Love to drive? Become a Volunteer Transportation Specialist

By Courtney Roach, Manager, Biomedical Volunteer Workforce Engagement

How does it feel to help save a life? This is your chance to find out! If you have a little free time, love driving, and enjoy meeting new people, the Red Cross has a great volunteer position for you. We are currently seeking Volunteer Transportation Specialists in Cuyahoga County. It’s a unique volunteer position that supports blood pickup at both mobile and fixed site blood drives.

blood 1-11Why Is This Position So Important?

The Red Cross collects and distributes about 40% of our nation’s blood supply. When you pick up blood, platelets or other blood products from a blood collection site or deliver them to a hospital, you’re delivering hope to a person when they need it most.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Transport blood and blood products from blood collection sites to the laboratory for processing
  • Pick up and return boxes as needed
  • Complete required paperwork and obtain signatures
  • Communicate and share feedback between Red Cross personnel and customers
  • Drive in a safe and responsible manner in a Red Cross Vehicle and always provide strong customer.

The Ideal Candidate:

  • Enjoys driving
  • Is physically able to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Is timely and prompt
  • Is highly self-sufficient and dependable

The vital work of the American Red Cross is made possible by volunteers who contribute their time and talents. Every day our drivers help save people’s lives.

To apply or for more information, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact Melanie Collins at 330-204-6615 or melanie.collins4@redcross.org.

NEO Red Cross disaster response team was busy during first half of FY ’19

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

As the ball dropped in Times Square, it not only marked the end of 2018, but it also marked the closure of the first half of fiscal year 2019 for the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio.

dunham ave 2The Red Cross runs on a fiscal year calendar that runs from July to June. The first six months of FY ’19 were especially active for the Red Cross responding to local disasters and assisting residents in need in the region.

During the six-month period, Northeast Ohio disaster services workers responded to 804 cases, assisting 1,409 adults, 784 children and provided $400,041 in financial assistance to those affect by the disasters, such as home fires. To show the impact on the region, during the same six-month period in FY ’18, the Red Cross responded to 648 cases, assisted 1,130 adults, 712 children and provided $343,576 in financial assistance.

Unfortunately, disasters do not respect zip codes or county borders, as every region in Northeast Ohio was impacted from July to December. However, no matter where an emergency occurs, the Red Cross will be there to assist those in need. Below are FY ’19 numbers for all five regions:

  • Greater Cleveland: 379 cases, 1,021 individuals assisted, $152,437 in financial assistance
  • Lake to River: 140 cases, 394 individuals assisted, $77,559 in financial assistance
  • Lake Erie/Heartland: 114 cases, 330 individuals assisted, $70,647 in financial assistance
  • Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties: 104 cases, 269 individuals assisted, $60,028 in financial assistance
  • Stark and Muskingum Lakes: 67 cases, 182 individuals assisted, $39,370 in financial assistance

If you would like to provide a financial donation to assist the Red Cross’ efforts to support the residents of Northeast Ohio, visit redcross.org/donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

If you cannot assist financially, there is another way you may help the Red Cross assist IMG_1758those in need. Without the tremendous dedication of our volunteers, the Red Cross would not be able to serve the 22 counties and 4.5 million residents of Northeast Ohio. Volunteers make up 90 percent of our workforce. Our volunteers are truly the face of the Red Cross.

If you are interested in making an impact in your local community, the Red Cross is always looking for volunteers. To volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteer or contact our Volunteer Services Department directly at 216-431-3328 or NEOvolunteer@redcross.org.

A question that changed Christmas for me

By Sue Wilson, Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter board of directors. Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer.

About five years ago, my daughter asked me a question, and although I certainly didn’t expect my answer to be that profound, it actually changed the way I looked at Christmas. She asked, “Mom, do you remember any of the gifts you received last Christmas?” I had to think long and hard. And I was embarrassed that I could not.

