Red Cross, Fox 8 News raise money to help those affected by Hurricane Florence

Day-long telethon also helped raise awareness for residents affected by the storm.

By: Eric Alves, American Red Cross

Communities in Northeast Ohio are renowned for the generosity they show at a moment’s notice when individuals are in need. This generosity was evident on September 20.

Understanding the importance of keeping the disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Florence in the news and relevant, despite the lack of coverage nationally, Fox 8 News devoted airtime throughout the day and on Facebook Live to hosting a telethon from Regional Headquarters in Cleveland, including a feature with reporter Todd Meany highlighting the importance of blood donation by giving blood on air in our new blood donation center.

Time and time again volunteers have dedicated their time and efforts to help the Red Cross support the needs of others, and the telethon was not any different. Among the volunteers was Chef Rocco Whalen, proprietor of Fahrenheit in Cleveland and Charlotte. When Chef Rocco heard the Red Cross and Fox 8 News were holding a telethon to help with hurricane disaster relief, he rolled up his sleeves and answered phones to help with donations.

Here are some photos from the telethon. To see more photos from the event, please visit our Flickr page:

 

 

 

We are grateful to Fox 8 News, Chef Rocco Whalen and all the volunteers who helped make the telethon possible and such a success. We also would like to give a special, heartfelt thank you to Northeast Ohio. Due to your immense generosity, we raised $32,186 to support the disaster relief efforts!

Hurricane Maria One Year Later: Worker Looks Back and Recalls People’s Resilience

Editors Note: Jorge Martinez, Regional COO of the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, deployed to Puerto Rico in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

By Jorge Martinez, COO, Red Cross, Northeast Ohio Region

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Jorge Martinez carries a case of water to residents stranded by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

 

So how is Puerto Rico doing one year after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria?  The short answer is, “Well, I really don’t know.  But I think do!”

When I came back last October, having spent a few weeks on the ground in Puerto Rico, I shared a story about a wonderful lady who had welcomed her neighbor into her humble home and simply wanted some tarps to protect her elderly neighbor’s belongings, since the house had no roof.  In that story I also mentioned my friend Brad and the many other Red Cross volunteers like him who were serving with so much compassion and love… always putting the needs of others before self.  (Click here for a link to that story.)  This helps answer the question, “How is Puerto Rico doing?” The story that follows also helps answer that question.

On October 8th last year, I was in a hot, destroyed place called Ensenada, Puerto Rico.  Ensenada is on the southern coast of the southwest corner of the island… and like every other place on the island, it had been devastated.  There were a lot of people with a lot of need in the area who hadn’t been helped yet, so we brought two crews and two large trucks full of supplies.  We set up shop in a large government convention center and delivered supplies to hundreds of families.  And of course, the temperature felt like a thousand degrees!

I was carrying some supplies for a sweet old lady to her car so that she could sustain herself, for a few days anyway.  She reminded me a lot of my own grandmother, who had passed away many years before.  We were chatting on the walk to her car; it’s amazing how you can connect with people when you strip away all the artificial barriers we create.  It’s beautiful!  As we were approaching her car she said, “You know, mijo (ME-HO – Spanish for “my son”), God tests us.  But any time he does, he sends an angel and today you’re my angel.”

Fortunately, I was wearing sunglasses.

When I landed in Puerto Rico on September 28, 2017 we were on one of the first flights following the hurricane.  At that point, planes could only land during the day because there were no navigational instruments since there was no power.  As you could imagine, the dark, steamy airport was full of people who were trying to get out.  As we came through the jetway, the crowd started clapping and thanking us.  It was a humbling moment but it speaks to the power of our brand… what we stand for… what we represent.  And at that particular point it was hope!  And that matters.  In times of need, hope matters.

I read the news and see the advances that are happening in Puerto Rico.  I also note the setbacks.  The truth is, at least how I see it, Puerto Rico will not be back to “normal” for many years.  But that’s OK.  Puerto Ricans are resilient, warm, caring and extremely communal.  And so is the Red Cross.  I haven’t been back, but I know that our long-term recovery teams, comprised primarily of volunteers, are on the ground humbly carrying out the king’s work and will be there for quite some time.  That’s hopeful; that’s comforting.

So, how’s Puerto Rico doing?  Well, probably not so good.  But they’re doing great!

It’s Not Over – Florence Flooding Continues in the Carolinas

The threat from Hurricane Florence is far from over as rivers continue to rise in the Carolinas and extremely dangerous flooding is still occurring. Getting help into affected areas is challenging, and will be for some time.  One of the four crews deployed in an Emergency Response Vehicle from Northeast Ohio had to spend the night in a fire house in Marion, South Carolina on Monday, after rising waters cut off their return route.

Some Red Cross workers are finding creative ways to deliver relief to residents stranded by floodwaters, as you can see in this video.

