If Ever There Was a Time, It Is Now

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross Board Member and Community Volunteer Leader

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A Kenya Red Cross volunteer leads the way through flood waters after torrential rains this year.
More than 210,000 people have so far been forced to flee their homes. Red Cross teams are
providing emergency relief, including health services and shelter, even as rising flood waters
continue to wreak havoc. Photo: Kenyan Red Cross

May 8 is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the world’s largest humanitarian network. It is neutral and impartial and provides protection and assistance to people affected by disasters and conflicts…and it sure seems that one day isn’t enough to reflect on these organizations and the services most of us take for granted.

Most Americans know that in times of crisis, the Red Cross is there. We know, inherently, that we will see them and their dedicated volunteers right alongside brave first responders in the midst of it all – from an international humanitarian crisis to a natural disaster, or closer to home, if we or our neighbors are affected by an emergency, such as a home fire.

“The International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has a presence in 190 countries, including the United States,” said Jessica Tischler, Director of International Services for the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region.  “That allows Red Cross Chapters to reconnect people with their families when they are separated by armed conflict, natural disasters, and other crises through our Restoring Family Links service.”

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Many people feel we are living in troubled times. They may feel that we, as a nation and a world, are more divided than ever. Interestingly, however, it seems that In the midst of a crisis, people tend to pull together for the greater good. As I read the mission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and their seven fundamental principles, I can’t help but think, ‘‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all set aside our differences and live within these guidelines in our everyday lives?’’

The principles are:

  1. Humanity
  2.  Impartiality
  3.  Neutrality
  4.  Independence
  5.  Voluntary Service
  6.  Unity
  7.  Universality

These principles are the result of a century of experience. Proclaimed in Vienna in 1965, they bond together the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. If ever there was a time to put these ‘golden rules’  into action in our world, our nation, and our communities – it is now.

Happy World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day! I’m proud to play even a small role in this wonderful organization.  Here are some incredible photos to honor the day.  For more information, please visit redcross.org.

 

 

Let’s DO this! Sounding the Alarm in Akron!

by: Mary Williams, Communications Staff Member

Nearly 25 Red Cross workers hit the streets of Akron to help Sound the Alarm to end home fires.

The first Sound the Alarm event held in Akron, eight teams traveled to prearranged homes in all points of the city, while another group dropped off flyers for the May 5th event at homes in west Akron.

All told, volunteers and staff member helped make 45 homes safer, installing 123 alarms.

If you would like to help make our community safer, or need working smoke alarms in your home, visit soundthealarm.org/neo.

Pictures from Tuesday’s event can be found on our flickr page and on Facebook.

 

 

Red Cross Reminiscing

By Jorge Martinez, Regional Chief Operating Officer

“The door that nobody else will go in at, seems always to swing open widely for me.”  -Clara Barton

That is exactly what happened at the Regional Headquarters on Wednesday, April 25th. Our doors swung open and in came a wonderful band of brothers and sisters.  Our cherished Red Cross retirees met for their annual meeting and in attendance were nearly 15 retirees with over 300 years of dedicated Red Cross service.

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Red Cross retirees pose with Regional CEO Mike Parks on April 25, 2018

Together with staff members, bread was broken, stories were shared (most of them true) and hearts were warmed.  One of the highlights occurred when John Gareis – our Preparedness Lead Specialist who has been with the Red Cross for 42 years – joined the group.  He knew many of the retirees and collectively they shared their stories.  The stories were wonderful and entertaining, but at heart was the obvious humanitarian and volunteer spirit that is the Red Cross.  And yes, the retirees appreciated greatly having John serve as a bridge from their Red Cross of years gone by to the same and different Red Cross that exists today.

We are nothing if we don’t remember our past or fail to honor the giants on whose shoulders we stand.  The comradery in the room was palpable and it truly is a testament to the great organization which we all have the privilege of being a part of.  It was humbling to be in a room of Red Cross giants!

To quote William Shakespeare, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters).”

Summer’s Coming – What are Your Kids and Grandkids Doing This Year?

 By Doug Bardwell,  American Red Cross volunteer

Don’t look outside; but trust me — summer is coming. We may just skip spring, but summer is coming. And, what do your children or grandchildren have planned for their school vacation? Red Cross has a suggestion.

Since many teenagers are required to complete a certain number of service hours, there’s a way they can do that and gain some life skills at the same time. Have them consider the American Red Cross Summer Youth Corps program  where youth will serve as Donor Ambassadors at our blood drives.

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Open to teens and young adults from 14 to 24, it’s easy to get involved. Start by contacting Melanie Collins at melanie.collins4@redcross.org or 330-204-6615. She’ll enroll them in one of the two remaining mandatory training sessions:

  • Saturday, May 5, 2018                9:30 am – 11:00 am
  • Tuesday, June 12, 2018            2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

After training, the program suggests a minimum of 10 shifts between June 1st and August 31st; but hopefully, they’ll enjoy it so much they’ll want to sign up for more.

What to expect?

The program focuses on Biomedical Services and helping with the blood drives throughout Northern Ohio, usually held Monday through Friday. You can select the locations and times that are most convenient. Heck, where else can you find a summer job that doesn’t tie up all your weekends?

At the drive location, there are multiple ways to help the medical staff, such as:

  • Welcoming, registering and escorting donors as they arrive.
  • Explaining the donation paperwork process.
  • Making reminder calls, scheduling or rescheduling donor appointments and doing follow up.
  • Recognizing donors for their contribution and socializing in the hospitality area.

IMG_1464The goal is to make the entire visit pleasant for the donors, ensuring that they’ll want to donate again in the future.

