Hurst steps in to lead Crisis CenterPublished 11:42am Friday, June 28, 2013
While Karen Howle Hurst will be new to the director position at the Tallapoosa Christian Crisis Center, she will take over with some familiarity of the Alexander City area.
Hurst is the new director of the crisis center, taking over for former director Marla Browne.
A long-time resident of Talladega County, Hurst is familiar the Tallapoosa County area, having coordinated with area disaster-relief agencies on a regular basis.
“I have worked for the last two years as a district disaster specialist for the Red Cross, which covers eight counties. One of those counties is Tallapoosa County,” Hurst said. “So within the last two years I have worked in Tallapoosa County and gotten to know a lot of the people here, a lot of the agencies in disaster response and relief. That’s how I got to know Marla Browne.”
In her work with the Red Cross, Hurst said she also coordinated with local agencies during the outbreak of tornadoes in the area.
She said she has always enjoyed helping others through volunteer work.
“I have been a volunteer most all my life in some capacity. I have done some mission work, we’ve volunteered to feed the homeless, and just any kind of projects we have volunteered as a family,” Hurst said. “I have always done volunteer-type work my whole life and involved my children as well.”
Hurst said through her degree in emergency management she gained a desire to empower people to help themselves by helping them prepare for the worst.
“In doing that you can teach people how to be ready prior to disasters because in any disaster, your neighbors are the first responders – you are the first responder,” Hurst said. “I really bought in to that. The more I got involved in it, it really became clear to me that my degree fit with helping people, and I thought this is what I want to do the rest of my life – not just as a volunteer but as a job.”
Hurst said she is excited to start at the crisis center and ready to find new ways to help out others in the community.
“I think in non-profits, you always have your long-term goals for the organization, but you work on short-term needs,” Hurst said. “I am always anxious to see within the scope of what the organization has set up, not only what is the mission, but where are we going with that. It is about helping people, but is there more that we can do in the community to help people help themselves and reach out to people we might not have before?”
Hurst said she is also excited about joining a community that has already been very welcoming to her.
“I am just thrilled to be here. I have been taken in by this county. For me to make the decision to move here and to take a position here was a big thing for me, but in working with the people and agencies around here during the tornados, they have been like family,” Hurst said. “They have treated me like family, so I already feel like I have that home base. I just can’t wait to get started.”