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Madison gears up for ReadyFest, slated for March 30

MADISON — With the recent tornado devastation in Lee County, there is no better time than the present to prepare for disasters. That’s why Madison is holding its second annual ReadyFest March 30 at West Madison Elementary from 9 a.m. – noon.

ReadyFest is free for all to attend. Everyone will be able to enjoy snow cones, popcorn and cooking demonstrations as they take advantage of important lessons and resources.

“Our goal is to help the residents of Madison as individuals and families become self-sufficient, which then enables us to grow as a community and build the community that we want and improve in general,” said Rebecca Brown at the March 11 Madison City Council meeting.

With ReadyFest, organizers hope to help attendees understand that “life happens: you need a plan.” The event will consist of eight different areas of focus: home and family, community, spiritual strength, finances, health and wellness, education, natural disasters, and career.

ReadyFest has already garnered a long list of participants to lead attendees in these lessons, and according to Brown, that list keeps growing.

A few of this year’s participants include WAFF Chief Meteorologist Brad Travis, CERT’s Cathy Nerger, and Madison County EMA Director Jeff Birdwell. Programs will take place in four locations within the school: the library, room 109, the cafeteria and the gym. Room 109 will host a few Christian-based classes led by local pastors and a local Christian life coach, while the cafeteria will have classes to help attendees learn alternative ways to cook. In front of the gym, Phoenix Automotive will offer three classes on basic car care.

Brown said highlights will include learning how to prepare for natural disasters, from organizing a 72-hour kit to learning about storm shelters. “We’re pleased to announce that Rhodes Construction is going to offer a discount for all those who come and look at those,” she added.

Financial planning and alternate education sources will be addressed as well, and Ace Hardware has donated equipment to help teach attendees a few lessons on car and home repair.

In terms of health and wellness, Brown said opportunities will include a blood drive, information on the opioid epidemic from HEMSI and lessons from local students on first aid.

Gary Chynoweth, director of the Engineering Department in the City of Madison, will present information on infrastructure issues in the city. Madison Police Department, Madison Fire and Rescue and Huntsville Hospital will have opportunities and presentations onsite as well.

Anyone interested in volunteering at ReadyFest can visit JustServe.org. “We have lots of opportunities and need help, but it’s also an opportunity and platform for any organization that needs volunteers,” Brown said.

District 1 Councilwoman Maura Wroblewski has been a large proponent of ReadyFest and expressed her support at the meeting. “It has been such a pleasure to work with Rebecca and her team of many, many people,” she said. “There’s a lot of work that’s gone into this event, and it’s really a great gift to our community, especially those who are such a transitory society. Those who come here are not familiar with what all you do in a tornado. … Through (Brown’s) organization, she’s just been able to help us have a lot of communication, a lot of resources, so I’m very thankful to work with them.”

To find out more information or see a complete schedule of the day’s events, visit madisonreadyfest.com.

West Madison Elementary School is located at 4976 Wall Triana Highway.

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