She then pointed out that every year we spend far too much money and time getting stressed about gifts, and that isn’t what Christmas should be about. She said that as a new mom and living states away, the best gift was being home. Plus, although she wanted to make Christmas special for her kids, she didn’t want them focused on the consumerism that Christmas had turned into. I was proud that she, and my other daughter, too, felt that the best memories from childhood were laughing, cooking, eating, playing board games and watching Christmas movies. So, we all agreed we’d scale back on the gift buying.

Historical First AidAlthough we haven’t completely stopped giving gifts–we have cut way back—and the gifts we give now are intentional, mindful and less tangible. We give gifts of time and experiences. Gifts that are practical. Our standards: If you can’t use it, wear it because you need it, eat it or take part in it, we won’t buy it. No more impractical “stuff” to sit on a shelf. We’ve also incorporated giving gifts that have true meaning–gifts for the greater good. And one of those is making a donation to a worthy cause. After I joined the board of directors for the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter, giving gifts of meaning became even more important to me.

This year, there are so many who will not be celebrating Christmas as they did last year because their home was destroyed by the devastation of a wildfire or hurricane. Every night, in any given city, there is a home fire. I’ve seen first-hand the work the Red Cross does on a local and national level, and to continue to do this work your financial support is needed. Here are three creative and meaningful gift ideas:

  • For disaster relief, donate here. (Print a card or certificate to tell a loved one that you donated in their honor.)
  • If you still enjoy giving traditional gifts, you can shop online at the  Red Cross store and give a practical gift—the gift of preparedness for emergencies, with first aid kits, a hand-crank radio that can charge your cell phone, water bottles and more.
  • Visit redcross.org/gifts and choose from a variety of symbolic gifts that give back to people in need. 183401-18-Holiday-Campaign-2018_Social-Media-Plan_Facebook-Post-Graphic_2_FINAL

All donations are tax-deductible and will support Red Cross programs like Disaster Services, Service to the Armed Forces, Blood Services and International Services.

This holiday, give something that means something, and you’ll feel just like Mr. Scrooge did when he woke up-giddy on Christmas morning knowing he was going to make so many people’s lives better. Give, that’s what Christmas spirit is all about.

Fundraiser provides festive kickoff to the holiday season

Proceeds to benefit local Red Cross disaster relief

WOOSTER – The Festival of Trees has become a tradition in Wooster, to help residents in Wayne, Holmes, Ashland and Richland Counties kick-off the holiday season.  For 27 years it has helped to provide critical funding for disaster services provided by the American Red Cross Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.

On Tuesday, November 27, Festival-goers sipped local wines from Troutman Vineyards and Blue Barn Winery, along with beer and pop provided by Bowman Beverage. They also enjoyed Certified Angus beef and appetizers prepared by Wooster Country Club, as they meandered through the Buckeye Agricultural Museum and Education Center, admiring the trees and wreaths decorated by local artisans and enthusiasts.  A list of the designer award winners is below.

For more pictures from the Festival of Trees, visit our photo album here

The Museum provided a unique backdrop for the Festival, as the trees and wreaths, along with the many silent auction items, were positioned among vintage farm equipment on display there.  More than 260 tickets were sold for this year’s event. 

“The main purpose of this event is to raise funds for the local community Red Cross,” said Festival Chair Sean Ulik.  “We cover a large area, and the funds are very important.”

The Red Cross assists 300 local families, on average every year, by providing help and hope following a home fire or other disaster.  The Red Cross distributes more than $180,000 every year in immediate financial assistance for shelter, clothing and other emergency needs.

“We’re here to save lives,” Sean said, highlighting the smoke alarms installed by Red Cross volunteers in homes throughout the community.“it’s amazing how many individuals do not have smoke alarms.  Those smoke alarms are so important in saving lives.”

For more information about the Home Fire Campaign, visit soundthealarm.org/neo.  And if you’d like to help provide the funds for the assistance needed by residents affected by disasters, visit redcross.org/neo, or call 1-800 RED CROSS to make a donation.

