Thanks to all who volunteered

Published: Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 7, 2012 at 5:53 p.m.

As we approach the season of love and kindness, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have volunteered this year.

A special thank-you goes to those who have taken the time to become a Red Cross volunteer or an emergency responder. I have heard from people who have deployed to New York to assist with the Red Cross after Hurricane Sandy, as well as other Floridians who have assisted with Rescue Shelter Operations after the storm.

So often, Floridians think “emergency” only means hurricane, and as we have recently seen in the Northeast with Hurricane Sandy, it also can mean a change in the weather bringing severe cold or, in the western portion of our country, extreme heat and fires.

I urge you to think about contacting Alachua County Emergency Management and become a member of a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). One way young people can receive volunteer credit is to join TEAMTEEN. This is special training for youth ages 13-18. For more information, call 264-6500 or go to www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/PublicSafety/em/firstSteps/beInvolved/Pages/BeInvolved.aspx.

I also want to remind you to take the time to go to your County Emergency Management webpage and sign up for the free mobile app alert.

As you prepare for the holiday season, consider making one of your New Year’s resolutions to become a first responder in your neighborhood. This is a good way to make sure you are prepared, and it is a good way for you to start interacting with your neighbors.

If you are an animal lover, as I am, consider helping the American Humane Society by becoming an emergency shelter volunteer.

For more information about becoming a first responder for animals, go to www.americanhumane.org/animals/programs/emergency-services/volunteer.html.

I hope you make 2013 a year of volunteer commitment. This will make our community an even better place to be year-round.

Happy volunteering, and happy New Year!

For more information, contact pbellis@gator.net.

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