“Our church has always been community minded,” said Connie Connell, chairperson of the church’s capital building campaign, “and we decided to search for additional ways our expanded church facility could be used once it was finished.”
Planning ahead, while the interior of the church’s addition was still in the construction phase, turned out to be a good idea because showers, a FEMA and Red Cross requirement, were not included in the original plans. Blueprints had to be revised and additional funding needed to be obtained.
It was more than two years from the time CFPC first contacted Gordon County’s GEMA Director Richard Cooper about the possibility of the church becoming a Red Cross disaster shelter and actually receiving certification. Ken Greeson, Joan Clark and Connell, heads of various committees within CFPC, quickly learned that there was a lot more about getting certification than first thought.
“Richard couldn’t have been more helpful with the process,” said Greeson, a member of the church’s Building and Grounds Committee. “He met with us on several occasions and literally walked through the church’s existing and under-construction areas each time to identify things we would have to add or change to meet the basic Red Cross requirements.”
Greeson noted that Cooper also arranged for church members to meet various Red Cross representatives, who would need to be involved in the certification process. Cooper and Red Cross representative Billy Galman said they thought CFPC would be an asset to GEMA’s existing Gordon County shelters not only because of its facilities but also because of the church’s proximity to Gordon County Hospital and I-75 and the need for a shelter in the part of the county where CFPC is located.
Once certification was received, Clark, chairperson of CFPC’s Missions Committee, contacted Red Cross personnel to arrange for church members to receive Red Cross training on how to safely and efficiently provide shelter relief should a disaster occur in the Gordon County area.
“I was amazed at how many of our members signed up for the training or asked to be notified of future training opportunities,” Clark said.
Ten CFPC members attended the training course in May, led by Red Cross Representatives Eva and Joe Edwards she said. CFPC’s pastor, Pete Ullmann, said, “We are thankful to have the opportunity to partner with the American Red Cross in providing shelter to our community and travelers in case of a disaster. We believe God wants us to use our church facilities as a sanctuary not only for our members and community but also for travelers caught in disaster situations, too.”