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Heard to replace Codding in Morgan-Lawrence chapter

By Paul Huggins 340-2395

Debbie Heard will replace Susan Codding as director of the Morgan-Lawrence County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Heard said she is leaving her former position as administrator for First United Methodist Church because she wants a new challenge where she can apply her zeal for mission work.

She has served First United Methodist since 1992, where she was in charge of youths and adults education for five years.

She left temporarily and returned in 1999 to lead adult education and missions until assuming the administrator's role in 2004.

"Being in charge of missions, I've really developed a passion for what nonprofits can do," she said. "Even though this is not a religious organization, it has that mission and purpose to attain goals for the common good.

"We're doing something that counts," she said.

Heard said she applied for the position because of respect she has for and support she received from Jerry Reed, a longtime Red Cross board member. She also said the chapter is in strong shape because of good leadership, and because the organization impressed her for how it assisted Hurricane Katrina victims while she participated in church mission trips in Mississippi.

Heard has served other non-profits, including Parents and Children Together, which recently named her its 2007 volunteer of the year. PACT praised her for her fundraising and public speaking skills as well as for getting other civic groups to partner with PACT.

Among her PACT roles was advocacy chairwoman, which she said helped her confidently give her opinions to lawmakers, even when they disagreed with her.

"So I think I found my voice through PACT," she said, also listing organizational and fundraising as skills she developed at PACT.

The Florence native said her new challenge will be to make sure the community knows the many ways the Red Cross serves and to pull in new leaders whom the organization can depend upon for years to come.

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