Family volunteers in honor of mother

NILES – A Champion family will be teaching others how to prepare for disasters in memory of their mother, Diana Reedy, at the NEO Preparedness Day being held today at the Eastwood Mall.

“She just poured hours and hours into helping out. It was really her heart to help people,” daughter Davina Holbrook said.

The event which is being put on by the American Red Cross and Dominion East Ohio will teach participants the importance of being ready in the event of an unforseeable disaster.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., participants will be given the opportunity to test their knowledge on safety and disaster preparation. A five-minute test and follow-up test will be given by a trained volunteer – most likely a member of Reedy’s family. Her husband, best friend, children and grandchildren will be manning the event in shifts.

Participants who take both tests will receive a “safety backpack” filled with supplies such as an emergency blanket, a first-aid kit and a face mask.

Holbrook said she was looking for a way to honor her mother’s memory by volunteering for the Red Cross – an organization for which Reedy frequently volunteered. Reedy helped bring food to those in Leavittsburg affected by flooding and spent two weeks in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina..

“She didn’t ever bat an eye,” Holbrook said of her mother’s eagerness to help.

This coming July will mark five years since Reedy died from toxic megacolon, a complication of the large intestine, after having an allergic reaction to medicine from a surgery six months prior.

“Rather than mourn her death, we celebrate her life,” Holbrook said.

When she called Karen Conklin, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Red Cross, looking for a way to get involved, Conklin suggested helping with the day-long event.

“What a great way to honor her memory by working for the Red Cross and making sure other families are safe,” Conklin said.