Blood drive volunteer serves as ambassador inspiring others to volunteer and give lifesaving blood

By Ifat Gazia, American Red Cross Volunteer
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

 

Mariann Pete1A 77-year-old American Red Cross volunteer from Ashtabula, Ohio, Mariann Pete likes to help people and be there for them during their emergencies. Marianne started volunteering seven years ago with her primary duties focused on managing blood donors at Ashtabula County Medical Center (ACMC) in Ashtabula County. An inspiration for people of all ages who consider volunteering part-time, Mariann has volunteered since 2002 two to three times every month with her weekly hours ranging between four to five.

In 1980, Mariann’s son needed expensive blood transfusions. Her friend became a donor. “It was my friend who came forward to donate his blood to my son. Transfusions at that time would have been otherwise unaffordable for me,” she said.

While reflecting on her volunteering experiences, Mariann added, “The practice of volunteering is very rewarding, allowing me to meet different people as well who come to ACMC hospital for their blood transfusions or donations. It is a good thing that I get to interact with all of them. The staff is also nice in the hospital and over the years I [have gotten] to know most of the people working there.”

Photos by Paul Wadowick, American Red Cross volunteer

“Mariann Pete is very well-known and respected by all in her community,” said Tara Dragon, Red Cross Account Manager. “She welcomes all donors with a loving, caring smile, volunteering with all of her heart.  She is a great help to myself and to the American Red Cross in making a difference in her community, and to the lives of recipients and donors.  I want thank Mariann personally for all that she does.”

Other than volunteering at ACMC on a routine basis where she registers the donors and sometimes manages the canteen, Mariann also volunteers at blood drives in different schools and churches in and around Ashtabula County.

There is a critical need for blood donor ambassadors like Mariann in Ashtabula County, and for blood donors throughout Northeast Ohio to help replenish the lifesaving supply during the severe blood shortage currently being experienced. Their efforts are vital as the Red Cross heads into the difficult holiday blood collection season. Visit redcross.org/neo for more information and to complete a volunteer application.  And to make a blood donation appointment, visit redcrossblood.org

 

 

 

A call for blood: Red Cross issues plea for blood and platelet donations

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio
Photo credit: Jim McIntyre, Regional Communications Manager

The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage and urgently needs blood and platelet donors to give now to avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients. Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to prevent the shortage from worsening this winter.

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Blood donor Michelle Polinko and Red Cross Collections Technician Willie Muse

Launching an appeal in November is unprecedented for the Red Cross, and everyone is needed to help replenish supplies as we head into a difficult holiday blood collection season.

During September and October, coupled with hurricanes Michael and Florence, the Red Cross collected over 21,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than what hospitals needed. Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O, due to it being a universal donor and for its ability to be used for all blood types, and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to donate at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Additionally, more than 130 blood drives in Northeast Ohio are needed in December, January and February to help stop the shortage from continuing throughout winter. Donations often decline during the winter holidays when many groups postpone blood drives while regular donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Severe winter weather may also cause blood drive cancellations contributing to fewer donations than needed.

Only 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate. However, less than 10 percent of those who are eligible actually donate. Time and time again, people state the reason they never considered donating blood was simply because they were never asked. Well Northeast Ohio, consider yourself asked!

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Red Cross blood donor Emily Probst

How to help:

Eligible donors can find a blood or platelet donation opportunity and schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass, are encouraged to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass lets donors complete the pre-donation reading and answer the health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from the convenience of a mobile device or computer, or through the Blood Donor App.

IMG_6405For those in the Greater Cleveland Area interested in giving blood and donating platelets, the Red Cross has blood donation centers in Cleveland and Parma. The Warzel Blood Donation Center is located at the Regional Headquarters on 3747 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland and is open from 7 am to 3 pm on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 12 pm to 8 pm Tuesday to Thursday.

The Parma Donation Center is located on 5585 Pearl Avenue and is open from 12 pm to 8 pm Monday to Thursday and 7 am to 3 pm Friday to Sunday.

The Red Cross also has a donation center in our Akron office and a donation center in Mansfield.

Those interested in hosting a blood drive can learn more and sign up to sponsor a drive this winter, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we are thankful for the loyal donors who give the gift of life regularly. Here are some helpful facts as you prepare to take the next steps to donate today:

  • The average person has about 10 to 12 pints of blood in his or her body.
  • There are 4 blood groups: A, B, AB and O.
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • Red cells, which contain hemoglobin, carry oxygen throughout the blood and give blood its red color, are used to treat trauma or surgery patients.
  • Platelets helps prevent massive blood loss by helping blood clot and is used to treat cancer patients, organ transplant patients and surgery patients.
  • You can donate blood every 56 days and you can donate platelets up to 24 hours a day.
  • You must be at least 17 years old to donate. In Ohio, you can donate blood if you are 16 years old and have written parental consent.
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds. Additional weight requirements apply
    for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school donors.
  • From beginning to end, the blood donation process takes about one hour and 15 minutes to donate blood and three hours to donate platelets.
  • The Red Cross does not charge for the blood itself, but does recoup the many costs associated with the donation process.
  • After you donate, you can enjoy juice and cookies in the refreshment area and think about the difference you’ve made!

Red Cross program manager recognized as high impact leader

Provides leadership to offer Service to the Armed Forces 

By Jim McIntyre, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Jessica Tischler has been all over Ireland, Western Europe and Southeast Asia, but she never imagined being on a calendar.

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Jessica Tischler, Regional Program Manager, Service to the Armed Forces

That’s one of the ways in which she is being recognized as a Woman WELDing the Way.

WELD is an acronym for Women for Economic and Leadership Development. The national organization’s Cleveland chapter recognized Jessica, the Regional Program Manager for the American Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) in Northeast Ohio. Jessica is one of 12 Cleveland women honored as a “high impact leader” who supports the leadership development of other women and gives time, talent and resources to the community.

“WELD’s Cleveland Chapter is thrilled to announce the names of the diverse group of talented leaders who will be featured as its 2019 calendar honorees,” said WELD President and CEO Barb Smoot. “In countless ways, these women are indeed WELDing the Way® by making an impact in their communities. They inspire others by living WELD’s mission to develop and advance women’s leadership to strengthen the economic prosperity of the communities we serve.”

As the SAF Program Manager, Jessica coordinates the delivery of Red Cross services, including emergency communications, pre-deployment preparedness and resiliency workshops for members of the military, veterans and their families. Much of the work is done with the help of volunteers.

“If you have the opportunity to work with young women or volunteers, you want them to be successful, to far exceed anything you’ve ever done,” Jessica said.

“The (WELD) recognition is important, because it gives me a way to promote our mission and to recognize the work done by our volunteers,” she said. “It also allows me to reflect on all the ways the Red Cross assists service men and women, veterans and their families,” she said.

Anyone interested in helping the Red Cross provide services to military men and women, veterans and their families can visit redcross.org/neo to apply.

Jessica and the other WELD honorees were recognized during a ceremony at the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association on Nov. 8, 2018. Each honoree will be featured in the 2019 Women WELDing the Way calendar.

Mike’s Veterans Day Message

By Mike Parks, Rear Admiral, U. S. Coast Guard (Retired) and CEO, American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region

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Mike Parks

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” in 1918 the Allies signed the armistice to end World War I.  That day, originally celebrated as Armistice Day, has evolved over the last 100 years into Veterans Day to honor the service and sacrifice of all veterans.  

This Veterans Day, as we commemorate the centennial of the end of the “war to end all wars,” (as World War I was originally known), we acknowledge it was anything but that as we also honor those brave and dedicated men and women who served in World War I, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf,  Iraq & Afghanistan, as well as those millions of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who have secured our freedom during the intervening times of peace.

