First Anniversary of Hurricane Harvey

By: Mary Williams, American Red Cross

Hurricane Harvey 2017It was hot and ridiculously muggy.

And that was inside, with the A/C blasting.

The location? Houston, TX just a few weeks after Hurricane Harvey dumped over 33 trillion gallons of water on the city.

I was sitting under a cot inside the George R. Brown Convention Center, playing Batman with a small boy just a few months younger than my own son back home in Ohio. His parents were talking to a reporter from Belgium, who had traveled from where he was stationed in Canada. His father, an Air Force veteran, was talking about the repairs he had just completed on their rental home.

He paused.

“That was just my last day off before the storm.”

At that time, life had come to be measured in before and after.

For some, life continues to be measured that way.

Hurricane Harvey 2017

Buildings, communities and lives that were built over decades were destroyed in just a few terrible days by Harvey, and rebuilding will be neither quick nor easy. It will take time for people to heal, rebuild and recover, and the Red Cross continues to work to bring that day closer. We are one of many partners supporting the federal and state-managed recovery program.

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Watch this video, featuring three residents who are trying to recover from the losses caused by the storm.

The Red Cross has spent, or has made commitments to spend more than $400 million on emergency relief and recovery assistance for families affected by Hurricane Harvey, and anticipates committing about $120 million more in donated dollars to to support individuals and families needing additional help, as well as to provide longer-term recovery services in affected communities. And, 91 cents of every dollar received for Hurricane Harvey will be spent on our services to people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Through the generosity of our donors, the Red Cross will be providing this assistance to those in greatest need, and there is no obligation or requirement to pay it back at any time.

Additionally, the Red Cross will help support a network of non-profit partners that have expertise in recovery services. Through a grant system, we aim to help households across all the damaged counties address the range of recovery needs. The Red Cross will support the provision of housing repair and rebuilding services to help thousands of households still living in temporary housing. Also, we will likely support behavioral health services across the affected counties, with a focus on the needs of children and youth suffering from multiple housing and school transitions, as well as the uncertainty about returning home. In addition, the Red Cross may help to fund other recovery services such as Long-Term Recovery Committees, financial counseling and programs aimed at helping people with disabilities, the elderly and underserved, low-income communities.

Hurricane Harvey 2017

To help people affected by disaster big and small visit redcross.org/donate.

Spotlight on Josh Mattulat: New Executive Coordinator, Northeast Ohio Region

Former military officer reunited with CEO Mike Parks after losing his home in Texas during Hurricane Harvey

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By Brad Galvan, Red Cross volunteer

It’s apparent that retired U. S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Michael Parks, the current CEO of the American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region, agrees with U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski, who famously said, “On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.”  Staying true to this pledge, Josh Mattulat was recently hired as the Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region’s executive coordinator.

Josh Mattulat spent two years as Mike’s right-hand man as military aide when both were serving our country in the Ninth  Coast Guard District headquartered in Cleveland. The district was involved in challenging missions spanning the Great Lakes, from search and rescue, to pollution control, to border security.

Following that assignment, Josh moved his family to Seattle to continue his Coast Guard career. For  three years, he led a team of more than 100 that focused on maritime safety and security.

In 2017, Josh and his wife Katherine, parents of four children, decided it was time to set down their roots and raise their children. Josh left the Coast Guard and the family moved to Galveston, Texas, where Josh launched his own business as a metal fabricator. Unfortunately, a few months later their home was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Safe, but displaced and devastated, Josh and Katherine decided they needed to get out of Texas to catch their collective breaths. During a short visit at Josh’s father’s home in Idaho, Josh was job searching and saw a position with the Northeast Ohio Red Cross working under Mike. It was a great fit and he applied.  Josh and his family now live in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and he works for the Red Cross’ Northeast Ohio Region. He couldn’t be happier.

“I’m surrounded by great people who add value to their communities and beyond,” Josh said.  “And words can’t express how much it means to be reunited with a personal mentor like Mike.”

When asked about being reunited with Josh, Mike said, “I’ve known Josh Mattulat for many years, and I’m so pleased he’s bringing his energy, enthusiasm and skills back to Northeast Ohio to help us meet mission each and every day.”

Josh, like other military veterans, has transferable skills that were obtained while on assignment in the service. Many military members find it tough landing a job after leaving the military, even former officers. He explains that the organizational, leadership, communication and logistical coordination traits can be applied in most organizations and employers will be very impressed with the loyalty, commitment and enthusiasm that most military veterans will display in a civilian organization. These attributes will benefit and serve his new employer well as Josh put his skills to work and dedicates his service to the Red Cross.

Mike Parks would certainly agree.

This article was edited by Glenda Bogar, Red Cross volunteer

 

Vermilion Volunteer is Happy to Help After Hurricane in Houston

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By Brad Galvan, American Red Cross Communications Volunteer

Paul Mueller is 83 years young. He helps when people need help. The people of Texas needed help. Helping makes him happy.

