Volunteering Spans Generations for One Red Cross Family

Grandfather, Grandson in North Carolina Helping with Hurricane Response

Alejandro Reynoso is trying to teach his grandson a lesson. His classroom is a Red Cross emergency response vehicle.

Mr. Reynoso and his grandson, 18-year old Dominic drove the ERV from Arizona to North Carolina to help people affected by Hurricane Matthew.


“I think we should all take some time to contribute to society,” Mr. Reynoso says.  “It’s more of a duty.”

Dominic just graduated from high school, and isn’t sure what he wants to do in the future.  But for the present, he and his grandfather are busy dishing out bratwurst and baked beans, canned pears and potato chips to North Carolina residents impacted by flooding and other storm damage.

They make a good team.

“That lady told me she hadn’t eaten in three days,” Dominic says of one flood-affected resident, who received food prepared by the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization.  He gave her two meals and a case of bottled water.  “She said she has no water either.”img_2663

Mr. Reynoso is a Vietnam veteran who left his engineering firm to volunteer in North Carolina.  “That’s the price you pay.  It’s unconditional.  The reward is being asked to come back.”

That is the lesson he hopes to impart on his grandson.

If you would like to volunteer for the Red Cross, log onto redcross.org.


Photos and story: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

10 Home Fire Prevention Tips

With cold weather creeping in, it’s time to think about heating your home.

Here are ten tips you can take, today, to help your family stay safe this winter:

  1. Install a smoke alarm on every level of the home, and inside and outside each sleeping area.
  2. Make sure that the cooking area is free from items that can catch fire, like dish towels or pot holders.
  3. Check your electrical cords to verify that they are not frayed or cracked.
  4. Never leave children and pets with unattended with candles.
  5. Clean out your clothes dryer lint filter and venting system (this should also improve how well your dryer works!)
  6. Carbon monoxide alarms should be located on each level of the home. And, yes, you can take the “two birds, one stone” approach by buying a combination CO2/Smoke Alarm unit!
  7. Move furniture and other items that can catch fire so that they are at least 3-feet from fireplaces, wall heaters, baseboards, and space heaters.
  8. HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN with two ways out of each room!

You can help community members in your area receive a free smoke alarm installation by donating to Operation Save-A-Life, the home fire prevention program offered through the Red Cross.

For a more thorough look at fire safety in your home, check out this Home Fire Safety Checklist.

Recovery Continues on East Coast

Twelve days have passed since Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the United States.  Many areas remain flooded. 26 Red Cross shelters remain open, with over 1,400 individuals seeking lodging there on Monday night.


As waters begin to recede, the second stage of the Red Cross recovery efforts will begin. We will start to work with those affected to provide navigation through the web of assistance available to them, not just through the Red Cross, but through other organizations such as FEMA.


Some of our img_2537volunteers are out in communities – as conditions permit – across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida to provide warm meals and relief supplies. Some are on the ground accessing the damages to homes (a step necessary for a family to obtain financial assistance), while others begin to meet with families and individuals to help them map out their own recovery process.

img_2526All told, the Red Cross has mobilized almost 5,000 disaster workers, 235 response vehicles, 19 partner-supported kitchens as well as truckloads of water, ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets, kitchen items, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more.

Overall, Red Cross and community partners have served more than 931,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 187,000 relief items, supported more than 19,000 health and mental health services, and provided 93,000 overnight stays in shelters.

How can you help?

MAKE A DONATION – The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

GIVE BLOOD – We’d also like to ask public to remember the blood needs of the Red Cross. Hurricane Matthew has already forced the cancellation of many blood drives along the East Coast, and more could be cancelled. If you’re in an unaffected area, please give blood or platelets now, so we can continue to help patients in need. Go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER – People can make a difference in someone’s life by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. To join us, visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. To learn more about national deployment, read this story.


Another Successful Save-a-Life Saturday

Would you know how to save someone’s life if they dropped to the ground in front of you?

Thanks to our ongoing partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Akron General, over 30 community members now know how to perform hands-only CPR.

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR for short, is a vital skill. The Red Cross has set a goal of having one person in every household able to perform CPR. Through programs like Save-a-Life Saturday (which is held annually) and our free Citizen CPR courses, we are well on our way!

Here is a quick video that demonstrates how to perform CPR:



To learn more about our Citizen CPR course, contact your local chapter. For a complete listing of First Aid and CPR certification courses near you, visit redcross.org/takeaclass.


Photos: Mary Williams/American Red Cross


Volunteers from Across the U.S. Help in N.C.

