Volunteers Pass the Bucket for Donations from Globetrotter Fans

Dozens of volunteers fanned out at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown on Saturday with buckets in hand, hoping for donations at the Harlem Globetrotters  game.

They weren’t disappointed.

“The crowd was fantastic.  Most everyone dug into their pockets to put a buck or two in our Red Cross buckets,” said volunteer Gary Offerdahl. “We got 5’s, 10’s and 20’s too. Most everyone was very generous.  And not only did we collect some money for the Red Cross, we had a lot of fun, too.”

The Globetrotters have designated the Red Cross as their official charity, as part of the team’s The Great Assist initiative.  The Pass the Bucket effort in Youngstown was the first such attempt to collect funds directly from fans at a Globetrotters game.

“This partnership brings two great American organizations together in order to achieve a common goal—to help people in need and to put smiles on people’s faces,” said Howard Smith, President of the Harlem Globetrotters.

“This was so worthwhile,” said Karen Conklin, Executive Director of the Lake to River Chapter.  “We got to meet a lot of the people we serve in the community, and we got to get up close and personal with some REALLY tall basketball players.  Our volunteers will remember this day for a long, long time.”

WKBN covered the effort, airing the story during the 11:00 news Saturday night.

If you aren’t able to donate to the Red Cross at a Globetrotters game, but would like to contribute to the life saving mission of the Red Cross, you can make a donation here, or call 1-800-RED CROSS.  You can also text the word ASSIST to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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Click here for ticket information and the schedule for the Globetrotters 2017 World Tour.

 

Reporting for Duty: Mike Parks Deploying to Louisiana

Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region, is deploying to Louisiana.

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NEO CEO Mike Parks, addressing Red Cross workers during flood relief work in West Virginia in July, 2016

“The situation in Louisiana remains critical,” said Parks.  “People need help right now. This is who we are as the Red Cross, caring servants. I am proud to join over 2,500 Red Cross workers – 13 of whom are from Northeast Ohio – already in Louisiana.”

Each day, the Red Cross is able to get into more and more neighborhoods, and volunteers are working tirelessly to provide assistance. More than 90 Red Cross response vehicles, including 2 from Northeast Ohio, are fanning through affected neighborhoods to distribute food, water and relief supplies. Disaster mental health and health services volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace things like lost eyeglasses, wheelchairs and medications.

Some residents remain in shelters.

Since the onset of flooding in Louisiana, the Red Cross and partners have provided more than 55,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people.In addition, more than 466,000 meals and snacks have been served.

“Our help is just beginning. We will be there to help people recover in the weeks and months to come. We ask people to please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today to support the people of Louisiana.”

Learn more here how the Red Cross is giving people a place to go when there is no place to go through the words of one woman who has lost everything.

HOW TO HELP People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recovery from these disasters.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER To join us, visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

 

How Can You Help Baton Rouge?

The Red Cross continues to provide hope, shelter and meals to those affected in Louisiana.

If you are asking yourself, “How can I help them?” Well, it’s as easy as sending a text (if you can’t do it yourself, may I recommend finding your nearest 5-year-old as they are shockingly amazing at it.) Simply text LAFLOODS to 90999 and a ten dollar donation to the American Red Cross will appear on your next cellular phone bill. Those with iPhones can also make a $5-$200 donation through iTunes and the App Store.

This donation will help us provide services and relief items to those affected by flooding in Louisiana.

Seven days in to the response, Red Cross shelters have hosted over 42,000 overnight stays. Nearly 2,800 remain in shelters. This is a number not typically seen this many days into an operation.

We have distributed 250,000 meals and snacks in shelters and communities.

Many are starting the work of rebuilding their lives; this is the next phase of a disaster response. Teams of Red Cross workers, including more than a dozen volunteers from Northeast Ohio, are in communities where the waters have receded, surveying the damage done and helping families navigate available financial and well-being assistance. Red Cross trucks from around the country are out providing meals and cleaning supplies to those tackling the job of repairing their homes.

The current estimate for the Red Cross response in Louisiana stands at $30 million.

NEO Volunteers Deploy to Louisiana Flooding

Red Cross disaster workers — including 8 from here in Northeast Ohio — are helping thousands of Louisiana residents with a safe place to stay and food to eat despite closed roads and continued flooding making it challenging to get relief supplies to where they are needed.

Volunteers, Sue and Linda left from the Cleveland office in an emergency response vehicle this morning. A second team left from Youngstown.

The truck (lovingly referred to as an ERV by Red Cross staff) will be used transport cleaning items like mops, buckets and bleach or hot meals prepared by our partners at one of the eight Southern Baptist kitchens out in to the communities affected by the flood.

