Red Cross reorganizing

Published 10:57 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

When American Red Cross Suffolk chapter executive director Faye Byrum retires on June 30, the local chapter will no longer have an executive director position.

The American Red Cross is in the midst of a reorganization that will make its leadership more regional in nature, said Rob Shapiro, director of public relations for the Coastal Virginia Region of the American Red Cross.

“We’re realigning the way we do business around the region,” Shapiro said. “The whole idea is for us to be more efficient and effective in serving the entire region.”

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What will not change, Shapiro said, is the office and staff in Suffolk that currently provide services to the city.

“We have been there, we are there and we will continue to be part of the community with an office and people in Suffolk,” Shapiro said. “Faye may be retiring, but we’re there.”

Shapiro said the changes will improve regional cooperation among Red Cross chapters.

“We’re working on presence within the communities but erasing the lines that used to divide cities and offices,” he said. “If there were another Suffolk tornado, God forbid, for those of us in Norfolk and those of us in Williamsburg, it’s like it hit us.”

The changes are coming about because of a “combination of things,” Shapiro said. The entire organization nationwide is undergoing the changes.

“These are different times,” he said. “The Red Cross is keeping up with the times.”

The new arrangement also will make it easier to share resources and people when there are localized disasters, Shapiro said.

Specifics of the realignment still are being worked out, Shapiro said. The newly-created Coastal Virginia Region division covers all of Hampton Roads and west to Isle of Wight, and as far north as the Northern Neck.

“The plan will be finalized over the next few weeks,” Shapiro said.