2018 Festival of Trees Designer Award winners:

Honorary Chair Award: Splendor in Red Wreath, designed by Tess Hustack

Best Agricultural Design: Weathervane Tree, donated by Consumer National Bank and Designed Mariah Crater

Most Creative: Frosty Tree, donated and designed by Diane Evans

Best Wreath: Stag N Star Wreath, designed by Tess Hustack

Most Christmassy: Rustic Bells Tree, designed by Christina Ennis

Best Little Tree: Winter Dreams, donated by Howard Hanna

People’s Choice: Sleigh Ride Tablepiece, donated and designed by CR Blooms Floral

Lake Erie/Heartland heroes celebrated in Mansfield

By: Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

Ten heroes were honored for their bravery in the American Red Cross Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter. On October 4, the Chevy Network and Graham Chevrolet presented the Hero Awards to benefit the American Red Cross and to recognize the extraordinary acts, passion, courage and dedication of the volunteers. The event was held at The Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield.

The event commenced with Matti Lynn Chrisman, Miss Ohio 2008, singing the national anthem and Air National Guard 179th Airlift Wing Commander Colonel Allison Miller providing a video message honoring the efforts and actions by the award recipients.

Ten individuals were awarded, and these are the stories of those honored:

Tracy M. Dodson, Call to Action Hero- While at the Wayne County Fair, Tracy witnessed a person in line in front of her go into cardiac arrest. Tracy, a nurse, administered CPR and continued CPR after the Red Cross First Aid Team arrived. Due to her rapid identification and quick action in stressful conditions, the individual regained a heartbeat and was conscious by the time the rescue squad arrived.

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Dr. Edward Adkins, Health Professional Hero- Dr. Atkins has been a primary care physician for more than 30 years. Along with providing quality, compassionate care to his patients in Ohio, Dr. Adkins does mission trips to third world countries to help heal individuals in dire need of health care. Dr. Adkins has provided care to individuals in Africa and he also traveled to Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

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Pauline Anderson, Spirit of the Red Cross Hero- Since 2006, Pauline’s quarterly blood drives have collected 1,956 blood donations, and will easily clear the 2,000 mark this year. These drives may have helped save nearly 6,000 lives. Pauline’s extraordinary work as a Blood Drive Coordinator began in 2001, when her step daughter put on a blood drive honoring the life of her mother, who passed away from leukemia a year earlier.

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Hunter Woodruff, Call to Action Hero- Hunter, while driving home from his job, had noticed a car trapped in flood water in Mansfield. Without thinking twice, Hunter pulled over and jumped into the flood water. Due to Hunter’s quick action, the driver of the sinking car was saved.

Officer Ryan Garner, A Presence to Remember- Officer Ryan Garner, a Mansfield K-9 officer, was a fixture of the community. Officer Garner had a passion for being a police officer and was dedicated to not only helping his fellow officers, but also helping individuals in need. Officer Garner passed away from lung cancer in May 2018.

 Officer John Fuller, Police Hero- Officer John Fuller was the first community policing officer in Mansfield, as well as the community’s first bike patrol officer. Officer Fuller was committed to bridging the gap between the police and the community. His love for the community was evident by his interactions with children and their families. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Officer Fuller took personal time and traveled to New York City to help locate individuals trapped in the rubble.

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Merris Welge, Community Educator Hero- Merris has volunteered his time educating the community through the North Central Ohio SCORE organization for 22 years. SCORE is a mentoring program that provides free counseling, advice and resources to people who are in business or who wish to start a business.

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Jan Wendling, Military Inspiration Hero- Jan, a Mansfield resident, served as a tank commander for the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. Following his return from the war, Jan served as a Mansfield police officer and helped develop the Mansfield Vietnam War Memorial.

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Missy Houghton, Animal Advocate Hero- Missy is the passionate director of the Humane Society of Richland County. She is making a difference locally through education and action. One animal Missy helped save was a cat named Vandy. Vandy arrived as a kitten with severe burns, missing an ear and an exposed skull. Missy was able to contact the Horizon Animal Hospital, which performed a skin graft surgery in April 2017. Vandy survived and has made appearances at Humane Society fundraisers.