Paul got a call and packed his bags after Hurricane Harvey slammed into Houston, Texas. The call came from the American Red Cross, an organization that Paul has been volunteering for since 2001. Over the past 16 years, he has answered similar calls five times, supporting those affected on the west coast during wildfires, in the south for hurricanes and other natural disasters.

This one, the largest hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005, created the need for Paul to help at a Red Cross food and supply distribution center on the outskirts of Houston. The former mechanical engineer and resident of Vermilion, Ohio, spent two weeks organizing and distributing food and water. He also served as a navigator from the passenger seat when trucking the supplies from the distribution center to residents in need.

 

 

Paul, a lifelong learner, took the opportunity to acquire a skill while in storm-ravaged Houston. He says he still needs a little work, but vows that he can handle maneuvering a forklift next time his phone rings, to assist in an American Red Cross supply distribution center!

Mr. Mueller reminds those who are on the fence about volunteering for the Red Cross that seeing the faces of those who are helped is worth it and then some. He said that the simple gesture of handing out bottles of water and donated non-perishable food items made him feel good inside.

Early September was a tough time for Texans, so Paul’s commitment to the Red Cross and his willingness to help strangers made a difference. He said he’ll be ready to serve again the next time the Red Cross calls on him following a disaster.

If you’d like to learn the skills necessary to help people affected by disasters, big and small, visit redcross.org/neo and click on the Volunteer tab.

 

Outpouring of Appreciation from Storm Victims

It’s been seven weeks since Hurricane Harvey slammed into Eastern Texas, leaving flooding and destruction in its wake.

Not long afterward, Hurricane Irma struck the U. S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Then there was Hurricane Maria, causing devastating damage in the USVI and Puerto Rico.

As the American Red Cross, including chapters here in Northeast Ohio,  answered the call to aid those impacted by these devastating storms, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concert goers in Las Vegas.  The Red Cross responded again, sending disaster mental health workers, including Renee Palagyi, Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Northeast Ohio Region.  She is among 90 local disaster workers who have been deployed since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast.

And now, we are beginning to send Red Cross workers to California in response to the deadly wildfires there.

As the disaster response continues, many of those affected have offered their thanks to the Red Cross, particularly for providing shelters, meals and comfort, as well as to the donors who make our efforts possible.

 

Maria Strikes as Our Response to Harvey and Irma Continues

HURRICANE FAST FACTS
September 20, 2017

The American Red Cross has a launched a wide-ranging relief effort to provide safe shelter, food and comfort to people affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, even as Hurricane Maria strikes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Red Cross is part of a large team of agencies and organizations responding to provide help to those in need.

Hurricane Maria

  • Overnight, more than 10,000 people were provided refuge in almost 200 government and Red Cross shelters in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
    • On the U.S. Virgin Islands, 145 people took refuge in 6 evacuation shelters.
    • In Puerto Rico, 10,100 people hunkered down in 173 government evacuation shelters.
    • More than 160 Red Cross disaster workers were positioned in Puerto Rico and the USVI, riding out the storm.  Hundreds more are positioned to deploy where they are needed, with supplies, once the storm passes.

 Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

  • In the last three weeks, the Red Cross and community partners have provided more than 955,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters due to hurricanes.
  • Overnight, almost 3,800 people stayed in 21 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas. To date, there have been more than 400,000 overnight shelter stays provided for Hurricane Harvey.
  • The Red Cross has served more than 3.35 million meals and snacks to people in need.
  • More than 5,800 Red Cross disaster workers and more than 330 emergency response vehicles – nearly our entire vehicle fleet – are on the ground right now, helping thousands of people affected by these storms.
  • More than 76 million hurricane and flood alerts have been issued through Red Cross mobile apps for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
  • 65 workers from Northeast Ohio have been deployed to the hurricane relief efforts, and more are expected to respond to Hurricane Maria.

 

Mexican earthquake

  • Yesterday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico killed hundreds of people.
  • More than 90 ambulances and an urban rescue unit of the Mexican Red Cross are helping search for survivors, transporting the injured to hospitals and providing first aid on the scene.
  • The Mexican Red Cross has deployed dozens of doctors and nurses to help with the response.
  • In all, more than 500 volunteers and staff were activated in the hours immediately following the disaster.
  • 17 urban rescue units, ambulances and logistic units will arrive today with more almost 70 more volunteers and staff.

Donate Blood and Platelets During National Preparedness Month

As the American Red Cross responds to wildfires and historic hurricanes, eligible donors are reminded that giving blood or platelet donations during National Preparedness Month in September is one way to help ensure the Red Cross is prepared to respond to patient emergencies across the country every day.

IMG_3757Hurricane Irma has forced the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives in the Southeast, resulting in more than 2,100 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt blood drives and prevent donors from giving, but hospital patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions. Volunteer blood and platelet donors are the only source for blood products needed by hospital patients.

Blood Donors

Individuals in parts of the country unaffected by Hurricane Irma are encouraged to give blood or platelets to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. All blood types are currently needed. Appointments can be made by using the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and use RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questions online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.