The current flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy.

Monday night more than 8,400 people sought refuge in 36 Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana. More than 1,000 Red Cross disaster volunteers have been mobilized from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to help with the Louisiana relief efforts. The Red Cross is also mobilizing over 60 ERVS — like the two that left Northeast Ohio this morning — with nearly 40,000 ready-to-eat meals, and dozens of trailers filled with shelter and kitchen supplies.

“People in Louisiana urgently need our help now,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO. “Please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today.”

HOW TO HELP People in Louisiana are facing a dire situation. Floodwaters still cover neighborhoods. An estimated 25,000 homes are damaged, affecting at least 75,000 people. Thousands of people have no power when it feels like 99 degrees outside and more than 100 roads are closed. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recovery from these disasters.

FINDING LOVED ONES Residents of the affected areas can connect with their loved ones by using the “I’m Safe” button on the Red Cross Emergency App which is free and can be found in the app store for someone’s mobile device by searching for “American Red Cross” or by going to redcross.org/apps.

People can also visit http://www.redcross.org/safeandwell to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, a secure and private way that friends and family connect. The site also allows people to update their status on Facebook and Twitter.

JOINT RELIEF EFFORT The Red Cross is working closely with the entire response community to coordinate relief efforts and deliver help quickly and efficiently, keeping in mind the diverse needs of the community. Some of the organizations sending help to the area include Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, the NAACP, Islamic Relief USA, Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services, Save the Children, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, AFL-CIO, Verizon, Duracell, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Baton Route YMCA and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints volunteers.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER To become a Red Cross volunteer, visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

3 Reasons and 4 Ways to #Help1Family on Red Cross Giving Day

GD16_Meals_FacebookNearly every eight minutes, the American Red Cross extends a helping hand to a family in need that has lost everything – the roof over their heads, their clothes, and their most cherished possessions – to a home fire.

The Red Cross has been busy helping neighbors in and around Northeast Ohio, but we need your help on one special day to continue to provide the emergency services that our neighbors depend on each and every day.

On April 21, you have a chance to help families in need whenever and wherever they need it by participating in the Red Cross’ Giving Day to #help1family. A donation of just $88.50 can provide a family with a day’s worth of food, plus blankets and other essentials.

We are proud of the work we accomplished to help people in Northeast Ohio last year:

  1. Installing 8,960 smoke alarms in NEO communities
  2. Provided 3,161 students with disaster readiness training through The Pillowcase Project, sponsored by Disney
  3. Responded to over 950 disaster incidents such as home fires or flooding

Spread the word about Giving Day – the more people who support Giving day means we can help more families.  Use your social media channels to reach out to friends and family and ask them to donate to #help1family by visiting https://givingday.redcross.org/region/northeast-ohio.

Here are four ways your donation will #help1family:

  1. GD16_Volunteer_FacebookSupporting a family in urgent need: provide funding to give a family a day’s worth of food, blankets, and other essentials.
  2. Supplying warm meals: help provide hearty, comforting meals to people impacted by disasters.
  3. Providing clean-up kits after a disaster strikes: make clean-up kits available for families in need that include vital items like a mop, bucket, and disinfectant.
  4. Deploying an emergency response vehicle for a day: Red Cross workers travel to impacted neighborhoods in fully stocked Emergency Response vehicles to provide food, water and critical relief.

 

Imagine the impact that we could have on our community if everyone wanted to #help1family.

Thank you.

A Report on the Flooding in Louisiana

By: Pam Williams, volunteer

 

Since the flooding in the south began three weeks ago, nearly 2,000 Red Crossers working alongside partners have provided 4,700 overnight stays in 60 shelters; served 290,000 meals and snacks; distributed more than 119,000 relief items including comfort kits and cleaning supplies; and provided nearly 9,000 health and mental health consultation.

I deployed to Louisiana as part of the External Relations team. As a Government Operations Lead, I helped coordinate necessary services and activities with local, state, federal and Tribal government partners and worked with our Community Partner Services volunteers who identify non-government partners, private agencies and/or organizations and members of the affected communities to assist those affected by the disaster.

This was my 22nd deployment and several of them have been in response to floods. My friends think I’m off to see the country, and I suppose they’re right, but I’m seeing it in pain. However, while each disaster and each response is different I have found one constant – I am seeing people at their best. Whether it is Red Cross volunteers who leave their lives and families to respond, community groups who step up to help their neighbors or those affected by the disaster who are amazingly resilient there is a spirit that moves people forward.

Since returning to Northeast Ohio, here are some of the things I have learned about the response in Louisiana:

  • This is the largest sheltering operation for the Red Cross in Louisiana since Hurricane Gustav and Ike in 2008, and Hurricane Isaac in 2012.
  • As many as 12,000 people have been impacted by the flooding across the state with hundreds of residences either destroyed or receiving major damage.
  • The Red Cross estimates that we will spend between $8.5 million and $11.5 million helping people affected by spring floods and storms across Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee – and we haven’t raised anywhere near the millions of dollars we’re spending to provide the relief needed.
  • Since the flooding began, the Red Cross and our partners have provided more than 3,000 overnight stays in 30 shelters; served 216,000 meals and snacks; distributed 53,000 relief items including comfort kits and cleaning supplies; and provided 3,800 health and mental health consultations in Louisiana alone. Over three weeks into this response operation we are still sheltering affected residents and pockets of previously unidentified people are popping up everyday. There are over 430 areas that continue to be marked as inaccessible so our Disaster Assessment teams can’t yet get in to see how badly the homes have been affected.

The Red Cross has also deployed hundreds of volunteers (like me) to staff these disasters–and we are appealing for additional Red Cross volunteers now. The time and talent of every volunteer makes a real difference in people’s lives. Go to redcross.org/volunteer today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

Louisiana Floods 2016

Sunday March 13, 2016. Rayville, Louisiana. Bobby Ray Griffin and Mildred Means took on more than a foot of water in their Rayville, Louisiana, home. They had already spent much of the day removing flood-damaged furniture from their home when Red Cross volunteers came through their neighborhood with snacks and water. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross

Louisiana Floods 2016

March 14, 2016. Monroe, Louisiana. At 9-months-old, Jakenzie Bradford is one of the youngest staying at this Monroe, Louisiana, Red Cross shelter. She and her family where displaced when floodwaters entered their home nearly a week ago. The Red Cross provides a safe place where children and families can feel comfortable and secure as they begin the road to recovery after disasters like floods. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross

20th Annual Acts of Courage event in Akron a success!

We are so pleased to be able to honor those in our community who have acted courageously to save the life of another. Each of the stories we have presented at the annual Red Cross Acts of Courage in Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties over the past twenty years have inspired so many people to step up and do the same.

We continue to be amazed by these people.

This year the Red Cross presented the Acts of Courage award to ten individuals.  Whether saving a woman from a home fire, pulling a man from the wreckage of a car accident or performing an abdominal thrust to save a classmate, each of these honorees are so deserving of the recognition.

Here are their stories:

Colin Bues was recognized for performing abdominal thrusts to save the life of a classmate.

The self-described class clown, 9-year-old Weston Bauer was throwing cheese puffs into the air and catching them in his mouth during a classmate’s birthday party. One of these got lodged in his throat. Weston couldn’t breathe. He motioned that he was choking, but the other children thought he joking. Colin Bues, also 9-years-old, knew something was wrong. He ran to Weston and performed a quick abdominal thrust, the kind he had seen on a safety poster in the lunchroom at school. The puff went flying out of Weston’s mouth.

After confirming that Weston was okay, Colin threw the bag of cheese puffs in the trash. He was very pleased that he had helped his friend, but didn’t want it to happen again.

Edward Kocsis Jr. was recognized for saving a man following a car crash.

As Edward (Ed) Kocsis, Jr. and his fiancé were sitting at a red light, he noticed a car coming over the hill. It seemed like the driver was intent on rear-ending Ed, but at the last moment erratically pulled away. As the car drove past, Ed could see that the other driver was slumped over. The vehicle blew out a telephone pole and rolled.

“You see someone in trouble, and it’s just natural,” said Ed of his next move. “When you see something like that you don’t think, you just act.”

The driver side door was crushed, and through the window he could see that the driver’s head was twisted. Ed smelled fluid leaking on the hot engine. Carefully, he climbed in and pulled the bloody man out of the smoking car. Ed sat with him, cradling his head until first responders appeared.

Officer Brandon Bridgewater was recognized for saving multiple families and carrying a child from an apartment fire.

Three days into his career as a full-time Windham Police Officer, Brandon Bridgewater was first on the scene of an apartment building in flames. Running through the residence, he pounded on doors to wake residents. At one apartment, a startled mother and small child turned back for another child who was upstairs. Officer Bridgewater ran into the smoke filled apartment and carried the second child out into the cold night.

As they watched the flames, Officer Bridgewater kept the numerous, displaced families warm by bringing coffee from a nearby convenience store and letting the young and elderly wait in his cruiser until the Red Cross was on the scene to assist them.

Carolyn Hanson, and Kristin Dowling were recognized for performing CPR on a neighbor who had collapsed.

