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Red Cross officially returns to Waynesboro

July 17, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Four CPR classes kept the American Red Cross' newest office bustling on its first day of officially being open.

The people working or learning in the historic Toll Gate House on Monday paused at noon for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the return of the Red Cross to Waynesboro.

Prior to June 2006, the organization was operating a Franklin County chapter and Waynesboro chapter. The Waynesboro chapter went defunct, the office closed and all county services were provided out of Chambersburg, Pa.

Monday's ceremony marked the opening of the countywide chapter's new satellite office in the former Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce's headquarters at 323 E. Main St.

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"I think it's very commendable that we were able to negotiate with the Chamber to be able to have a Waynesboro office that's visible," said Waynesboro Mayor Richard "Dick" Starliper, who recently became a chapter board member.

The office will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, according to Tom Reardon, executive director of the chapter.

Training has been held in the two-story building for a few months already, Emergency Services Director Allen A. White Jr. said.

Waynesboro Fire Chief Ron Flegel said the services and response have been "very effective" since White began his role.

"Usually when we call the Red Cross, it's to provide immediate food and shelter, and to meet the immediate needs of people," Flegel said.

The fire chief shared concerns he had about the year without a local office, but said it passed smoothly.

The fire department's relationship with the Red Cross has been a good one, Flegel said.

"They've always been there," he said.

The Chamber of Commerce moved Aug. 16, 2006, from the Toll Gate House, built circa 1850, to 5 N. Roadside Ave.

"I think the best part of having this office here is that the people who live here and grew up here know the Toll Gate House," White said.

"We're just happy to have them back down here again, providing services to the township and borough," said Carroll Sturm, chairman of the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors.

In addition to training opportunities, the Toll Gate House office will have brochures and information about emergency preparedness, Reardon said.

He has been pushing to add Waynesboro volunteers to the roster and said he hopes to double the number countywide within five years. Neighbors are best able to help neighbors, Reardon said.

"Our mission really boils down to just this: saving lives. We do that in several ways, primarily by responding to disasters," Reardon said.

To reach the Red Cross in Waynesboro, call 717-762-5414 or visit the Toll Gate House at 323 E. Main St.

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