CHICKASAW COUNTY – It is October, but a half-dozen local agencies got an early Christmas present with the Mississippi State Extension Service donating more than $100,000 in used computers to the county.
The donation is part of an upgrade of the Extension Service’s computers across the region and state and Chickasaw County Extension Agent Scott Cagle said this is an ongoing program for his organization.
“With all the data and information we have to have access to at the Extension Service we update our computers regularly to provide faster and better service to the public,” said Cagle. “When we go through one of these upgrades we don’t want to throw these computers in the dump.”
Cagle said this round of computer donations saw 30 laptops and 30 desktop computers doled out to city and county offices in the area.
“And we also handed out dozens of cables, cords, power boxes, mouses, modems and network gear,” said Cagle. “This is good stuff and every bit of it is still usable.”
Cagle said Extension checks out each piece of equipment to make sure it is working and no sensitive information is left on the machine.
“These are top-of-the-line computers and they are all in good shape,” said Cagle. “We’re glad we can donate this equipment to people who can still use it for years to come.”
Cagle said equipment was donated to the City of Houston, City of Okolona, several Chickasaw County offices and to every volunteer fire department in Chickasaw County.
“Each one of our volunteer fire departments will use these computers every time they go on a call,” said Chickasaw County Fire Coordinator Jonathan Blankenship. “Every time we go on a call we have to do a report within 24-hours and send it to the state.
“We will also use these machines to keep up with equipment inventory and training,” said Blankenship. “People don’t realize fire departments are required to keep tons of paperwork and do a lot of bookkeeping. These computers will help us tremendously.”
Linda Griffin, Chickasaw County Emergency Management Coordinator, said they have needed portable laptops for several years.
“When there is a disaster we can send our people into the field to do a damage assessment with these computers,” said Griffin. “They can get the information of what has happened and we can get the help to the places that need it quicker and more efficiently.”
The MSU Extension Service began donating computers to local agencies more than 10 years ago.