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Q&A with Lanell Mantey

By Sonny Long
June 22, 2010 at 1:22 a.m.

Lanell Mantey

WHO IS LANELL MANTEY?

HOMETOWN: Victoria

AGE: 42

HIGH SCHOOL: 1985 graduate of Stroman High

COLLEGE: Graduate of University of Houston - Victoria

FAMILY: Mother of two sons, ages 10 and 12

WHY YOU MIGHT KNOW HER: Taught special education at Chandler Elementary School the last seven years. Prior to that, she taught at the Devereux Foundation Victoria campus.

Lanell Mantey has only been on the job a week as the new executive director of the Crossroads Chapter of the American Red Cross, but that doesn't keep her telephone from ringing off the hook.

"I was thinking last week how I am going to know all this information, but people keep telling me it will all come with time and get easier," she said. "Everyone has been really nice. I think it will work out."

The Victoria native and former special education teacher took a few minutes out of her busy day Tuesday to answer a few questions about herself and her new job.

Q: What attracted you to this position?

A: I have always been involved in nonprofits. So when this opportunity came about to serve the community, I thought this would be another way for me to teach the community as well as being involved in a nonprofit. That was my driving force to make the change. I've also heard a lot of great things about what the Red Cross does for this community as well as the six other communities we service.

Q: What are some of the strengths you think you bring to this position?

A: I think it's my familiarity with this area. I know a lot of people that live here and in the surrounding counties. I am familiar with the layout. With me having an already established relationship, it should make it easier to build a stronger relationship with the Red Cross and get people to understand all the services we provide.

Q: What are some things you want people to know about the Red Cross that may not be common knowledge.

A: One of the things that many people do not know is that we are not funded by the government at all. All of our funding comes from donations. Although we are required by the government to support any disasters, we are not funded by them. Also, the Red Cross does so much more than disaster relief. We teach classes - CPR, babysitting classes, many more - we also connect military personnel with their families in a crisis. There are so many things that I didn't know that Red Cross did for this area, it's just amazing. It's been a learning experience.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge?

A: Reaching out to the six counties and making them realize they are all a part of one. I want them to join together and work as a huge team. That's my goal. I also feel like people need to learn more about services Red Cross provides. A lot of people assume we teach classes and that's all we do. My goal is to do a lot of teaching with the adults in the communities about the services we provide.

Q: Of course fundraising is always going to be at the forefront, right?

A: It's always a big thing. And that's another big part of my job. I've come up with a list of ideas. I am shooting to do quarterly fundraisers instead of one big one, which is the M.A.S.H. Bash. I'd like to see us do little ones throughout the year to keep people familiar with us, teach them what we do and support the community throughout the year.

Q: Anything else you'd like to talk about?

A: One thing the community really needs to start thinking about right now is hurricane season. That's one thing we are working on, building a regional team. There's a lot to be done as far as evacuations and setting up emergency care. Linda May, our disaster coordinator, can always use volunteers to help with disaster relief. Other volunteers, too, like CPR trainers or other instructors, are always welcome.

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