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The event was managed by Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter volunteer board member Luke Beekman, who also produced a video honoring the award winners, which was shown during the event.

To view photos from the Chevy Network and Graham Chevrolet Hero Awards, visit our Flickr page.

Ronald J. Warzel Blood Donation Center relocates

Now in the Regional Headquarters building across the street

By Christy Peters, Manager, External Communications, Northern Ohio Blood Region

As part of the continuing effort to provide the best service and experience to our dedicated donors, the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross recently relocated its Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center. Formerly housed at 3636 Euclid Ave., the donation center has is now located in the Northeast Ohio Regional headquarters building at 3747 Euclid Ave. The new site officially opened Aug. 30, 2018 and many donors have already stopped by the newly renovated space.

The new site continues to offer Red Cross donors the opportunity to give whole blood, platelets or plasma. The site is open seven days a week and offers more flexible hours than a mobile site, for donors who may need early morning or late evening appointments. Currently, the Red Cross has a critical need for platelet and type O blood donations. Hundreds of blood drives have been forced to cancel due to Hurricane Florence, resulting in over 6,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Donors of all types are need to recover donations canceled by the storm.

The Northern Ohio Blood Services Region is excited to share the new and improved Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center with the community. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment to give at redcrossblood.org, by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Here are some photos from the grand opening of the Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center. To see more photos from the center opening, please visit our Flickr page:

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Regional CEO Mike Parks donates blood during the grand opening of the Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center

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Donors give blood in the new Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center in Cleveland

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Ronald J. Warzel Donation Center staff

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Ronald Warzel accepts a commemorative photograph of the grand opening of the new blood donation center from Greater Cleveland Chapter Chairman Christopher Mapes

Festive Canfield Fair Offers Volunteers Opportunities and Fun

By Karen Conklin, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Lake to River Chapter
Photos by Mary Williams/American Red Cross

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Who remembers the Lennon Sisters? How about Journey? “Don’t stop believing!” Are you a Band Perry fan? Do you enjoy Toby Keith? These artists have all entertained at the Canfield Fair! Toby Keith will once again perform on Sept. 3 at this year’s fair.

The Canfield Fair (Mahoning County) is the largest county fair in Ohio. More than 350,000 visitors will come through the gates from Aug. 29 through Labor Day. At the Lake to River Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Canfield Fair is a big deal. We’ve been smelling those french fries and hot sausage sandwiches for weeks. Over 437 vendors participate in the fair and, by the way, parking is always free.

IMG_1654For decades, the Red Cross has played an important role at the fair. Each day the blood mobile is there collecting lifesaving blood. In the medical building, board members and volunteers staff our booth, where we pass out smoke alarm application forms. We work in three-hour shifts. Most help at our booth, then take in the sights, sounds and, of course, the food. Our volunteers get free tickets to the fair! We may have some shifts available.IMG_1681

Another important service we provide—and have been for the past half-century—is the first aid station. This is such an important part of IMG_1626the fair that 20 years ago, the Canfield Fair Board constructed a Red Cross building, where onsite care is provided. They also built a secondary site on the opposite side of the fairgrounds. Certified Red Cross volunteers help scribe (keep records)  and do minor triage for fair injuries that are overseen by a doctor. EMS plays a part, transporting the injured via golf carts to immediate help. Ambulances (and even a helicopter) are a call away if needed. Historically, the most frequent fair injuries have been bee stings, animal bites and blisters. So if you attend, wear comfortable shoes, don’t stick your hands in the animals’ stalls and do eat lots of yummy fair food. Who cares about the calories?

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Since 1846 the Canfield Fair has been serving up fun times and great memories. If you are interested in volunteering, call our office at 330-392-2551 and ask for Vickie. If you’re not yet a volunteer, visit our website and click the “Volunteer” tab at the top of the page to start the process.