Community | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Red Cross Volunteers React to Firing of Director Chris Floyd

By: Blaine Tolison Email
By: Blaine Tolison Email

Volunteers have issued an official statement. Among many words in the statement, it voices their anger and bafflement with the decision of firing Floyd, a 17-year veteran. They also recognize a long list of his accomplishments during his tenure at the red cross. The word of his firing is spreading fast.

Sheriff Larry Campbell said, "It's hard to find anybody any more enthusiastic than he is, any more read-to-go, team player. Uh, I don't know what caused it, but I sure hope that it's something that can be rectified and we can see him come back."

Red Cross Volunteers have also started a "Get Floyd Back" website, which the link can be found below under the statement from Red Cross Disaster Volunteers.

The Letter From Disaster Volunteers:

January 15, 2008

To All Concerned:

We are a collective group of key volunteer management personnel for the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. Some of us are baffled, some are angry, but all of us wish to express our feelings of disenfranchisement and disappointment with the decision to fire our Emergency Services Director, Chris Floyd. Some of us have served with him for much of his tenure as the director. Volunteers who came from all walks of life were welcomed, well trained in specific areas of expertise, and cross-trained in many other areas so we may serve the American Red Cross both locally and nationally.

Chris showed us what a chapter leader needs to be both in times of disaster and times between disasters. Many of us have noted that Chris Floyd is the finest leader we have ever been privileged to know. All of us recognize the immense difficulty of running an organization with volunteer labor. Signatures below represent volunteers who endorsed this letter before 12 noon on January 15, 2008. We who attach our names to this document have more than 500 years of collective experience within the American Red Cross. As more volunteers hear of this letter, more signatures are coming in.

We would like to remind everyone why we have remained loyal Red Cross volunteers during some of the most difficult times for the American Red Cross: The hope of improving the way the Red Cross fulfills its humanitarian mission.
Chris Floyd has been a leader who consistently innovated, generating new solutions to problems confronted before, during and after a disaster. Over and over again his ideas, programs, and solutions have become recognized as American Red Cross standards or best practices.

Most importantly, Chris Floyd exemplified for us the values and ideals of the Red Cross.

Here are a few of his accomplishments:

• First and foremost, Chris Floyd has been available to volunteers and disaster victims, as well as local, county and state fire, law enforcement, emergency managers and political officials, for 24/7 for the past 17 years.

• Chris’s belief that a community must be prepared for disaster meant he
worked tirelessly with city, county, state, and business leaders to ensure
that the citizens of north Florida and south Georgia were prepared for
all types of disasters. His ultimate mission was service to the local
citizens.

• His innovative ideas brought about the creation of the course Disaster Preparedness for Business and Industry. The course taught businesses to think about and create a plan for recovery after a disaster. This course became the grassroots movement for many of the disaster recovery plans developed not only by businesses, but by local and state government entities.

• He worked with the Florida Legislature to get the Florida Disaster Leave Law passed. This helped our state to increase its volunteer base tremendously.

• He had an uncanny ability to bring many diverse partners into local ARC activities, and partner with organizations throughout the area. Schools, churches, neighborhood associations, elder services and countless others benefited from his inclusive management style.

• Chris developed and facilitated more than 60 exercises involving volunteers, businesses, emergency responders, community agencies, etc., to enhance disaster preparedness. Some of these exercises involved multiple counties, multiple Red Cross chapters, and multiple states.

• He amassed the chapter’s equipment and supplemented its meager staff by creative grant writing. Buying equipment and supplies with grant money freed up the precious donated dollars for direct services to the area citizens and clients.

• Chris designed and developed the chapter’s Emergency Operations Center. Activities that were previously scattered in outbuildings during a disaster were brought together in one room to better serve the community during a disaster. He accomplished this without use of any donated dollars that were designated for disaster relief.

• Chris developed a very strong relationship and co-operation between city, county and state law enforcement, fire, and emergency managers, thereby providing the best service to our communities during a disaster.

• He worked with amateur (HAM) radio operators so communications between ARC, partner agencies and shelters would not go down during a disaster.

• Chris developed many cutting edge programs that national American Red Cross has adopted – Fire/Weather House educational program, Disaster Resistant Neighborhood program, shelter trailers stationed at key ‘first to open’ shelters, programs that computerized shelter info and status during disasters, and developed a chapter web site whose resources are used by people nationwide.

• He implemented the concept of host sheltering and rest area advisories, so that our chapter can open shelters to house evacuees from disasters in other areas of the state and country.

• Chris built the first mobile kitchen to serve the state of Florida. The kitchen and its chapter-trained kitchen staff have been deployed in numerous disasters.

• Over his 17 years of service he built the chapter volunteer base from a few untrained personnel to several thousand extremely well-trained volunteers, including more than 300 who are qualified to respond to a national disaster within hours. This chapter was capable of responding to
what the national Red Cross refers to as a Level 3 disaster, using only local volunteers.

• He developed outreach offices and programs in all eight counties served by the Capital Area Chapter.

• He looked forward to the construction of a new chapter house, utilizing a $4 million dollar grant from the Kuwaiti government, a grant earmarked
for the Capital Area Chapter in recognition of its crucial role in response
to disasters on the Gulf Coast.

• Chris worked to solve the problems that pet owners faced during a disaster, and which might keep pet owners from complying with evacuation orders. He partnered with Disaster Animal Rescue Teams (DART) to help educate the public and opened one of the first ‘pet friendly’ shelters in the country – here in Tallahassee. Pet friendly shelters and DART partners have become standard operating procedures for the Red Cross during a disaster.

• Chris is a planner. He held regular meetings with key management volunteers to discuss long-term and short-term goals for the chapter.
He challenged us to move forward and improve.

Those volunteers who choose to remain active with ARC will do so because of personal commitment to the Red Cross mission of service. We deeply regret the loss of the leadership, innovation and dedication of Chris Floyd.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned
Volunteers of the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross


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