  • Some 18 counties in North Carolina are still under evacuation orders and water rescues are continuing.
  • Nearly 1,000 roads are closed and as many as 220,000 people are without power. Many gas stations are still closed due to power outages and a lack of fuel.

This is a heartbreaking and dangerous situation, and the American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide safe shelter and comfort for the hundreds of thousands of people impacted.

  • The Red Cross is mobilizing more than 140 emergency response vehicles, including 4 from Northeast Ohio, and more than 110 trailers of equipment and supplies, including meals and enough cots and blankets for more than 100,000 people.
  • The Red Cross is working with the National Guard, U.S. Army and other partners to transport disaster workers and supplies to areas in need. On Tuesday, about 40 Red Cross volunteers were flown on military helicopters into areas cut off by flood waters.
  • The Red Cross is working with dozens of partners to support feeding, sheltering, transportation and other disaster services.

Due to Hurricane Florence, nearly 200 blood drives have been forced to cancel, resulting in over 5,200 uncollected blood and platelet donations.

  • We expect additional blood drive cancellations over the coming days, with fewer blood and platelet donors available to give at drives in and around affected areas due to flooding and poor weather conditions.

About 2,800 Red Cross disaster workers, including about four dozen from Northeast Ohio, have been mobilized to help feed, shelter, and support people affected by Florence and the subsequent flooding.

To help support the disaster relief operation, Fox 8 in Cleveland will be broadcasting live reports on Thursday, September 20, from 6:00 am to 7:30 pm.  The station will be promoting a Hurricane Florence disaster relief hotline number, giving viewers the chance to make a donation over the phone.  Donations can also be made online at 1-800 RED CROSS, or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation.

Hurricane Florence Hits Coast – Red Cross Volunteers Respond

More than two dozen volunteers  from NEO deployed to disaster relief operation

The American Red Cross is helping people in multiple states as Hurricane Florence pummels the Carolinas with strong winds, heavy rain and dangerous tidal surges. Twice the size of Louisiana, Florence is inundating communities and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

 

Residents of Wilson, North Carolina take refuge in a Red Cross shelter.   
                                    Photo credit: Danial Cima/American Red Cross

As Hurricane Florence comes ashore, the Red Cross is providing safe shelter and comfort for evacuees across six states. More than 20,000 people sought refuge in more than 200 Red Cross and community shelters Thursday night to escape the storm’s wrath. View some of their stories here.

As of midnight, 14,000 people were in 124 shelters in North Carolina, and 5,600 people in 59 shelters in South Carolina. An additional 430 people stayed in 23 shelters in Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Maryland.

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Red Cross volunteers Linda Taylor, Bob Schneider, Teresa Greenlief and Cameron Fraser prepare to depart Akron in Emergency Response Vehicles.  Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

About 2,000 Red Cross disaster workers from all over the country have been mobilized to help shelter, feed and support people affected by Florence, including 29 from Northeast OhioFour Emergency Response Vehicles based in Northeast Ohio departed from Cleveland, Akron and Canton today, staffed by two-person crews.  They have been assigned to meet in Macon, Georgia.

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Volunteers Susie Muetzel and Sue Wisdom prepare to depart Cleveland in an ERV.  Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Working with partners, the Red Cross has served 47,000 meals and snacks in North Carolina and South Carolina. To bolster relief efforts, the Red Cross is mobilizing nearly 100 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers of equipment and supplies, including 100,000 ready-to-eat meals and enough cots and blankets for more than 42,000 people.

See photos of local media coverage here.

HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Florence relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on redcross.org or on 1-800-RED CROSS.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD More than 140 blood drives have been canceled through early next week due to Hurricane Florence, resulting in over 4,200 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Eligible donors in unaffected areas are urged to make an appointment now to give blood or platelets to help maintain the nation’s blood supply. There is a critical need to platelet and type O blood donations. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

 

 

Cleveland Clinic Nurses Unite to Make a Neighborhood Safer

40 homes in a Cleveland neighborhood are now safer, thanks to the efforts of two-dozen nurses from Cleveland Clinic.

“United as a team, we’re giving back to the community,” said Kelly Hancock, Cleveland Clinic Health System Executive Chief Nursing Officer.  Kelly also serves on the board of directors for the Greater Cleveland Red Cross Chapter, and is chair of the Volunteer Services Committee.

25 nurses and Chief Nursing Officers from each hospital across the Cleveland Clinic Health System  installed 113 smoke alarms, and helped residents near the main campus, in the Fairfax neighborhood, create fire escape plans.

That the activity was planned on 9/11 was no accident.

“It was a time when the country was in a dark place,” Kelly said. “What a wonderful way for us to recognize and remember, by giving back to those who we serve.”

Kelly recorded a message at the start of the activity, known as a Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event.  You can see her message here.

