Walker County Red Cross Shuts Down

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After 30 years of service, the Walker County Red Cross will be closing its doors. File cabinets and boxes were being cleared out, leaving an empty office.

Bob Cargo, Director of the Red Cross Northern Branch says, "We had two choices, we could reduce the amount of money given to the client and keep the office open or we could reduce the staff and use that money for the client. Our foremost concern is the client and their needs."

Rosanne Keathley is the Coordinator for the Walker County Service Center. She says there were two main reasons for closing down. Lack of donations and a strain on funds used for major disasters like 9/11 and the Tsunami.

The Walker County branch is part of the Houston chapter of the Red Cross. One of its main donors was Enron. When that money stopped coming in, the main office in Houston was forced to make some touch decisions, closing down some of the smaller agencies.

Keathley adds, "Corporate giving all of a sudden people couldn't give anymore corporately. One of the leading founders was now out of business and then all people who actively worked for them. Now they were losing their jobs and they weren't able to buy things, so there was other economic losses there as well."

One concern is people donate on a national level, but often times forget about the services needed locally. Walker County Red Cross will continue to make their money through safety classes at Huntsville Memorial and Sam Houston State.

"There still will be a strong Red cross presence in Walker County. It just won't be solely me. I'm still gonna be coordinating safety, first aid, HIV/AIDS classes throughout the county and that will still be going on." says Keathley.

While the Huntsville office is closing down, the Conroe branch will be the nearest Red Cross for Walker County residents, if they need disaster assistance.