Note: This story appears in the Friday, Sept. 20 newspaper on Page A1.
Editor’s Note: Each year, the Red Cross of Southeastern Ohio honors local residents and groups as part of the Hometown Heroes program. Our 2019 series continues today.
GALLIPOLIS — Every community could use a Jeff Mullins — a cheerful, dedicated first aid instructor who has devoted much of his life to organizing local programs, from the Toys for Tots to area food banks.
Luckily for Gallipolis, it has such a man, and he is being honored this year as the Red Cross Humanitarian Hero.
Mullins is a Charleston, West Virginia native who lived in various other towns in Ohio and Pennsylvania before serving in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1991.
In returning to civilian life, Mullins took on an unexpected role as a workplace safety leader. He grew to love the job, and has spent nearly three decades conducting training at workplaces like AEP and Lightstone Generation, which operates the Gavin Power Plant in Cheshire.
Mullins also teaches CPR, first aid and automated external defibrillator (AED) use outside of work to area coaches and first responders.
“It’s not always for at work,” he said of learning life-saving techniques, “it’s for at home and all over.”
He said this work has led him to other opportunities to help with organizations like the Lions Club, the Masons, the Red Cross and the United Way.
Charlene Hemphill nominated Mullins for the award, highlighting his involvement in the “Gallipolis in Lights” show, Secret Santa, local blood drives, placing flags on military graves, assisting area Boy Scouts groups with making bird houses and delivering supplies to food banks.
“Jeff Mullins goes above and beyond call of duty to make the community safe and a wonderful place to live,” Hemphill wrote. “We are fortunate to have Jeff in our community and he never slows down on his dedication to impact our community and (make) a positive footprint.”
Mullins said he is motivated to keep training and volunteering because “it’s about the community and helping people.”
The Humanitarian Hero Award is sponsored this year by Fairfield Inn/Hampton Inn. Mullins and eight other Hometown Heroes will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, Oct. 3 at Christ Community Wesleyan Church, Albany. Tickets are available through Sept. 30 at the Athens chapter office (100 S. May Ave.).