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).

 

 

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!

Veronica Wise, Volunteer and Longtime Blood Donor

By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager

Veronica Wise began her journey with the American Red Cross at the former Portage County Chapter. As a volunteer, she helped coordinate blood drives and was a regular blood donor. So regular, in fact, that she has given more than 210 pints of blood to help patients in need. It is an amazing gift to give, and Veronica was recently recognized by Nancy Janis, the Executive Director of the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter for her efforts on behalf of the Red Cross.

 

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Red Cross volunteer and blood donor Veronica Wise received a Red Cross pin from Nancy Janis, Executive Director of the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter.

 

Not only did Veronica impact her community and the countless patients she helped save through blood donation, she instilled that same commitment to giving in her family. Karen Wise, Veronica’s daughter, knew from a young age the importance of giving back. She watched her mother donate blood and it made an impression on her. “When I was 16 it was a given – get your driver’s license and your Red Cross donor card,” Karen said.

 

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Karen displays the Red Cross Blood App

When asked about donating blood, 90-year-old Veronica insists, it wasn’t hard. “I enjoyed every minute of it.” The importance of donating grew for the Wise family when another of Veronica’s daughters was diagnosed with breast cancer. The family began giving platelets in her honor. Though, sadly, she lost her battle, the family continues to give blood regularly.

 

Karen shares that Veronica’s commitment left a mark on her family. “It’s something we can continue on,” she said. The Red Cross congratulates Veronica for her many donations and thanks her for inspiring so many to join her in helping save lives.  If you are so inspired, you can make an appointment to donate blood at RedCrossBlood.org, or call 1-800 RED CROSS.

 

Photo Credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross.  Visit our album on Flickr for more photos.

 

NEO Shelter Closes

The longest-running shelter operation in Northeast Ohio in recent memory has ended.

For 11 nights, residents of the Loganberry Ridge Apartments in Richmond Heights spentIMG_6247 the overnights away from their homes, with some of their neighbors and American Red Cross workers as they waited for their homes to be deemed safe enough to reoccupy.  A fire on July 20, 2018 forced them from their apartments, and repairs kept them away until July 31.

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Red Cross volunteers Monica Bunner, left, and Sue Wisdom with a shelter resident

 

During that time, more than 50 Red Cross volunteers staffed the shelter, 24 hours a day.  The shelter operation began at Richmond Heights High School, where officials were able to move quickly to help accommodate nine residents the first night.  Due to previously scheduled school activities, the shelter location moved to the Christian Assembly Church on nearby Chardon Road, where an average of seven residents took shelter for the next nine nights.

“We operated a shelter for seven days in 2006, when the Grand River flooded in Painesville,” said Debbie Chitester, who has worked for the Red Cross in Northeast Ohio for more than 25 years.  She served as Director of Operations for the Richmond Heights shelter.  “We made sure the residents were safe, and tried to give them a home away from home.”

“Every one of my needs have been met,” said Tracy Foster, one of the Richmond Heights residents who stayed in the shelter. “I’ve had plenty of water, plenty of sandwiches, lunch, breakfast and dinner.”  Tracy was featured in a video on day three of the shelter operation.

Almost 1,000 meals and snacks were served during the 11-night shelter operation.  The cost of food and water, logistics, technology, and immediate financial assistance the Red Cross committed to giving residents affected by the fire totaled nearly $11,000.  The funds for assisting victims of disasters are only available because of the generosity of donors, and the power of volunteers, who mobilize every time disaster strikes in Northeast Ohio and across the country.  You can donate to the Red Cross or volunteer to help your neighbors during their darkest hours by visiting redcross.org/neo.

See more photos from the shelter operation here.

State Award Named for Red Cross Volunteer

By EILENE E. GUY, American Red Cross volunteer

CANTON – The father of emergency medical technician (EMT) training got an early Father’s Day “card.”

Jack Liberator with Kim and Brittany

Jack Liberator, flanked by Brittany Paxos, left and Kim Kroh, right

On May 22, Jack B. Liberator of Canton received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the State of Ohio EMS Board for his pioneering contributions to the field of EMT training in Ohio and across the nation.

The American Red Cross has played a role in Jack’s career of service from the very beginning.

As a senior in high school, Jack joined the newly-formed Canton Township Fire Department and helped organize an emergency squad. He turned to the Red Cross for first aid training and quickly became an instructor for his own and nearby departments.

“I was going to Kent (State University) to become a teacher,” he said, “but I found I like going out on the squad; I liked patient care, so I switched over to become a nurse.”

As a newly-minted registered nurse in Columbus, Jack was struck by the primitive treatment of emergency victims, who often received transportation but little or no care, until they reached the hospital doors.  So in his “spare time,” he started teaching his own specialized classes in emergency medical care to fire departments in the Columbus area.

In 1958, the State Department of Education asked Jack to draft a comprehensive course in emergency victim care and rescue procedures. His student and instructor courses – the first statewide curriculum in the nation – became the foundation of modern EMT services and were widely copied.

Meanwhile, Jack pursued a career as a nursing and hospital administrator, served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 26 years, raised a family of six children, and continued to give to his community as a paramedic, EMS instructor and volunteer firefighter.

“Jack is a great example of a lifetime of service – personally, professionally and as a volunteer,” said Kim Kroh, executive director of the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter of the Red Cross. “We’re delighted that he received this state recognition. Closer to home, we’re so grateful for his continued service to our community through the Red Cross.”

Jack is an active member of the chapter’s board of directors and helps represent the Red Cross on the Stark County Emergency Management Agency board. He’s also a generous financial supporter, Kroh said.

“He truly lives our mission of mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, so we can help people prevent and respond to emergencies. Red Cross fits right into his life’s work.”

“If you volunteer, you’ll love it,” Jack says without hesitation.

To learn more about the many volunteer opportunities within the Red Cross – from preventing and responding to disasters to helping blood donors to serving our armed forces to teaching first aid, babysitting or water safety skills – visit https://neoredcross.org/volunteer