In return, volunteers will develop customer service skills transferable to any industry.  With a Red Cross name badge, they’ll be respected as a member of America’s leading blood donation organization. They’ll also receive a letter of reference for their resume/portfolio.  Isn’t that a better deal than a discount on greasy burgers?

Contact Melanie Collins for more details:   melanie.collins4@redcross.org or 330-204-6615.

More than 90 Homes Made Safer During First Sound the Alarm Event

Cold and rain fail to dampen the spirit of volunteers

More than 90 families on Cleveland’s west side can sleep more soundly, knowing there are now working smoke alarms in their homes.  The alarms were installed by volunteers from various community groups and corporate partners, who worked with the Red Cross and the Cleveland Fire Department on the first Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event in Northeast Ohio on Saturday.

The goal of the nationwide program is to save lives.

“Through the combined efforts, we were able to install more than 234 smoke alarms,” said Tim O’Toole, Red Cross Regional Disaster Program Officer. “91 families in the Clark Fulton neighborhood slept safer last night due to the efforts of our combined partnership.”

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Tim O’Toole, Chief Angelo Calvillo, and Councilwoman Jasmin Santana

Chief Angelo Calvillo of the Cleveland Division of Fire and city councilwoman Jasmin Santana, who represents the neighborhood, helped kick-off the event.

“People don’t realize that when a house fire occurs, you only have a couple of minutes to get out,” said Chief Calvillo. “An alarm will actually notify you and your family to get out of the house.”IMG_5726

 

 

More than 30 volunteers dispersed throughout the neighborhood to help residents create escape plans and to install smoke alarms.  Among the groups represented by volunteers were the Metrohealth System, Prince Hall Masons, and the Red Cross Club from Case Western Reserve University.

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CWRU Red Cross Club volunteers Austin Zhang and Tobi Oshomoji

A Tobi Oshomoji, a sophomore from Nashville, Tennesee, and Austin Zhang, a freshman from Houston, Texas were on a team of installers going door-to-door on Trent Avenue.

“It’s about stepping outside University Circle and interacting with the community,” said Austin. “Cleveland has welcomed us, and we’d like to give back.”

You can see more photos from Saturday’s Sound the Alarm event here, in our Flickr photo album.

The city of Cleveland is one of more than 100 cities nationwide where Sound the Alarm events are taking place between April 28 and May 13.  Volunteers and partners will also help install alarms in Akron, Maple Heights, and Slavic Village during the next three weeks.  For more information or to volunteer, visit soundthealarm.org/neo.

 

Happy Birthday Dick Pogue

The American Red Cross wishes civic icon and long-time Red Cross supporter Dick Pogue a very happy birthday!

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Richard W. Pogue, past Managing Partner and current Senior Advisor to the Jones Day law firm, is Director Emeritus of the Red Cross of Greater Cleveland.  He was named Chairman of the Board of Directors in October, 2009.

Dick’s civic interests are wide-ranging, as he has served as chairman of several organizations, including the Cleveland Foundation, Greater Cleveland Growth Association, University Hospitals, The City Club, Business Volunteers Unlimited, Greater Cleveland Roundtable, The 50 Club, the Newcomen Society of the United States, Cleveland Institute of Music (interim), and Presidents’ Council Foundation. He chaired the 1989 Cleveland United Way campaign and served as co-chairman of Cleveland’s 1996 Bicentennial Commission.

Dick is still an active member of the Greater Cleveland Chapter, regularly attending quarterly Board meetings and serving  on the Nominating Committee. He is also a  generous supporter of the Chapter’s many fundraising events.

Dick Pogue receives the Golden Doorknob Award from CEO Mike Parks, “for the many doors he has opened for so many people” on March 22, 2018.

“Dick Pogue embodies the true spirit of the American Red Cross in that he cares – he genuinely cares about the mission of serving others in their time of need,” said Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region.  “I feel privileged and honored to have his sage counsel and his tireless support, which help make the Red Cross the world’s premiere humanitarian organization.”

Here’s to many more happy birthdays to the man Cleveland Magazine once named “Mr. Cleveland,” Dick Pogue.

Sound the Alarm on Home Fires

National, Local Effort to Prevent Fire Fatalities Gets  Underway This Week

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Every day, seven people are killed from home fires. It’s a staggering statistic, but true. If their homes had smoke alarms installed, who knows how many of those lives could have been saved? Watch this video.

Not content to accept this statistic, the American Red Cross is determined to reduce the number of injuries and deaths by at least 25 percent by the year 2020. From April 28 through May 13, smoke alarms will be installed in 100 at-risk communities across the United States.

In Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross is partnering with local fire departments and corporate partners to install smoke alarms in homes that have none or have older ones that need to be replaced. If a smoke alarm is more than 10-years old, it needs to be replaced. The portion of the detector that senses the smoke can lose its ability to function properly after 10 years.

Teams of volunteers, both Red Cross members and other members of the community will be visiting areas throughout the country, and will be installing these smoke alarms at no cost to the homeowners. Locally, smoke alarms will be installed in communities in Cleveland and Akron.  Visit soundthealarm.org/neo for the dates of our home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events.Sound_the_Alarm_2018-04-23 (002)

Volunteers – both trained and untrained – are still needed for a variety of tasks. If you can’t help on the installation dates, additional volunteers are needed before the event. People will be canvassing the neighborhoods and leaving flyers announcing the event, along with fire safety information. If you can walk, you’ve got the skills necessary.

 

On the day of the event, people with tool skills will do the actual installations, but other people are needed to provide safety information, to document the installations and to explain fire evacuation facts to the homeowners.

There’s something everyone can do, and you could be the next person who directly or indirectly saves someone’s life that is presently without smoke alarms. Visit us online to sign up for one of the volunteer opportunities.  Consider bringing family and friends to help as well.