Cedar Fair Executive Recognized by Gail McGovern

The president of the American National Red Cross, Gail McGovern, has recognized Sanduskian Lee Alexakos for her outstanding contributions to the organization’s vital blood collection program.

National Awards and Recognition Dinner 2017

Lee Alexakos, center, is flanked on the left by Gail McGovern, President and Howie Walz, Vice President of Recruitment

A Biomedical Partnership Award — presented recently at the Red Cross National Award Program in Washington, D.C. — cited Alexakos for expanding the partnership between the Red Cross and Cedar Fair Entertainment, where she serves as Vice President of Community Relations.

Cedar Fair—a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment—is a great corporate partner with Lee Alexakos at the helm. Her extensive work on the expansion of Cedar Fair’s partnership with the American Red Cross helped to increase revenue, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction for our organization. Her successful expansion campaign included gifting the Red Cross over 16 thousand free Cedar Fair admissions to be used to recruit blood donors during the difficult summer collection months; encouraging blood donations by offering prize packs of admission for four; and gifting and promoting a Grand Prize package including family admission, fast passes, and weekend overnight accommodations. The in-kind donations from this campaign were equal to over $1 million from Cedar Fair.

The success of the Cedar Fair partnership enabled laser marketing to our youth markets during a time of the year when it can be challenging to connect with our high school and university partners. Students stepped up to coordinate blood drives in their communities resulting in youth leadership opportunities plus education on the blood donation process and the patients we serve. Lee’s dedication to our organization and endless hours invested of her own time to ensure sponsor and donor engagement were crucial for our life saving mission during the challenging summer months.

The Red Cross is always in need of blood donations.  You can make an appointment to donate at 1-800-RED CROSS, or by logging onto redcrossblood.org.  You can also make an appointment on the Red Cross Blood App, which also records your donation history, and keeps track of your blood’s journey.

(Red Cross Volunteer Eilene Guy contributed to this story)

Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball

Fundraising Continues with KeyBank Challenge

A message from CEO Mike Parks

Thank you to our amazing Red Cross supporters who helped us host a successful “Fire & Ice Ball” on Saturday, March 25, 2017!  We couldn’t have pulled this off without all of your efforts…from table sponsorships, donations of auction items and programs,  sharing invitations with friends and family, and dedicating your evening to our lifesaving mission…it was a wonderful celebration!

To those of you in attendance, we hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did!  We certainly missed all of our friends who couldn’t join us, but we sincerely appreciate your support from afar.

For all of our Red Cross friends, we hope you will plan to join us at a future event, blood drive or neighborhood fire safety walk soon.  We could not fulfill the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross here in Northeast Ohio without your dedication to, and support of, our mission!

A special thank you to Beth Mooney of KeyBank for graciously accepting our Steve D. Bullock Humanitarian Award for 2017.  We are truly honored and grateful for the Inspirational Match of $25,000 that Beth announced on behalf of “Operation-Save-A-Life”.   Those funds will help our collaborative efforts to install new smoke alarms in every home, one neighborhood at a time.

If you would like to support “Operation-Save-A-Life” and take part in this Inspirational Match Campaign, please log onto  https://www.redcross.org/arcneohio-pub   to make a donation on behalf of the American Red Cross and KeyBank.   Please feel free to share this message with your friends.  Thank you for your generosity and commitment to the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland!

Best regards…Mike

Here are some photos from the Ball.  See dozens more in our Flickr album here.

Nurses Needed…ASAP

Looking back 100 years at the Lake Erie / Heartland Chapter

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

(Editor’s Note:  This is the latest in a series of centennial-related stories involving the founding of Red Cross chapters in Northeast Ohio)

If history proves anything, it might be that we need to learn from our mistakes.

In 1898, when the USS Maine exploded off Cuba’s shores, war was declared with Spain, and the U.S. Army was deployed.  Despite knowledge that yellow fever was most likely to afflict people during the rainy summer season, the U.S. forces launched their offensive on June 22.  Less than 400 soldiers died during the conflict, but more than 2,000 succumbed to the disease during the occupation that followed.

Sixteen years later, the United States initially resisted being drawn into World War I.  However, after learning that the Germans were suggesting Mexico attack the U.S., President Wilson asked for and received a declaration of war in 1917. With America preparing to enter yet another foreign war, the nation hoped to be more prepared.

A military draft was established and of the 10-million men interviewed, 4.7-million were selected. This required a tremendous increase in medical care as well as production of arms and ammunition for the troops. The Army Medical department increased its hospital capacity from 9,500 to 120,000 beds stateside alone.

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Sunday morning, February 4, 1917, Mrs. Alice Montgomery, secretary of the local Red Cross chapter in Sandusky received a 300-word telegram from American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Instructions were two-fold.  Set up a “roomy, centrally located headquarters, rent free, and equipment for same…” to produce medical supplies and comfort bags. Secondly, names of nurses and potential nurses were to be collected.

