Pagnotta assumes Red Cross duties
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
Along with his other duties as the head of the local American Red Cross chapter, Nick Pagnotta is currently taking inventory of the emergency supplies stored in the basement of the Downtown Armory in Madison.|
The inventory is somewhat related to how East Coast residents have worked at recovery from the effects of Hurricane Sandy during the last several weeks. Residents of states such as New York and New Jersey have needed to work through power outages, gas rationing and other shortages while rebuilding from damage caused by the "superstorm."
Pagnotta is taking stock of how well the local Red Cross can help residents of Kingsbury, Lake and Miner counties recover from a local disaster, such as spring flooding or a massive winter blizzard.
"When you look at the amount of help that people have provided to those persons hit by Sandy, you have to admire that generosity," Pagnotta said. "Right now, I'm looking at how we can help ourselves if something similar happens locally."
What Pagnotta has found on hand overall falls into the category of uneven. In the armory storeroom, the Red Cross has boxes of flashlights available, but the batteries that are stored away have gone past their expiration date. A pallet which stands next to a wall holds a quantity of sealed packages that contain bedding -- individual sheets, blankets and pillows. However, other donated items, such as sheets and towels, that are stored in cardboard boxes need sorting through because they're in need of relaundering and freshening up.
Pagnotta will check on the status of stored disposable eating utensils such as plastic forks, knives and plates. He'll do the same sort of review to boxes of medical supplies to make certain that they are still usable.
"It's important to make sure that we have what we need, when we need it," Pagnotta said. "I'm working on getting things updated and freshened up."
According to Pagnotta, the local chapter needs to be prepared for everything from assisting an overseas military service member in obtaining compassionate leave to be with relatives to helping a town recover from a tornado.
Pagnotta's executive director position is part-time, and he'll hold office hours from 2-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Red Cross, located on the upper floor of Madison's City Hall.
The Great Plains chapter of the Red Cross that serves Kingsbury, Lake and Miner counties had its executive director's position switched from full-time to part-time last year in a cost-cutting move made by American Red Cross regional officials. In early September 2011, Lou Vogt, who had served as chapter executive director in Madison for about nine years, resigned. Later, Dayle Sundberg, the part-time executive director of the Brookings Red Cross chapter, started serving the Great Plains chapter as its part-time head.
Pagnotta, 33, started the local job with the Red Cross on Sept. 17; this is the first time he's worked for the nonprofit organization. Previously, he served as a hospital chaplain at facilities such as the Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, Ark., Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and Sanford Health Hospital in Sioux Falls. He worked for Sanford Health for about 2 1/2 years.
He moved to Madison after his September 2011 marriage to the Rev. Elizabeth Hoium, a youth and family pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Madison.
According to Pagnotta, he has already had the opportunity to help a Lake Madison resident who lost his home to a fire by providing shelter, food and clothing.
He's met with residents to help everyone reintegrate in having a local person heading the Madison Red Cross chapter. Pagnotta has met with the student council at Madison High School, student representatives at Dakota State University, and young professionals in DeSmet.
"I'm letting people know that the local Red Cross chapter is available to help, and that a new director is here in town," Pagnotta said.
Individuals can call 256-0550; his phone has voice mail to leave a message outside of office hours. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
The regional office in Sioux Falls is supported by a 24-hour staff that is available by calling 605-336-2448.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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