Dewald departs Red Cross; Her job may move
Beth Dewald, executive director of the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, has resigned, and her position in James- town could potentially move elsewhere.
“It was something that has been kind of in the works for a while, and it just was time,” Dewald said of her departure from the Red Cross.
Dewald had served with the Red Cross for more than 16 years in Jamestown, and prior to that, was on its board of directors. She had also worked for 7 1/2 years for the Red Cross in Minnesota.
“…we are very appreciative for the service (Dewald) gave for the American Red Cross,” said Judy Green, regional executive for the Red Cross. “… she’s pursuing other opportunities.”
Dewald thanked the community for all the support people have provided to the Red Cross, volunteers and Dewald herself.
She said it was time to take a break, have time with her husband and take a few weeks off — and rebuild her resume.
“American Red Cross is a phenomenal organization, and their mission is to serve their communities,” Dewald said.
The next steps
The American Red Cross Dakotas Region, which is composed of North Dakota, South Dakota and western Minnesota, is divided into four areas.
The northeast part, Minn-Kota, includes Jamestown as well as Fargo, Grand Forks and northwestern Minnesota, Green indicated. Minn-Kota had two paid Red Cross positions — a manager, and a disaster program specialist, which was what Dewald did, Green said.
“We will be filling that position,” Green added.
While the disaster program specialist will need to live within the Minn-Kota area, he or she will not have to reside — or work — in Jamestown, meaning that the Jamestown office may be closed.
“We are going to be looking for the top candidate,” Green said. “If there is someone in this community … we would welcome their application.”
Currently, the office remains open, and a decision on whether to keep it open will be made once that position is filled, she added, likely within the next few months. The position will be posted at RedCross.org, likely in July.
Dewald was the only paid Red Cross staff member in the Jamestown area, though there are 30 Red Cross volunteers in Jamestown, including seven Red Cross volunteer leaders.
There are more than 400 volunteers across the Dakotas region, meaning that 7.5 percent of all regional Red Cross volunteers are from the Jamestown area.
Minn-Kota’s other paid staff person currently resides in Fargo, and the regional office for the entire American Red Cross Dakotas Region is in Grand Forks. Another paid Red Cross employee resides in Bismarck, which is part of the Western North Dakota area.
Green emphasized that there will be no change in service delivery in Jamestown, regardless of whether the position migrates elsewhere and the office closes its doors.
“We’re not abandoning the city of Jamestown or anybody else,” said Brian Shawn, regional communications officer with the Red Cross.
Most likely, the shelter trailer, which includes supplies needed to set up an emergency shelter, would remain in Jamestown. Volunteers may store their own equipment and carry their own supplies, and any new items would be sent to them directly in order to pre-position resources before they’re needed.
In searching for a new disaster program specialist, the Red Cross will likely seek someone with emergency management experience or a degree in emergency management, Green said. Often people seeking the position have backgrounds or degrees in social work as well. Having a passion for the Red Cross mission is critical, she added.
“We care about this community and this area, and we will continue to serve the Red Cross mission to all those who are impacted, today and tomorrow,” Green said.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org