Courses of instruction in nursing would be provided by the Bureau of Nursing Services in Washington.  Doctors and graduate nurses could also report to the Bureau in Washington. Volunteer men could also take first aid courses and organize a “sanitary corps” locally.

Wasting no time, Mrs. John Renner, president of the Sandusky chapter, organized a meeting for that very afternoon and began the work of rolling gauze and preparing medical supplies.

Monday, February 19, Huron began formation of their own chapter, hoping to attract at least 35 to 40 women locally. By April, they already reached 60, and set their new goal for 200. Men were asked to join as well as women.

Unfortunately, twenty years later, history was destined to repeat itself and a huge case of influenza struck our troops, first on our shores and shortly thereafter in the European theater, starting in France. Crowded, unsanitary conditions in camp and in the trenches were ultimately determined to be the cause this time, but not until more than one million men were affected with 30,000 of them dying before they even reached France.

History books are lax in mentioning it, but health related deaths exceeded combat deaths in World War I. Total non-combat deaths reached 63,000, while combat deaths accounted for 53,000.

Many were saved however, thanks in part to the Red Cross having assisted with the job of recruiting experienced nurses for the Army Nursing Corps, along with organizing many ambulance companies. The Red Cross also organized 50 hospitals of 1,000 beds each, at American universities across the country.

Today, the need is still there. Fortunately, not for war-related injuries specifically, but the Red Cross continues to prevent and alleviate human suffering in a multitude of emergencies.  Please consider volunteering at http://neoredcross.org.

Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball This Saturday

KeyCorp CEO Beth E. Mooney to Receive Humanitarian Award

The 25th anniversary of Operation Save-A-Life will be celebrated at the 2017 American Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball this Saturday, March 25th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Cleveland.  And Beth E. Mooney, Chair and CEO of KeyCorp, will be honored with the Steve D. Bullock Humanitarian Award.

Founded in Cleveland in 1992, Operation Save-A-Life offers residents in neighborhoods deemed to be at high risk for home fires valuable fire safety education and smoke alarm installations. Together with partners like the Cleveland Division of Fire, more than 160,000 smoke alarms have been installed in homes throughout Northeast Ohio since 1992, at no cost to residents.

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The program has been so successful that in 2014, the Red Cross rolled out the Home Fire Campaign nationwide.  Modeled after Operation Save-A-Life in Cleveland, the goal of the program is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths due to home fires 25% by the year 2020.

As of March 17, 2017, 197 lives have been saved nationally because of working smoke alarms installed by Red Cross workers, volunteers, and community partners.

In fiscal year 2016 alone, the Red Cross and its community partners installed nearly 13,000 smoke alarms in homes throughout the 22 counties served by the Northeast Ohio Region, more than doubling the goal of 6,000 alarms.  This fiscal year, the goal of 10,000 smoke alarms was reached on March 6, 2017, thanks to the power of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors.

Residents in need of smoke alarms in their homes can visit redcross.org/neoosal, or call 216-361-5535 in Greater Cleveland to schedule an appointment for a home fire safety inspection and free smoke alarm installation.

Beth MooneyThe Humanitarian Award is presented to an honoree who embodies the spirit of the Red Cross, through their contributions to the welfare and quality of life in the community.

“Beth’s values certainly reflect those of the Red Cross,” said Mike Parks, CEO of the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region. “Her work with KeyBank and her many civic and philanthropic endeavors make her a most worthy recipient of the Humanitarian Award.”

Beth Mooney joined KeyCorp in 2006, and was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2011, guiding the 190-year-old institution into becoming one of the nation’s largest and most respected bank-based financial services companies. Forbes Magazine has named her one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,” Fortune Magazine declared her one of the top 50 “Most Powerful Women in Business” and American Banker Magazine named her the “Most Powerful Woman in Banking” three consecutive times.

The first Humanitarian Award was presented to philanthropist Sam Miller in 1993, a year after he provided the initial funding to create Operation Save-A-Life.

Previous winners of the Humanitarian Award include:

2014     Sandy Cutler
2012     Richard W. and Patricia R. Pogue
2009     Henry Meyer and Mayor Frank Jackson
2008     Joseph J. LoPresti (posthumously)
2005     William W. Rowley
2004     Terry R. White
2001     Bishop Anthony Pilla and Rabbi Armond E. Cohen
1999     Albert M. Higley Jr. and Beverly Higley
1997     Drs. Floyd Loop and Bernadine Healy
1995     Rena and Michael Blumberg
1993     Samuel H. Miller

Those interested in attending the 2017 Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball can contact Angela Gibian at angela.gibian@redcross.org, or call 216-431-3060.

Red Tie Affair A Sumptuous Treat

Fundraiser Helps Support Disaster Relief in Northeast Ohio

The American Red Cross supporters who attended the 2017 Red Tie Affair at Chez Francois in Vermillion not only helped ensure the mission of the Red Cross would continue, they ate like kings and queens.

