The Texas Big Country Chapter of the American Red Cross met on Monday evening at its Brownwood location for its annual meeting and awards banquet, recognizing outstanding volunteers and staff members throughout the region.   

It was the chapter’s 100th annual meeting. Following a barbecue dinner, chapter executive director Katrina Farmer welcomed attendees and gave opening remarks.   

“Because of each of you in this room, the American Red Cross is still a relevant and vibrant organization even after 100 years,” Farmer said. “Thank you for being a part of this awesome organization.   

“Our Brownwood office is a very special place in Texas Big Country,” she said. “This is the only office that’s run entirely by volunteers.”  Farmer recognized Johnny Gooch as the volunteer team leader, and Gooch handed out gifts to his group of volunteers.   

Finally, Farmer gave out the night’s main awards. The Brownwood CERT received the Red Cross Community Spirit Award for upholding “the highest standard of community spirit and care.”    

“This group has been a major part of the Brownwood community during disasters big and small, working alongside the American Red Cross on many occasions,” Farmer said. “CERT” stands for Community Emergency Response Team.   

Minessa Mesic won the Biggest Heart in Texas Big Country Award, Rob Leininger received Texas Big Country Employee of the Year and Brandy Beene was honored as the Texas Big Country Volunteer of the Year.   

Leininger previously served as the disaster program manager for the Brownwood and San Angelo area, and now works as the senior disaster program manager for the entire region. Beene’s award stemmed from her efforts to install fire detectors in many Brown County homes this year.   

The Red Cross provides disaster relief and volunteer services in communities across the country and around the world. The Brown County office can be reached at 325-646-0196 and is located at 901 Ave. B in Brownwood.