Corporate responsibility panel

Brad Hundt/Observer-Reporter

From left are Walt Jennings of the American Red Cross; Robin Mungo, retired from the Pennsylvania State Police; and Brian Kohlhepp of the Ross Township Police Department.

SOUTHPOINTE -- Whether or not corporations are people was a point of contention in the 2012 presidential campaign, but they do contain people who can help out in a crisis.

That was the gist of a workshop held Thursday morning hosted by the Chevron Center for Corporate Social Responsibility at Waynesburg University. Law enforcement, academic and nonprofit officials joined with representatives from such companies as Columbia Gas and 84 Lumber at NOAH's Event Venue at Southpointe to discuss how companies and organizations outside the domain of first responders can assist when disaster strikes.

Along with people, companies and other institutions can actually provide equipment after a calamity, according to Brian Kohlhepp, a detective in the Ross Township Police Department and an assistant professor in the history, politics, society and law department at California University of Pennsylvania.

"Does your company have an asset that can be provided?" Kohlhepp said, citing such items as backhoes and drones.

Nevertheless, having people at the ready is an important component of disaster recovery, said Walt Jennings of the Southwest Pennsylvania branch of the American Red Cross.

"The most important thing is whether people are available," he said. He also stated that "in a disaster situation, it's really important that the community have leadership."

The Chevron Center for Corporate Social Responsibility opened last October, and its work includes putting on educational seminars, promoting proven methodologies, networking and more. It opened as a result of a $250,000 commitment from Chevron.

Staff Writer

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. He serves as editorial page editor, and has covered the arts and entertainment and worked as a municipal beat reporter.

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