Red Cross volunteers have come from all over the U. S. to help residents affected by flooding following Hurricane Matthew. About three dozen workers are from Northeast Ohio

Flooding in North Carolina is expected to persist through the weekend, as rivers continue to crest six days post-hurricane.

At the Western Prong Baptist Church in Whiteville, North Carolina on Thursday, October 13, volunteers from several states arrived in Emergency Response Vehicles to deliver meals prepared at the mobile kitchen set up by the Southern Baptist Convention.


A dozen states were represented by Red Cross volunteers, who traveled to North Carolina, some of them driving for days, to help residents by distributing food, water, and clean-up kits.

Volunteers came o the kitchen in ERVs from Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.  They have been trained by the Red Cross to help deliver mass care during disasters.

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New volunteers can be trained to drive ERVs, run shelters, and many more essential services provided by the Red Cross during times of crisis.  If you’re interested, log onto  redcross.org/neo and click the volunteer tab to begin the application process.

From the Titanic to Service: Dispatches from the East Coast

img_2098-2Dori Baumwart is passionate about service to others.

She is a Red Cross volunteer from Greenville, SC, assisting with sheltering in the southern part of the state during the Hurricane Matthew disaster relief operation.  Dori has a smile that is contagious, and even while waiting for her shelter assignment, she constantly asks, “What else can I do for you?”

Dori traces her love of helping strangers cope with disaster to her paternal grandmother, Amy.  When Amy was in her early twenties in 1912, her doctor told her she needed to leave her home in Great Britain to a warmer climate, so she booked a second-class passage on a ship headed for America.  As an unmarried woman traveling alone, Amy was an oddity on the Titanic but she was excited about starting her new life.

amy-stanleyAs the Titanic sank into the cold, Atlantic waters, Amy found herself standing on the deck as the lifeboat in front of her was filled to capacity. However, a young man who had a seat saw her there, and without any pressure from other passengers, he leaped out and offered his spot to her.

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the sacrifice of this unknown gentleman,” says Dori.  “My grandmother eventually met and married my grandfather in the United States.  What’s really neat is that the survivors from the Titanic were housed at the Met Life building in New York City after the Carpathian rescued them.  I worked for Met Life, so I always felt like everything came full circle.”

Today, as Dori prepares to head to the shelter to care for evacuees, she proudly shares the story of how her grandmother survived so that she could pay it forward.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Red Cross, get started on your application today at http://www.redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteer!

Story and Photos by Michelle Hankes/American Red Cross from redcrosssc.blogspot.com

Volunteer Stories: Why They Give Back

North Carolina Residents Help Their Neighbors Following Hurricane Matthew

Leween and James McIntosh joined hands with members of a family who had taken refuge from Hurricane Matthew inside a shelter at a school in Bergaw, North Carolina, and said grace.  The Red Cross volunteers then joined the family for a Sunday dinner of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and beans, prepared by school cafeteria workers.

It will be some time before the family of India Davis will have a home cooked meal.  Their home was destroyed by a tree that fell during the storm.

“It’s a miracle no one was hurt,” said the grandmother of two rambunctious boys.

red-cross-volunteers-james-and-leween-mcintosh-assist-india-davis-at-a-shelter-in-bergaw-nc-after-her-house-was-destroyed-by-hurricane-matthewThe McIntoshes are Red Cross caseworkers who helped the Davis family obtain initial assistance, and who will help them develop a plan for recovering from the losses they suffered.  They have been Red Cross volunteers for just over a year.

Following Sunday supper, Red Cross volunteers Luis Diaz and his son Eric got busy assembling cots for the night ahead, while Luis’ wife Anabela completed required paperwork.  The Diaz family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina from New York several years ago, for the lower cost-of-living and better schools. Luis says he began volunteering with the Red Cross 10 years ago.  He started as a community relations liaison, and now helps people during disasters.

“I wanted to give back to the community.”

It wasn’t long before Anabela began to volunteer as well. She, too wanted to give back.

“I liked the activities, what he was doing, and what he was giving to the community.”

Their son Eric became a volunteer when he turned 18.


Volunteers like the McIntosh and Diaz families are essential to the mission of the American Red Cross. More than 90% of the Red Cross workforce is comprised of volunteers, people who, like the McIntosh and Diaz family help their neighbors when disaster strikes.

Log onto redcross.org to learn more about becoming a volunteer.

In addition, we will host a four hour session on how you can volunteer to assist those affected by Hurricane Matthew, and other disasters, this Friday, October 14 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Greater Cleveland office at 3747 Euclid Ave.

Reserve a seat by emailing luis.rivera@redcross.org or call 216-426-7549.

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross