Blanket Made of Red Heart Yarn and Love

Linda Evans

15 months.  That’s how long it took Linda Evans of West Farmington, Ohio to #StitchAHug.  That’s the hashtag redheart.com established in 2016 to allow customers to support the Red Cross, by providing patterns for blankets.

“I was in the middle of a move,” Linda said. ” Otherwise, it probably wouldn’t have taken so long.”

The white spread with the traditional Red Cross knitted in the center arrived at Northeast Ohio headquarters in early May, accompanied by a short note that read, in part, “I hope whoever gets it will be okay!”

Red Cross workers often provide blankets to people who have been forced to flee their homes by fire, flood, or other disasters.  In Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross responds on average to three such disasters every 24-hours.

That’s a lot of blankets.

“I’m grateful I have never needed your help.  The Red Cross is exceptional in everything they do, and I don’t give back nearly enough, so this project sounded like a perfect match.”

Linda’s blanket touched the heart of Renee Palagyi, Regional Senior Disaster Program Manager. “What a wonderful gesture on her part.  It shows how our mission touches the lives of people in so many ways, those who need our help, and those who want to reach out and help others.”

Knitting a blanket is just one way to support Red Cross efforts to help others.  You can also volunteer your time, or make a donation.

Linda hopes her blanket is big enough to “maybe snuggle up two folks.”  And she writes, “I might even do another one…but not right away :)”

 

 

Let’s Help Save Lives!

CEO Sends Message to Encourage Donations During Board Blood Drive

landerhaven4

Memorial Day weekend approaches.  It’s the unofficial start of the summer season, when blood donations typically drop.  The Greater Cleveland Chapter Board of Directors is sponsoring a blood drive tomorrow, the Thursday before Memorial Day, at Regional Headquarters, 3747 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.  Regional CEO Mike Parks issued the following message:

Northeast Ohio Red Cross Family: 

As a reminder, on Thursday, May 25th from 1:00-6:00 pm, let’s roll up our sleeves and help save lives!  The American Red Cross Greater Cleveland Chapter will hold a blood drive sponsored by the Board of Directors.  The Red Cross has over 130 years of experience providing humanitarian aid – including more than 70 years of supplying blood to those in need.

Each pint of blood we collect can help save up to three lives and will touch the lives of so many more. What a great way to pay it forward and make an impact on people in our community and across the country.  We are very excited about the drive and I hope you are too.

We are planning some great giveaways for that day.  Let’s show our community and the patients in need of blood just how much we can do.  There are many ways you can help, but most importantly we hope you come out to donate.  It’s not every day that we do something that has such a lifesaving impact. Let’s blow this out of the water! Feel free to invite your family, friends and co-workers to support this critical initiative.  I plan to be first in line at 1:00 pm with my sleeve rolled up!!

Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.  If you are able and eligible to give blood, please make an appointment at www.redcrossblood.org using sponsor code NEOBOARD or call 1-800-RED CROSS.  In addition, you can schedule and track your donation by using the Blood Donor App.  It is free and available for download on iPhoneTM and AndroidTM devices through the App StoreSM and Google PlayTM or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a link to download the App.

On the day of donation, blood donors can save time by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online prior to arriving at the blood drive by visiting www.redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and following the instructions on the site.  I just found out that the President of Biomedical Services, Shaun Gilmore, and his senior leadership team will be visiting us on Thursday—what better way to demonstrate our commitment to One Red Cross than having a highly successful blood drive—we might even convince them to roll up their sleeves!!

Thank you for supporting the American Red Cross!…Best regards, Mike

Volunteers Honored for Making Homes Safer

President’s Award Bestowed by Stark County Firefighters During EMS Week Celebration

IMG_0524

They weren’t expecting it.  Several volunteers from the American Red Cross of Stark and Muskingum Lakes thought they were simply attending a breakfast to help kick-off EMS Week activities.  But they were honored by the Stark County Firefighters Association with the President’s Award, for the home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events they’ve been a part of.

One of those events took place on May 17, when teams of Red Cross volunteers and partners from the North Canton Fire Department went door-to-door in a senior retirement community of manufactured homes, offering fire safety education and installing smoke alarms at no cost to the residents.  They entered more than 60 homes, installing 130 alarms.

Tim Reichel, the Chapter’s Disaster Program Manager commended the volunteers for the work they have done to make homes and neighborhoods safer.

“It’s a labor of love.  They thoroughly enjoy giving back to the community.  And our partners with the fire department are grateful to be engaged.  It’s a win win for everyone.”

IMG_4006

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS

More home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events are planned throughout the summer, including on June 17, in honor of Flag Day.  Partners from the VA and veterans groups will join Red Cross volunteers in four separate communities that day to help make homes safer.  Visit our website to volunteer for our home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event in honor of Flag Day on June 17.

NEO Holds 2nd Annual Training Institute

You can’t have confidence unless you are prepared. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden, legendary UCLA Men’s Basketball Coach


Aloha i ka mokupuni o ka hoʻonaʻauao. Welcome to the island of learning.

2017 NEOTI

Preparedness is a key goal for the Red Cross. We are constantly striving to prepare our communities, our homes, and our staff to respond to emergencies.

We, as an organization, expect our volunteers to be ready to heed the call to action! That means education before an event occurs.

From Wednesday, May 10 through Saturday, May 13 over 125 individuals from all over Ohio and West Virginia gathered at the second annual Northeast Ohio Training Institute (NEOTI) at the Akron office. The theme of this year’s institute was Aloha, or “welcome” in Hawaiian.

