Friday, January 24, 2014

Congratulations to Our New APAT Members in Tennessee

Our brand new Advanced Public Affairs Team members were just announced in Tennessee!  We are so proud of Beth Toll, Scott Toncray, Greg Waite and Bob Wallace for being selected this year.  Congratulations, everyone!

Disaster Public Affairs is a support function within the American Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services. When a disaster relief operation is established, trained public affairs workers are assigned to coordinate public affairs efforts and initiatives. For every disaster, the affected chapter coordinates the initial public affairs response which is primarily to inform the public of Red Cross efforts and deliver timely updates to local media outlets. Tactics include implementing a proactive, reactive and interactive public affairs posture.

In some disasters, the scope and scale of the impact is greater than one chapter and media interest might be elevated. When national media visibility is high, additional public affairs resources are assigned from outside of the immediate, affected area. During these times, members of the Advanced Public Affairs Team (APAT), a specialty track within Disaster Public Affairs, are assigned and deployed through the normal channels of the disaster response program.

Since its inception in 1994, APAT members have been deployed to tell the Red Cross disaster relief story by working with national media, staffing federal or state emergency operations centers as public information liaisons, writing stories about relief efforts, and gathering photo images and video clips to share online and with media sources.

APAT consists of more than 100 professionals nationwide with diverse backgrounds in communications, public affairs, media relations, journalism and related fields.

Meet our new APAT members:

Beth Toll

Beth Toll is the Regional Director of Communications for the Tennessee Volunteer Region of the American Red Cross.  She has been with the organization for over nine years and has previously served as the Development Director for the Heart of Tennessee Chapter and the Public Relations & Marketing Director for the Greater Chattanooga Area Chapter.  She deployed to help with Public Affairs in September 2013 to assist with the Colorado Floods and has also managed Communications for many local disasters from fires, floods and tornadoes across the state of Tennessee during her time with the Red Cross.  Toll is a graduate of the College of Communications at the University of Tennessee (’04) as well as a graduate of the 2009 Leadership Rutherford Program.


Scott Toncray

Scott E. Toncray, APR is president and chief strategic officer at, a public relations firm based in Franklin, Tenn. He has more than 13 years of public relations experience in local, global and government organizations and worked in Uganda, Tanzania, Panama, Papua New Guinea and Guatemala. He also served with FEMA as a public information officer during Hurricane Katrina. 
He is an active volunteer with the American Red Cross since his first job lifeguarding and now serves as a disaster public affairs volunteer.


Greg Waite

Greg Waite is the CEO of the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee. A 7 year veteran of the organization, Greg moved to Tennessee and his current role in 2013 after spending 6 years as Chief Development Officer in the Evansville Region. Prior to joining the Red Cross, Greg was a Television News Anchor/Reporter in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia. Outside of working for the Red Cross, Greg is also an avid social media enthusiast, serving as a consultant for several companies and organizations as well as being a speaker for area colleges about Public Relations, Crisis Communications and Social media. Greg is a graduate of Bethany College in WV and grew up in Pittsburgh.


Bob Wallace

Bob Wallace is the Lead Public Affairs Volunteer at the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross in Memphis, Tennessee. He has been a Red Cross volunteer for a little over two years, during which time he has deployed to four national DRO's as a public affairs specialist: Superstorm Sandy, the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Illinois, and Colorado Flooding. Bob is a retired freelance science writer and Master Teacher of Science at New York University. Bob grew up in Memphis; he is married to Lana Wallace, has two sons, and three grandkids. His education background includes a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and a M.A. degree in Journalism.


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