By Wayne Allen
Officials with the Ohio River Valley (ORV) Chapter of the American Red Cross announced exclusively to the Daily Times that they have hired Eddie Helphinstine Jr. as the area’s Disaster Program Manager (DPM).
Helphinstine spent his career in the United States Army as an Intelligence Officer, retiring in 2004 as a Major in the Army National Guard. According to released information, “after retiring, Helphinstine became a military contractor, working on a counter-narcotics project in Afghanistan and later training the Afghan military on intelligence operations.
In his new role, Helphinstine is responsible for all three phases of a disaster—preparation, response and recovery.
Helphinstine will serve as the main point of contact with first responders during disasters, receiving the calls and coordinating the efforts that launch Red Cross volunteers to assist both the first responders as well as those who are victims of a disaster and in need of help.
The ORV provides disaster services to Lawrence, Jackson, Scioto, Pike, Adams and Highland counties. Within the last 12 months, the ORV Office based in Portsmouth has supported 190 families during disasters.
“Eddie brings to the Ohio River Valley the ideal blend of strategic thinking and hands-on tactical experience,” says John Bernard, regional disaster officer who oversees the Red Cross’s disaster operations in the 27-county Greater Cincinnati-Dayton region, which includes the Ohio River Valley in a released statement. “He will be a great fit for all we are trying to do in the area and allow for a seamless transition.”
Helphinstine replaced Eli Allen, who is leaving the position for personal reasons but remains an active disaster response volunteer in the area.
“We are excited to have him on our team. He will bring some great experience to our group,” said Debbie Smith, community executive of ORV in a released statement.
Helphinstine received a Bachelor of Arts in history and military science from Morehead State University in Kentucky, where he was the top-ranked distinguished military graduate in the university’s ROTC program. He lives in Northern Kentucky.
For more information about the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross call 740-354-3293.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT