Northeast Ohio Region weekend disaster response report: October 18-20, 2019

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

October 21, 2019- While residents of Northeast Ohio were enjoying the warm fall weekend weather and getting ready for Halloween, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Disaster Action Teams (DAT) were responding to individuals experiencing the worst day of their lives.

The Red Cross responded to 12 incidents, including several home fires, in nine counties, affecting all five regional chapters.

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As part of the weekend response, Northeast Ohio DAT volunteers assisted 26 adults and 14 children, and the Red Cross provided more than $7,000 in immediate financial assistance.

Just as disasters do not discriminate in terms of whose lives they destroy; the Red Cross does not discriminate in terms of whose lives we help rebuild. The Red Cross does not turn away people who need assistance after a disaster. We are committed to helping everyone in need.

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As the largest humanitarian organization in the world, the Red Cross has the ability to use your donation to reach more people in need, more quickly. Your donation to the Red Cross helps provide food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance during disasters.

To help the Red Cross provide hope and comfort to individuals in Northeast Ohio experiencing their darkest hours, please visit redcross.org/donate to provide a financial donation. Any amount donated truly helps with their recovery.

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Also, 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 without a doubt the face of the Red Cross. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more and to apply to become a Red Cross volunteer today.

Red Cross helps prevent home fires as part of Ashland Day of Caring

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

October 18, 2019- Support for neighbors and the community was in full swing on October 17, 2019, as part of the 25th annual Kay Conrad Ashland Day of Caring.

Organizations from all across Ashland County dedicated the day to volunteer their time to assist residents who are elderly, disabled and disadvantaged with tasks, such as light yard work, to help improve local communities.

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The American Red Cross was one of the organizations that took part in the day of caring.

Volunteers from the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter and partners visited homes across the county to help prevent home fires and make communities safer.

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As part of the Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross installed free smoke alarms in homes that had no or nonworking smoke alarms.

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Along with installing smoke alarms, volunteers provided residents with important fire safety tips and information on how to develop an escape plan, to ensure their family is prepared and safe in the event of a home fire.

For more information on the Home Fire Campaign in Northeast Ohio, including how to request a free smoke alarm, donate or how to become involved, visit SoundTheAlarm.org/NEO. The site also includes fire safety and prevention tips, checklists and more fire prevention and preparedness tools.

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To view more photos from the Kay Conrad Ashland Day of Caring, visit our Flickr page.

Wanted: Northeast Ohio Heroes

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

October 2, 2019- Do you know a community member who entered a burning home to rescue a trapped family? A passerby who pulled a drowning child to safety? A neighbor who administered CPR or abdominal thrusts to a total stranger? A dog that alerted its family to a fire? Then the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio needs your help!

The Greater Cleveland Chapter and the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter 46405978995_5834726541_cwill once again honor local individuals in 2020 who displayed extraordinary courage to become someone’s hero.

The Red Cross is asking for assistance from local communities to help identify ordinary people who have placed themselves in harm’s way or have even risked their own lives to save another.

Greater Cleveland Chapter

Nominees must reside or work within Cuyahoga, Lake or Geauga County. The heroic deed must have occurred in either 2018 or 2019.

Those individuals selected as heroes will be honored at the Greater Cleveland Heroes award breakfast at the Global Center for Health Innovation, 1 St. Clair Ave. NE, Cleveland, Ohio 44114, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, at 8:15 am.

Click here to learn more about the 2018 Greater Cleveland Hero award winners.

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Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter

Nominees must reside or work within Portage, Medina or Summit County and must have performed the heroic act in 2019.

All submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee. Individuals selected will be honored as local heroes at the Acts of Courage Awards ceremony to be held at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn on Thursday, March 5, 2020.

To learn more about the 2019 Acts of Courage award winners and their extraordinary stories, click here.

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To nominate a hero, visit redcross.org/neoheroes.

The deadline to submit nominations for the Greater Cleveland Chapter and the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter awards is December 31, 2019.

