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

Messy, Stressful, Heartwarming; Volunteers Describe Work in Texas

Disaster Workers Return After Two-Week Deployment 

Furman&Sue

Northeast Ohio Red Cross volunteers Furman Alden and Sue Wisdom

Furman Alden and Sue Wisdom are back home, after spending two weeks on deployment following Hurricane Harvey.  The Northeast Ohio volunteers spent long hours driving an Emergency Response Vehicle through streets in and around Houston, making sure residents had access to warm meals, water and snacks.

“No one sees skin color, religion or politics,” said Sue, a Lake County resident and a veteran of disaster relief operations.  “From the youngest to the oldest, the way people came together to help each other, it’s heartwarming.”

Sue said several little boys volunteered to help distribute meals, going door-to-door after receiving their own meals and learning about the work of the Red Cross.  “They were amazing,” she said.  “I gave them cookies, and one of them said ‘You are so nice.’  That made may day!”

Furman Alden, also a veteran of disaster work, said he has never seen so much debris piled so high in front of so many houses. The Youngstown resident said, “The whole way down the street, they emptied their houses completely.   Furniture, dry wall, everything. It was messy.”

He says they were the first relief workers to reach a neighborhood that had been cut off by flooded roadways.  “We were the first ones to get in there.  They were so happy to see us.”

It was a struggle getting anywhere.  Furman says driving was stressful, due to bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic.  But the ERV he and Sue drove was a lifeline for so many Texans who lost so much in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

More than 7,000 Red Cross disaster workers responded in Texas, Florida, and other areas hit hard by Harvey and Hurricane Irma, providing the same life-sustaining services that Sue and Furman delivered.  More volunteers are needed to continue the mission.  Visit our website at redcross.org/neo, and click the VOLUNTEER tab to begin an application.

A message from the Volunteer Services Department:

All volunteers must complete a free online volunteer application, which includes acknowledgement of policy statements and a criminal background check

Volunteers will need to successfully complete disaster training before being eligible for potential deployment, this can include a combination of in-person and/or online training

Depending on adjustment of the real-time needs of the disaster locations and your specific abilities- you may not deploy immediately or at all. 

Call 216-431-3328 for more information.

This video was created on the day Sue Wisdom and Furman Alden left Northeast Ohio in response to the residents of Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

Two Hurricane Relief Efforts Underway

Here are the latest updates.

Hurricane Harvey 2017

 

Over 5,800 Red Cross workers from across the country continue to assist with the relief effort, including 41 individuals from Northeast Ohio. With many more expected to arrive.

Almost 190 emergency response vehicles have been activated to help deliver meals and relief supplies throughout Texas. 100 more are activated to respond to the communities affected by Irma.

 

Hurricane Harvey 2017

Overnight, an estimated 108,000 people were provided refuge from Hurricane Irma in as many as 530 government and Red Cross evacuation centers across 6 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

 

Additionally, more than 5,000 people sought refuge in 30 Red Cross and partner shelters across Texas. To date, there have been more than 364,000 overnight shelter stays for Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey 2017

If  you would like to volunteer as a member of the Red Cross team, whether in your community or across the nation, get started on your volunteer application, today. Visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER.

 

On Being a Phone Bank Volunteer for Hurricane Harvey Relief

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross Volunteer 

Your alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. and its pitch-dark outside. You shower, shave, fill your travel mug with coffee and head for the garage. Traffic is amazingly light at 6:00 a.m., which is one of the benefits of starting so early, you tell yourself.

You and seven of your fellow Red Crossers are heading to the Cleveland ABC affiliate – WEWS Channel 5 TV, for the start of an all-day Hurricane Harvey fund raiser.  Only the all-night anchors are here, so there’s plenty of parking spaces to choose from.

graphiconscreenThe studio is all set for us.  Tables are arranged, phones are ready and a large flat screen announces the Red Cross website URL, phone number and text information for a quick pledge.

One-by-one, Red Cross volunteers, employees and even a board member file in and take their place at the tables.  Four shifts are planned, so plenty of people can take part in this 6:00 a.m until 11:00 p.m. phone bank effort.Thursday phonebank

In fact, this is our second phone bank. Three days prior, another group of volunteers manned the phones from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. and were inundated with calls. “It was non-stop calling,” one volunteer said. “As soon as you hung up the call, there was another one ringing on the same line.”

 

Tuesday phone bank

The cameraman comes in and suggests a slight modification to our seating arrangement.  We’ve begun the countdown to going ‘On Air.’

“We’re live in ten seconds,” says the cameraman, and we are off, fielding phone calls from across Northeastern Ohio.

By this time, there’s probably no one in America that hasn’t heard about the devastation being wrought upon Texas and Louisiana.  News anchors compare the total rainfall to the amount of water in Lake Michigan, and another asks you to visualize the amount of water flowing over the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls. Now consider that flow for nine months straight, and you’ve got an idea how much water fell in just a few days in Texas.

“Oh my,” says the first caller. “Thank you for doing this for those poor people.  I only wish I could give more.  They must need so much help.”

Another caller is so distraught that she asks for a few seconds to collect herself, before completing her credit card information.  Actually, many of the callers were quite emotional, knowing the stress and anguish being felt by the thousands of victims.

“I don’t know what those people would do if it weren’t for the Red Cross and the other agencies down there,” says another.  This was a recurrent theme all morning.

By the end of the first shift, you start to compare numbers of callers and amounts raised. Amounts donated ranged from $10 to $1,000 this morning.  Even larger amounts were reported from that first phone bank and possibly will be duplicated later in the day. Northeast Ohio has always been famous for its immense generosity whenever a need like this occurs, and it’s a great privilege to help out those so desperately in need.

You turn over your phone to the next volunteer, already missing the opportunity to talk with more like-minded Ohioans, bound to make a difference for the victims in Texas and Louisiana.

Won’t you join us? The American Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers. Sign up today to donate or to volunteer at http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.