The five course meal was paired with choice California wines and served at one of Northeast Ohio’s most celebrated restaurants, making it it an evening to remember.

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Click here for our photo album from the Saturday Night event.  Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer.

Sandusky Women Answer the Call

Looking back 100 years at the Lake Erie / Heartlands Chapter

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

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From the Centennial Mound in Washington Park, Sandusky

In March 1916, as a U.S. expedition of more than 10,000 troops were chasing Pancho Villa back into Mexico, and Company B of the National Guard was being federalized to control our border at El Paso, Texas, the Red Cross Sandusky Chapter was being formed.  Realizing we might also be deploying troops to Europe, the National Office was requesting more and more chapters to join the organization.

By June 1916, fifty women had already expressed interest in joining at a meeting held in the Carnegie Library in Sandusky. They began making “ditty” bags for the men of Company B.  Described in the Sandusky Star-Journal as “…most convenient and attractive little affairs. Fashioned of the familiar khaki, with blue braid binding, and red flannel leaves, they each hold 6 needles, 6 safety pins, 3 darning needles, 2 rows of common pins, a spool each of khaki and white thread, six each of khaki colored and white buttons, and a pair of scissors.”

Saturday, August 19, 1916 at 3:00 p.m., with charter-in-hand, more than one hundred volunteers gathered at G.A.R. Hall in Sandusky to elect officers and directors for this newest Chapter of the American Red Cross. Plans were formulated for their first regular meeting which would take place in October.

At the October meeting, the guest speaker was Miss Elizabeth Perkins, field secretary of the National Red Cross, recently back in the US after serving in hospitals along the French front. She brought a request for “comfort bags” that could be given to the troops in the French hospitals. 50,000 were needed nationally, and it would be a proper project for the new chapter. They were needed by November 15 to be shipped and received in time for Christmas distribution.

Each 9” x 12” bag would contain a pair of socks, a razor or pocket knife, handkerchief, pencil, writing tablet, pipe (no tobacco), harmonica or game (no playing cards), box of hard candy or bouillon cubes, wash clothes, cake of soap, pocket mirror, and a comb or jar of Vaseline. Each bag would have a card included with the name of the donor.

Unfortunately, while the chapter was waiting for its charter, all the dues collected to that point had been sent in to the national office, and the chapter found itself without operating funds. Suggestions were received that the entire Erie County should be included in the chapter, giving them a larger base of members and financial support.

Eventually, the Lake Erie / Heartland Chapter of the Red Cross would expand to what today includes Ashland, Erie, Holmes, Huron, Lorain, Richland and Wayne Counties.  That’s quite an expansion from the original small chapter in Sandusky, so, you could say they certainly took those directions 100 years ago, to heart.

What hasn’t changed, is that the Red Cross can still use more volunteers and more donations. Visit redcross.org/neo to get involved.

First Goal Attained; But the Work Never Ends

(Looking back 100 years at the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter)

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer

As the nation prepared to celebrate Independence Day, Tuscarawas County was celebrating the formation of their new Red Cross Chapter.  Organized at the beginning of July 1917, the chapter’s initial goal was to raise $30,000 locally.

By this time, the national goal of reaching $100-million had already been attained, but as Red Cross State Secretary D.C. Daugherty explained, “The needs of the Red Cross in doing its great work of mercy are so enormous that every dollar given, no matter how much over the stipulated amount asked, can be used advantageously in its humanitarian mission of relief and succor to suffering humanity, whether its distress be from war, pestilence, famine, flood or fire or any other form of disaster.”

During war time, Daugherty explained that the Red Cross was responsible for maintaining hospitals at the front, base hospitals, convalescent hospitals, as well as hospital ships and hospital trains. In addition, the Red Cross assists Y.M.C.A. recreation camps, extends relief to soldiers’ dependents, and aids the thousands of homeless and helpless victims of war.

Understanding that not only would people abroad be helped, but also the Red Cross would be there for the hometown boys from New Philadelphia, the newly formed chapter was eager to begin doing what it could.  Typical for the time, men formed committees to raise cash donations, and the women began sewing projects to provide hospital supplies.

A workroom was opened in Eagle Hall, above the New Philadelphia City Council offices, for the volunteer women workers. Open four days a week from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., the workroom was equipped with sewing machines, tables and chairs. Women were told to bring their own scissors, and they began making hospital supplies and articles of comfort for the soldiers.

Not unlike today, con artists must have been a problem for these early volunteer organizations as well.

On July 3, 1917 a statement was issued in the Daily Times of New Philadelphia, from the national headquarters of the American Red Cross, denouncing the use of chain letters and similar methods of raising money. Members and friends of the Red Cross were urged to neither donate nor assist those fostering such schemes.

Today, you can rest assured that donations made to the Red Cross are well spent. In addition, did you know that the Red Cross now also accepts used automobiles as donations? Learn more at https://neoredcross.org/donate/.

Red Cross Workers

Typical Red Cross workroom during WWI – photo courtesy of CTDA