By Andria Barrios

Nearly 30 years ago, ECHO, the Emergency Care Help Organization, was established. The Brandon Community has benefitted much from this 501(c)(3) charity, whose mission is to provide emergency care to families in need and help them back to self-sufficiency.

One staff member has faithfully aided this organization and helped it to become so beneficial to the community. As director of ECHO for the past 13 years, Stacey Efaw is finally stepping down and moving on to a new chapter in her life. “I absolutely love ECHO and there is a big part of me that is sad to go,” Efaw said.

This powerful staff member has enjoyed the satisfaction of helping people in the area. “Unfortunately in life, it is difficult to predict a crisis and we have a place in the Brandon area where people can go for help,” she says. “I am so proud of how much ECHO has grown since I started.” Efaw claims that this growth has been made possible through the amazing staff, board and group of volunteers.

She also credits this success to the generosity of the Brandon community. “It never ceases to amaze me how people step up and help out when there is a problem,” she said proudly.

Daily, ECHO serves about 15 to 30 families going through a crisis. This charity not only provides for their needs, but gives hope for the future. “It really is easy to help someone.  A smile, hug or encouraging word can go a long way. Just look around you, and come across someone each day who needs some encouragement.”

Efaw plans on moving to St. Petersburg and getting married where she will help her husband with his company, ABF Behavioral Health. As of June 12, Eleanor Saunders plans on taking her place as director of ECHO. “I couldn’t be happier. She is an amazing woman who is passionate about the Brandon community and helping those in need,” said Efaw.

The Emergency Care Help Organization is located at 507 N. Parsons Ave. For more information, visit www.echofl.org or www.facebook.com/ECHOBrandon/.