As we participate in parades, school assemblies, or other events honoring our veterans, please take time to reflect on those veterans that you know personally, be they family, friends, colleagues, or even acquaintances you meet in your daily activities.  Please thank them for their service—that thank you goes a long way and costs us nothing but a few seconds of our time—and it means more than you can imagine to those selfless servants. 

It’s with that gratitude in mind, I thank all of you, especially those who have worn the uniform of our country, for all you have done and continue to do to serve our nation and help support our veterans and the members of our Armed Forces.  As you know, our American Red Cross has a long and distinguished history of serving those in uniform as our genesis can be traced back to the battlefields of our Civil War.  Red Crossers have been serving men and women in the Armed Forces, and their families since our organization’s creation.  This week, we had the privilege of hosting the members of the Crossroads Division Service to the Armed Forces team here in Cleveland—just another reminder of how vitally important the American Red Cross is to the members of our military.  Thank you for recognizing and celebrating our veterans this Veterans Day!  Best regards…Mike

Red Cross volunteer who provided service in Vietnam War among those to be honored this weekend in nation’s capital

By Sue Wilson Cordle, Summit, Portage, Medina Chapter board of directors member. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

Jackie Otte is the Regional Volunteer Lead for the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services team and has been a Red Cross volunteer for the last 26 years. That in itself is significant; but it is just one aspect of her commitment to the organization.

1883jo Jackie Christmas Card 1968 copyIn the late 1960s, Jackie served with the Red Cross in Vietnam. She explained, “There were two national Red Cross programs serving the military during the Vietnam War: SMI, Service to Military Installations, and SMH, Service to Military Hospitals.”  Jackie served in both areas doing casework and recreational therapy.

“When I received orders for Vietnam in the spring of 1968, the patients I worked with told me not to go— that I would forever be affected. However, I was an idealist and did not turn down orders.”  She was assigned to the 2nd Surgical Hospital in Chu Lai, about 50 miles south of DaNang.

This weekend, her contribution for those years and many more will be recognized at the American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington, D.C., with a Legacy Award. This award recognizes Red Cross staff and volunteers, like Jackie, who have served side-by-side with members of the United States armed forces in combat zones.

After her service in Vietnam, Jackie was stationed in Germany. “I am the daughter of a veteran and my service in military hospitals has given me a life-long desire to give back to our military personnel and veterans. I am still working part-time as a social worker in a hospice program,” she said. Jackie is very involved with We Honor Veterans, the national hospice organization that recognizes vets at end-of–life and trains staff on end-of-life issues faced by combat vets.

Jackie, who is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, comes from a Red Cross family. Her father, a World War II vet, served the Red Cross as a board member at both the local and national levels until his death. Jackie learned while planning his funeral that her dad used to read her letters from Vietnam at Red Cross board meetings. While in Washington this weekend for Veterans Day-related events, she’ll stay with her nephew, who is a former Red Cross employee, and his wife, a current Red Cross employee. Red Cross roots spread wide in her family.JackieOtte2

Jackie also plans to visit the Vietnam Veterans Women’s Memorial on its 25th anniversary. “I was the Ohio volunteer coordinator for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial,” explained Jackie. “I made a lot of appearances to educate others about the memorial and raise funds to build it.”

Jackie said she is looking forward to seeing old friends, both from the Red Cross and military. “It has been 50 years since we were there and we aren’t getting any younger. Many may not be with us in the near future.”

The Red Cross legacy of service to members of the military began when founder Clara Barton provided comfort on the battlefields during the Civil War. Since then, American Red Cross staff and volunteers have served in every major military combat or conflict operation around the world. They are among a select group who have proudly worn the Red Cross emblem to provide care and comfort to members of the United States armed forces, their families and our veterans. And Jackie is a member of that select group who will be honored this weekend.

In Jackie’s words, “These ceremonies are always moving for all involved. It will be an honor to take part in a ceremony like this for recognition for combat Red Cross staff.”

Congratulations, Jackie, and thank you for your years of dedication and service to the Red Cross, our military and our veterans.