It began as a very unusual day for Carolyn Hanson. She had woken up with a backache on the morning of Dec. 30, 2014. When her husband suggested that they take a walk to work out the kinks on the nearby City of Stow Hike and Bike trail, she decided to take him up on it. Walking on the trail was something they did regularly, though not usually at that time.

On their way they met up with David Dluzyn, a neighbor who had just finished his morning run. As they were talking, David stopped suddenly and fell backwards – smack – on to the pavement. The couple called 911, and Carolyn began CPR. Neighbors began to come out to see what was happening. Carolyn, not knowing anything about David except for his name and that he lived somewhere close by, instructed one to look in David’s shoe where he had previously mentioned that he kept identifying information. After locating the slip of paper, the neighbor ran home to get his daughter, Kristin Dowling, who was also trained in CPR.

Kristen, who had received Red Cross training as a lifeguard, and Carolyn began to trade off doing compressions until the paramedics arrived.

David is recovering and continues to run on the trail.

 

Kizzy Spaulding was recognized for rescuing a woman from her burning home.

“You notice things,” said Kizzy Spaulding, an Akron-area postal worker. “Clients start to become family.”

As Kizzy walked her East Akron mail route, an unusual smell permeated the neighborhood. She noticed that one of her clients was not out working in her yard as was her daily routine. Kizzy sensed that something wasn’t right. She doubled-back and opened the client’s mail slot. She glanced through the small area and noticed the smell was coming from the home. She could see the elderly client holding her head and laying on a couch inside.

Kizzy began to call to the woman. She seemed dazed and did not respond. Fearing for her client, Kizzy pushed open the door and carried the slight woman outside. She called 911 before she returned to the house and doused the smoking stove.

Once first responders were on the scene, Kizzy picked up her mail pouch and returned to her route.

Scott Nelson and Bob Moore were recognized saving a man who was drowning in the freezing waters of the Ohio and Erie Canal.

It was well below freezing on January 9, 2015. Bob Moore and Scott Nelson were waiting for a car repair to be completed, and decided to find some place close to eat. They found a small establishment right on the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Inside they chatted with the owner, Stephen Risner, and made friends with his dog, Sam.

Shortly after ordering their food, a woman came into the lounge shouting that there was a man thrashing in the frozen canal. Scott and Bob ran out to see what was going on and found Sam, wet and whimpering, wandering the shores of the canal and barking for his owner. Stephen had fallen in while trying to rescue Sam from the water.

Scott waded into the water, while Bob retrieved a long extension cord from the car. After tossing the cord, the two were finally able to pull Stephen from the icy water.  First responders arrived on the scene and helped Stephen up the embankment and treated Scott, whose clothes were wet and cold.

Sam was put in a warm car.

Ashley Feldman was recognized for saving man who was had fallen outdoors during the polar vortex.

On one of the coldest mornings of 2015, Ashley Feldman was on her way to her job as a receptionist when she noticed something in the open field near the dog park at Liberty Park. The object struck her as odd, so she stopped to investigate.

It turned out to be an elderly man who had gone to the park to let his dog run. He had lost his footing in the deep snow and, having recently had replacement surgery in both knees, was unable to pull himself up.

Despite not being dressed for the frigid temperatures, Ashley ran to him. As she tried to provide him some warmth, he confided that he had been laying there for 45 minutes.

Kelli Chronister was recognized for performing CPR on a fellow bike rider during the Sweet Corn Challenge.

Kelli Chronister

In the July Sweet Corn Challenge bike ride, Kelli Chronister was riding behind a man who fell off his bike in the middle of the road at mile 22 of the 25 mile ride. She recognized a full-arrest heart attack and immediately started CPR. She continued for several minutes and as other cyclists and the police got to the scene, they took turns administering the CPR. When the emergency crews arrived they administered the defibrillator. The 52-year-old victim later learned that he had a serious heart condition that required surgery. The emergency people said that without that immediate help given by Kelli and others he would have died. Kellie teaches respiratory therapy at UA.

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To commemorate twenty years of celebrating acts of heroism, we launched a CrowdRise campaign at the event to encourage community members to #GetAlarmed and be a hero in our community by supporting our smoke alarms initiative, Operation Save-A-Life.  Through donations given at the event we raised $2,015 which will help us install smoke alarms in nearly 67 homes! If you wish to donate, visit bit.ly/GetAlarmedSPM. We would also encourage you to share the message with your friends and family. Together we can help save lives.

This year’s event raised nearly $140,000. Proceeds from last night will assist us in providing Red Cross services throughout Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties.

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In addition to recognizing the heroism of area residents at the event, we presented the H. Peter Burg Award to Leonard Foster, a community member who has been selfless in service to the community by demonstrating a lifelong commitment to humanitarian causes, charitable organizations and the vitality and welfare of the local community.