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Cleveland Clinic Chief Nursing Officers Shannon Pengel, Barb ZInner and Mary Beth Thoburn with Fairfax resident Kasandra Edmonds

If you have a team of co-workers or colleagues who may be interested in helping make homes safer, visit soundthealarm.org/neo.  

 

Mark Cline to be Recognized as a “Sparkling” Volunteer

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Mark Cline

CLEVELAND – Decades of volunteer service will be honored next week when American Red Crosser Mark Cline receives the top individual award from Greater Cleveland Volunteers.

Cline will be in the spotlight when the David F. Leahy Volunteer Excellence Award is presented at Greater Cleveland Volunteers’ annual “Sparkle at the Zoo” benefit Sept. 21 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

“I volunteer with the Red Cross because it gives me the opportunity to use my 40+ years of emergency response training,” Mark says. “Helping people prepare for a disaster or helping people in need after a disaster makes me feel like I’m making a difference in their lives.”

Actually, Mark – now 61 – has been serving the people of northeast Ohio since he was old enough to join Boy Scouts. He worked his way up through the scouting program to the rank of Eagle Scout. He went on to become an Explorer Scout with the Wickliffe Fire Department, eventually becoming a part-time firefighter and EMT.

Helping those in need motivated Mark to join the Emergency Response Team at Cleveland Hopkins Airport while he was working for Continental Airlines. He also took on the role of Explorer post advisor, working with teens interested in aviation.

When back injuries ended Mark’s days on the tarmac, he went looking for other opportunities to serve. That’s when he discovered the Red Cross. Since joining the Greater Cleveland Chapter in March 2016, he’s been putting in 40 hours a week with disaster services.

Mark is a Disaster Action Team (DAT) leader, administrator-on-call and DAT induction trainer, a presenter for the Pillowcase disaster preparedness program, and volunteer partner of the chapter’s disaster program manager (DPM), Jeremy Bayer.

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“Mark is a tremendous asset to the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland,” Jeremy says. “His personal sacrifice of time and energy has made countless numbers of people more comfortable in their time of need during disasters.  Mark is also an integral part in the administration as the DPM (Disaster Program Manager) volunteer partner of the Greater Cleveland Chapter.”

Mark was recently recognized as a Hometown Hero by Cleveland 19 News for his volunteer accomplishments

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people, who donate time, financial support and life-sustaining blood to help those in need. Volunteers are always welcome and you don’t have to commit 40 hours a week like Mark.

To learn more about the many volunteer opportunities within the Red Cross – from preventing and responding to disasters to serving our armed forces to teaching first aid, babysitting or water safety skills – visit https://www.redcross.org/local/ohio/northeast/volunteer.html

Wayne County Fair goers are in Good Hands Thanks to Red Cross Volunteers

Five-Day Event Begins Saturday, September 8

By Brad Galvan, American Red Cross Volunteer

Each year, dozens of nurses, medics and physicians donate their precious time (sometimes vacation hours!) to provide first aid services at the Red Cross First Aid Station at the Wayne County Fair. The fair runs September 8th – 13th,  and during the hours of operation, the first aid station is open and ready to care for anyone in need of unexpected medical care. The station, which is housed in a permanent, air-conditioned facility, will care for over 200 fair-goers dealing with injuries and illnesses ranging from blisters and bee stings to serious, complex medical conditions that tend to arise due to warm temperatures and extensive walking.

Lara Kiefer, the Executive Director of the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross, shared that the volunteers have provided the first aid services at the fair for at least the last 40 years. This year, the first aid operation will be coordinated by Mike Priest, a retired Wooster firefighter. He and his team will be on duty for a total of about 1,000 total hours, to ensure the health and well-being of those who attend the five-day event.

The volunteers meet well in advance to ensure they have ample coverage. Their station is stocked with supplies and the three medical bays are ready for those who get sick or injured. The team is ready with band-aids and gauze for minor cuts and scrapes, but also are truly ready for anything that comes their way. In fact, in 2016 a fair-goer had a life-threatening heart attack. The team gave CPR, used an AED and prepared the victim for transport by Wooster EMS.  Read more about their lifesaving action here.

Similar first-aid services are offered by the Red Cross at other events in Northeast Ohio, like the Pro Football Hall of Fame activities in Canton and the Canfield Fair in Mahoning County.  The need for volunteers to help provide such valuable services never ends.  Visit redcross.org/neo and click Volunteer at the top of the page to learn more about the volunteer opportunities available.

The need for blood donors is also constant.  Those who are able to donate are encouraged to visit the Red Cross bloodmobile at the Wayne County Fair Sunday and Monday, September 9 and 10, from noon to 7:00 pm.

And if you are one of the 100,000+ attendees of this year’s Wayne County Fair, please make sure to thank the volunteers who are working at the Red Cross first aid booth. You will make their vacation!