaster Psychology, and more.
The course is free to residents of Whitfield County.
You can register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc2Xw0oDrwqgcgtdtd_RfrBDOHI3LqB_jmr_MRCovR_jC5WhQ/viewform.
For more information, contact Whitfield EMA at 706-259-3730.