The institute gives us the chance to offer key leadership courses that may not be available during the year, as well as basic courses for those new to the organization.

This year’s course offerings included: Shelter Fundamentals, Disaster Assessment Fundamentals, Client Casework Workshop, Disaster Mental Health Fundamentals, Psychological First Aid, Disaster Response Management Simulation, a class on driving the large Red Cross Emergency Trucks, and Everyone’s Welcome (a course highlighting our commitment to diverse populations).

By Saturday, 317 certificates were issued to those who attended.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross in northeast Ohio, visit www.redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER.

Click below to see our 2017 NEOTI photo album.NEOTI 2017

Partners Help Make Parma Homes Safer

Young Professionals Help Protect People in Parma from Home Fires

A new partnership proved to be fruitful for residents in a neighborhood of Parma on Saturday, May 6.  Members of the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club joined forces with the Red Cross and members of the Parma Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to install more than two-dozen smoke alarms in homes where needed. The volunteers also performed home fire safety inspections and offered valuable fire prevention and safety education.

safety_walk_parma_170506_3369---copy_33647619564_o

The Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club is the longest-running young professional association in Northeast Ohio. The mission and vision is to enrich the lives of young professionals, to foster the future leaders of Cleveland. The group is independent, open and inclusive, and membership represents a wide range of cultures, backgrounds and professions, and touching the lives of more than 1,000 young professionals through its programs on an annual basis.

“Our volunteers from The Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club enjoyed working together with the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland and Parma Cert to help install free smoke alarms in people’s homes,” said Melanie Raese, Philanthropy Director of the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club.  “It was a fun, team building experience and we learned about fire safety.  We are grateful to serve our communities and to work alongside those dedicated to building safer neighborhoods.”

Since 2014, Red Cross volunteers, along with fire departments and other partners, have visited homes installing free smoke alarms, replacing batteries in existing alarms and providing fire prevention and safety education to prevent needless tragedies. More than 26,000 smoke alarms have been installed in homes in Northeast Ohio in the past two years. This fall, the Red Cross will celebrate the program with Sound the Alarm, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events nationwide. Volunteers will install 100,000 free smoke alarms in high risk neighborhoods in Akron, Cleveland, and more than 100 other cities across the country, culminating in the installation of the one millionth smoke alarm!

If you would like to help us Sound the Alarm about fire safety and help save lives, visit us at redcross.org/neo and click on the Volunteer tab.  More information about Sound the Alarm is located here.

See more photos, taken by Red Cross volunteer George Scherma, on Flickr.

Super Heroes Honored at Air Base

By Karen Conklin, Executive Director, Lake to River Chapter

Lucky Lake to River Volunteers were honored on April 27th at a VIP event at the 910th Airlift Wing. If you have ever been on a military base you know it’s tough to get through security. Our thanks to the 50 volunteers who sent in the required information a week ahead of time so that security at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station could clear them to get on the base.  Super Heroes was the theme because we know our military are heroes but so are our Red Cross volunteers.

board meeting

The Lake to River Chapter Board of Directors

Prior to the social event, the Lake to River Board of Directors met and also held the annual meeting.  The Board of Directors is working hard to make the 7th Acts of Courage event June 14th the best ever. The following volunteers will be serving another three-year term on the board. They are Kelly Becker, Patti Davis, Lou Joseph, Tifinie Lacomb, Amy Lower, Florence Wang and Phil Wilson. We thank them for their commitment and leadership.

Major Julian

Major Scott Julian

Thanks to Major Scott Julian (also a Red Cross Board Member) who gave a quick synopsis of the role of the 910th Airlift Wing. Did you know they fly the C-130 Cargo Planes and are the only base that is activated for oil spills or to spray for the Zika Virus?

Melissa

Melissa Papini

Good food, camaraderie and lots of laughs were everywhere as Disaster Program Manager Melissa Papini led the group in the “toilet paper” challenge. How many squares would you take if handed a roll of toilet paper at the table with strangers? Lesson learned, you have to tell something about your life for every square you take.  In some cases, as the kids say “TMI” –  too much information was hilariously shared.

The group appreciated the warm messages from Mike Parks and Kristen Gallagher, both of whom had family obligations.  Regional Disaster Officer Tim O’Toole personally thanked all “our heroes for their volunteer work to turn helplessness into hope.” We could never meet mission without our volunteers according to Tim. We also got to bid a kind farewell to Pat Buckhold, who will soon trade her Red Cross staff hat for a volunteer hat in our amazing organization.

K9Highlights for all were our four legged furry heroes on our Lake to River Canine team, who help with Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) and disaster response. These furry friends and their amazing trainers fully embrace the meaning and purpose of therapy dogs wherever they go. Quick to share a furry high five, they are trained to know they are “working” when they don their Red Cross vests and are “just dogs” when out of uniform.

We thank all who came and appreciate your constant devotion to our mission. One final question from me:  “How many squares of toilet paper would you need?” One of the best parts of my job is knowing the incredible resumes of those who do our important work. Lake to River and all Red Cross volunteers are Super Heroes.Debra Paul Pat

If you have an interest in volunteering for the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/neo and click the volunteer tab, or call 216-431-3328.  You can also send an email to NEOVolunteer@redcross.org.

Photos by Red Cross volunteer Paul Wadowick, pictured to the right with Debra Kellar and Pat Buckhold of Volunteer Services.  View the photo album here.