Lincoln Electric workers continue to make Euclid homes safer

Company workers install smoke alarms for the fifth consecutive year

By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

More than 600 homes in the city of Euclid have been made safer in the past four years, thanks to the efforts of Lincoln Electric employees and the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio.  They have installed more than 1,700 free smoke alarms, provided free batteries for existing alarms and offered valuable fire safety information during an annual event that began in 2015.

During the most recent Sound the Alarm event on Saturday, Sept. 21, dozens of Lincoln Electric workers gathered in teams of four, going door-to-door, and installing 328 alarms in 123 homes.

“This is a way for our company to give back to the community where we work,” said Chris Mapes, chairman, president and CEO of Lincoln Electric. “Our employees are helping make the community safer with free smoke alarms and fire safety information provided by the Red Cross.”

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Lincoln Electric Chairman, President and CEO Chris Mapes rallies employees prior to the 2019 Sound the Alarm event.  Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Mike Parks, regional CEO of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, said, “Lincoln Electric has been a dedicated partner in our efforts to make the community more resilient and save lives, thanks to efforts such as this.”

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Mike Parks, left, and Chris Mapes- Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross volunteer

As has been the case every year since Lincoln Electric staff began installing smoke alarms in 2015, Euclid Fire Chief Chris Haddock grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken to provide the employees who volunteered their time with a hearty lunch before they embarked on their lifesaving mission. Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail rallied the troops and thanked them for helping save lives.

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Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail and Tim O’Toole, Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross – Photo credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross volunteer

Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes without working smoke alarms. But these lifesaving devices cut the risk of dying in a fire in half. That’s why the Red Cross launched the Home Fire Campaign, to prevent needless deaths and injuries. Through the campaign’s year-round Sound the Alarm events, like the one that took place in Euclid on Saturday, volunteers and partners install free smoke alarms and help families create home fire escape plans.

The national Red Cross effort is modeled largely after a program that began in the city of Cleveland in 1992. Since then, more than 200,000 smoke alarms have been installed in Greater Cleveland by the local Red Cross and its partners.

Residents who need smoke alarms in their homes can visit soundthealarm.org/neo or call 216-361-5535 to request a and installation appointment. To volunteer for a future Sound the Alarm event and to learn more about other volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/volunteer.

To see more photos from the Lincoln Electric Sound the Alarm event, visit our photo album on Flickr.

Edited by Glenda Bogar/American Red Cross volunteer

Canton South High School teacher awarded American Red Cross Certificate of Merit

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross Volunteer

September 13, 2019- For Canton South High School, the new school year began with a celebration of heroism and life.  At the school’s first staff meeting, the American Red Cross presented Kristen Smith, one of the school’s teachers, with its Certificate of Merit. It is the highest award given by the Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course.

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The award was given to Kristen for her efforts that helped save a fellow teacher’s life. Last January, Kristen—who is trained in Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED—recognized the signs when a colleague began to choke during lunch. She quickly reacted, confirmed that the teacher was indeed choking, and performed abdominal thrusts until food was dislodged from her colleague’s airway.

Kristen’s colleagues nominated her for the Certificate of Merit over summer break, worked with Red Cross representatives to verify her remarkable actions, and helped plan for the award’s presentation. At the school’s first staff meeting, Kristen was surprised with the award.

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Kimberly Kroh, executive director of the American Red Cross’ Stark & Muskingum Lakes Chapter, presented the award. “It was such an honor to present Kristen Smith with the Certificate of Merit, one of the highest awards given by the American Red Cross,” she said. “It amazes me how one second can change someone’s life, and Kristen did just that when she saved the life of a fellow teacher.”

Jeff Moore, principal of Canton South High School, said, “Kristen exemplifies what we want all of our staff and students to be, someone who takes their education/training and uses those for the betterment of others, someone who is caring and is not afraid to be involved. We could not be more proud of Kristen and all she represents in Wildcat Nation.”

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The Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross is proud to have been part of the presentation and to have prepared Kristen for her heroic actions. The skills she learned certainly helped her save a life.

The American Red Cross offers a number of First Aid, CPR, AED and other classes throughout the year. If you would like information, visit https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class.

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If you wish to nominate someone for a lifesaving award, visit https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/lifesaving.