You are a true hero.

Keep Calm, It’s Stress Awareness Day

By Brad Galvan; edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteers

Does even the thought of Stress Awareness Day stress you out? Stress, anxiety, pressure and strain are all synonyms for that uncomfortable burden on one’s mental health. Each of us have experienced stress in varying degrees often caused by workloads, relationships or other factors. Effective, healthy stress management can literally be a Hurricane Matthew 2016lifesaver. That’s the focus of Stress Awareness Day, which is recognized on November 7.

A healthy amount of stress can be viewed as a motivator, a reason to strive for improvement and it can feel good when one can overcome challenges. But when it’s overwhelming, causing illness, hurting relationships and overall well-being, it’s important to evaluate environmental stressors. Stepping back, evaluating the cause of stress and using a mitigation technique can be very effective.

Many people suffer from stresses related to not feeling as if there are enough hours in the day or stress related to not being prepared for the known, and unknown. There’s no need to re-create the wheel; checklists, planning documents and organizers are readily available. Consider reviewing The Be Ready Red Cross checklist. Other folks find comfort in turning the attention away from themselves and focus on others as a strategy to reduce stress. A great way to do that is to donate blood. Finding a nearby drive whereBlood bank Campaign ceremony 2017 you can relax for a few minutes and know that you are helping someone else could be a wonderful way to reduce tension.

If personal evaluation of anxiety and management of stresses do not seem to help, consulting a mental health professional is always the best bet. Mental health is just as important as physical health—it’s critical to care for your own well-being on November 7 and throughout the entire year.

Sept. 11 experience moves resident to become avid Red Cross volunteer

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Sept. 11, 2001 made significant impressions on most every adult living at the time. It certainly did for Susie Muetzel, an American Red Cross volunteer with the Lake to River Chapter.

Susie Muetel

Susie Muetzel

“At the time, my husband was a Cleveland firefighter and I was working for the clerk of Cleveland City Council,” said Susie. “After being told we needed to evacuate the building, as I drove home, I recall seeing the plane that was Flight 93 flying overhead when all planes were supposed to be grounded. I recall feeling sorry and helpless and terrified. Within a couple hours, I determined that I was never again going to feel like there was nothing I could do. There was no way I wanted that feeling of helplessness.”

Shortly thereafter, Susie saw on TV that the Red Cross was looking for volunteers. She still remembers making the call and talking with Disaster Specialist Debbie Chitester, who now serves as the Disaster Program Manager for the Summit Portage and Medina Counties Chapter.  Debbie helped Susie her get her initial training. On October 1, she began her volunteer service. She wasn’t able to deploy to New York or Pennsylvania back in 2001, but since then, she has deployed to countless hurricanes and floods, working in an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) and offering meals to those affected. She most recently responded to Hurricane Florence.

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Susie Muetzel, left, and Red Cross volunteer Sue Wisdom

Locally, between national disasters, she keeps very busy with her chapter, covering four of the five counties along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. “Here at home, I’m a DAT (Disaster Action Team) leader, the DAT Coordinator and weekend AOC (Administrator-On-Call),” said Susie.

That could be the most rewarding part of her volunteer work, explained Susie. “I recall one weekend when we had back-to-back fires, each with fatalities. When we go to a fire and are able to provide some degree of comfort to someone who has lost everything and is desperate for help, that’s extremely rewarding.”

If someone is looking for volunteer opportunities, take it from Susie, “You get so much more out of it than you could ever possibly give. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. When you come home from helping someone, even in the middle of the night, you know that you did something good and really helped them. If you have that empathetic heart, it fills you up in ways that you never dreamed of.”

To explore the various volunteer possibilities open to you, visit https://neoredcross.org/volunteer/ and begin your online application.  There is a critical need for volunteers to join the Disaster Action Team in the Lake to River Chapter, which includes Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Jefferson Counties.  Residents there can get more information by calling the chapter at 866-319-7160.