Charlie Whitehead Honored by Tennessee Red Cross

Charlie Whitehead (right) accepts an award for volunteerism from Tennessee Red Cross Executive Director Sharin Hudson (left).

By Jacob E. Rosenbaum

Local businessman and long time community servant Charles M. “Charlie” Whitehead was recently honored at a special ceremony in Nashville by the Tennessee branch of the American Red Cross for 20 years of volunteer service.

Whitehead joined the Red Cross in 1999, and has since been instumental in its operations within Fentress County, serving as an avid volunteer here, and acting as a link between the Fentress County chapter and the broader Red Cross organization. In his capacity as a Director of the Red Cross, now known as a Community Volunteer Leader (CVL) Whitehead has been very involved with the local emergency service agencies, coordinating numerous initiatives and consistently looking for ways to improve these services by working with others.

Although it might come as a surprise to some, the Fentress County chapter of the Red Cross is one of the most active branches in the State, with connections that span all facets of the local emergency services. By utilizing the Fentress County Emergency Services Organization (FCESO), which serves as the local emergency planning committee, and the local news media, the Red Cross has developed a network of relationships to facilitate enhanced communications and coordination in the event of an emergency. This network has proved to be successful during many disaster situations, most recently in the ice storm of 2015, when Fentress County was able to open shelters and coordinate relief efforts much more quickly and efficiently than virtually every other county in the Upper Cumberland. This network has drawn the attention of state leaders in the Red Cross, who are currently looking for ways to emulate it statewide. For his part in cultivating this network over the last 20 years, the Tennessee Red Cross saw fit to honor Charlie Whitehead with an award for outstanding volunteerism.

Whitehead’s award ceremony was accompanied by a question and answer session between Charlie and members of the Red Cross who wished to learn more about how to engage their communities. Both Red Cross administrators and volunteers took the opportunity to learn from Whitehead’s years of community service.

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