As a thank-you, those who come to donate blood or platelets through Sept. 30, 2017, will receive a coupon for a free haircut at participating Sport Clips locations. More information is available at redcrossblood.org/sport-clips.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Ashland County

9/18/2017: 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, 508 Center Street

9/23/2017: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Peace Lutheran Church, 1360 Smith Road

9/26/2017: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Crestview High School, 1575 SR 96

Jeromesville

9/18/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Jeromesville United Methodist Church, 40 North Street

Loudonville

9/25/2017: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Mohicanville Community Church, 347 State Route 95

9/27/2017: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Loudonville Lions Club, 643 Wooster Road

Holmes County

Millersburg

9/19/2017: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., West Holmes Middle School, 10901 State Route 39

9/21/2017: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Paint Valley Parts, Ltd, 10850 County Road 320

9/25/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., Bowman Harness, 6928 County Road 77

9/27/2017: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Yoder Lumber Company, 4515 Township Road 367

Nashville

9/29/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Nashville Church of Christ, 13457 State Route 39

Medina County

Brunswick

9/16/2017: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Brunswick Community Recreation & Fitness Center, 3637 Center Road

9/17/2017: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Xerxes Athletics, 424 Pearl Road

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Brunswick United Methodist Church, 1395 Pearl Road

Medina

9/19/2017: 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Western Reserve Masonic Community, 4931 Nettleton Road

9/19/2017: 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Fenn Elementary School, 320 N. Spring Grove

9/22/2017: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Medina Community Recreation Center, 855 Weymouth Road

9/23/2017: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Living Hope Church, 6628 Wooster Pike

Seville

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Seville United Methodist Church, 74 West Main Street

Summit County

Akron

9/16/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/17/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/18/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/19/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/20/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/21/2017: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Cleveland Clinic Akron General, 1 Akron General Avenue

9/21/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/22/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/23/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/24/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/25/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/26/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/27/2017: 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., East Community Learning Center, 80 Brittain Road

9/27/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/28/2017: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Manchester High School, 437 West Nimisila Road

9/28/2017: 12:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/28/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Our Lady of the Elms High School, 1375 West Exchange Street

9/29/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

9/30/2017: 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., Summit Blood Donation Center, 501 W. Market Street

Barberton

9/21/2017: 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., BWX Technologies, 91 Stirling Avenue

Copley

9/25/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., The HUB Community Center, 3676 Community Lane, Suite 100

Cuyahoga Falls

9/18/2017: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Lukes Lutheran Church, 2121 Sixth Street

Hudson

9/27/2017: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Barlow Community Center, 41 South Oviatt

Norton

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Johnson United Methodist Church, 3409 Johnson Road

Tallmadge

9/18/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Our Lady of Victory, 73 North Ave

9/22/2017: 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Tallmadge High School, 140 N. Munroe Road

9/30/2017: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tallmadge Library, 90 Community Rd

Twinsburg

9/25/2017: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Twinsburg Public Library, 10050 Ravenna Road

Wayne County

New Pittsburg

9/19/2017: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., St Peter Lutheran Church, 9451 Ashland Rd.

Orrville

9/20/2017: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Student Life Center, 1901 Smucker Rd.

9/21/2017: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Kingsway Christian School, 11138 Old Lincoln Way E.

Shreve

9/25/2017: 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., American Legion Post 67, 10094 Shreve Rd.

Wooster

9/16/2017: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., American Red Cross Wayne County Chapter, 244 West South St.

9/26/2017: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, 1328 Dover Rd.

9/28/2017: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., College of Wooster, 1189 Beall Ave.

9/28/2017: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., College of Wooster, 1189 Beall Ave.

More information about how the Red Cross is responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the western wildfires and other disasters is available at redcross.org.

 How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Akron Volunteer in the News!

Local media in Texas have been covering the efforts of the Red Cross to offer care to residents affected by Hurricane Harvey.  The following excerpt appeared in an article in the Killeen Daily Herald on September 6, 2017:

…Meanwhile, Red Cross Shelter Manager Jackie Speciale, a resident of Woodstock, Illinois, is technically on vacation. Some people dream of a tropical destination or a week at a ski lodge. Speciale requested two weeks of vacation from her boss and hopped on a plane to Killeen. Her husband’s back home, going into work late every day this week so he can drop their children off at school.

“For each person you see here with the Red Cross, there’s four or five people behind them,” she said.

She stood in the library with Jason Humphrey, another Red Cross volunteer from the Midwest. The Akron, Ohio, resident was volunteering in his fifth natural disaster. His volunteer work has brought him to Arkansas for tornado relief and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. He works as a security guard at concerts, so his work schedule has a bit more flexibility than most. But still, he dropped everything, for the fifth time in his life, to help those who needed it.

“Somebody’s taking care of my dog,” he said with a laugh.

To read more about the volunteers from across the country who have responded to Hurricane Harvey in Killeen, Texas, click here.

To start a volunteer application, visit this page on our website.

Photos following Hurricane Harvey in Texas/ Credit: Chuck Haupt/American Red Cross