Click here to visit our Flickr account to see more photos from Kristen’s award presentation.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

Volunteers create quilts to help give those suffering from a local disaster a sense of home

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

August 26, 2019- Imagine that one day your home, unfortunately, is lost in a home fire. On the darkest day of your life, when you have lost everything you own, you stand there lost, unsure of how you will ever recover.

Now imagine an American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) member standing next to you providing you comfort and guidance on the many ways the Red Cross could assist you. Then the DAT worker provides you and your family with a handmade quilt, giving you a sense of home and reassurance that you will get back on your feet.

This is the experience of residents in Carroll, Harrison, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties who have been affected by a local disaster.

The quilts are a project of compassion for a group of Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter volunteers. Hazel Betz, Dolly Gibas, Carol Krantz, Martha MacLachian, Irene McGill, Pat Mercier, Wilma Nicholson, Donna Phillimore and Jean Phillimore, more affectionately known as the “sewing ladies,” channel their love with each stitch and patch.

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“The impact the sewing ladies have on individuals who are facing the worst day in their lives cannot be understated,” said Kim Kroh, executive director for the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter. “These women show that everyone has a part to play in helping get people back on their feet following a local disaster. The simple act of creating quilts with compassion has a lasting and powerful effect on individuals who have lost everything. They truly are instrumental members of the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter.”

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The nine women meet at the chapter’s Canton office. Amid batting and fabric donated by JoAnn Fabrics, the ladies share laughter and friendship, and like an assembly line, the ladies each have a specific task. From organizing fabric to finishing touches, the group takes pride in every detail to let people suffering from a local disaster know that someone cares.

Once the quilts are complete, there is one last detail. Each quilt gets a special tag sewn into a corner. The tag, which has heart symbols, reads “Handmade by the American Red Cross Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter.”

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Once they are done, the quilts are placed inside an emergency response vehicle. Each family who suffer a home fire or other local disaster receives one quilt per bed inside the residence.

This year, the sewing ladies of the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter were able to partake in a special honor. During the Crossroad Division meeting in Columbus, in honor of Division Vice President Sue Richter’s 50th anniversary with the Red Cross, Sue was presented with a special quilt, sewn by the women, which featured the Red Cross’ symbol.

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Carol, Dolly, Donna, Hazel, Irene, Jean, Martha, Pat and Wilma exemplify what it means to be a Red Crosser. Not only do they show that there is a volunteer opportunity to fit anyone’s interest, but with each stitch, and every quilt made, these women provide hope and a warm sense of home during someone’s darkest hour.

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If you would like to use your skills and interests to help others and become a Red Cross volunteer like the sewing ladies, please visit redcross.org/volunteer to find opportunities in your area.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Cherished volunteer is taking her talents to Toledo

Lake to River Chapter says goodbye to Tab Alden

August 16, 2019- The first moon landing was still a year away when Tab Alden first volunteered for the American Red Cross.  She has been a mainstay in the Lake to River Chapter ever since, screening prospective volunteers when they first come through the door of the Youngstown office, registering guests at the annual Acts of Courage awards, and visiting hospitalized veterans at the region’s VA facilities are among the many tasks she has tackled in the past 51 years.

Tab doesn’t plan to stop volunteering for the Red Cross anytime soon.  But she does plan to do it from a different location.

Tab is moving back to Toledo.

“It’s important to be with family, and I have a brother and nieces and nephews back in Toledo.  I’m moving back to be with them.”

The staff of the Lake to River Chapter surprised Tab with a going away party on Thursday, August 15. She reminisced about the more than half a century she has spent as a Red Cross volunteer.

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“It may be hard to believe, but I wasn’t very outspoken back then,” she said.  “The Red Cross helped bring me out of my shell.”

Karen Conklin, the executive director of the Lake to River Chapter, said she’s known Tab longer than almost anyone else. “She’s been with me so long, I can’t imagine what it will be like without her.”

She said Tab will always have her Red Cross family in the Lake to River Chapter.  “We’re going to miss her.  We’ve been so blessed to have her here for so long.”

See more photos from Tab’s going away party in our Flickr album.