A night honoring fire chiefs and volunteers

By Mark Sitch, American Red Cross Volunteer

March 22, 2019- The Lake to River Chapter of the American Red Cross honored its valued first responders and volunteers who selflessly serve their region at an appreciation dinner on Thursday, March 14. The dinner was held at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown.

More than 20 fire chiefs and associated first responders representing four of five Tim and Karencounties, chapter executives and volunteers numbering nearly 100 attended. They were welcomed with opening remarks and words of appreciation from Lake to River’s Executive Director Karen Conklin, who introduced Regional Disaster Officer Tim O’Toole.

“Firefighters and the Red Cross Disaster Action Teams have continued to build strong relationships working together to bridge the needs of those in our community touched by devastation,” said Chief O’Toole, a retired assistant chief of operations for the Cleveland Division of Fire, who joined the Red Cross in 2015.

He acknowledged the wonderful work of the Red Cross disaster services team in assisting 275 displaced families with $130,000 in temporary housing, food and personal care. The chief also recognized other important efforts, such as blood donor services helping more than 52,000 people impacted in the fiscal year, the armed services sector assisting more than 600 military families, and the escalated efforts for the Sound the Alarm campaign, with a goal to install 100,000 free smoke alarms in homes across the nation with volunteers paving the way. Karen noted that her chapter goal is 1,500 alarms to be installed to wrap up the April 27 to May 11 campaign.

Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley

Tim O’Toole, left, and Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley

Youngstown Fire Chief and Chapter Board Member Barry Finley described when one becomes involved with the Red Cross. “I’ve always thought the Red Cross was called in when a fire completely destroyed a home,” he said. The chief stated that by being involved in this organization he has learned so much more. He explained that he is appreciative and happy to be a part of a team effort to help in times of need for the community.

The American Red Cross Volunteer K9 Action Team was also recognized for 10 years of faithful service providing comfort therapy to disaster victims and military families.

Attendees enjoyed dinner and time for socializing. Gift bags were disturbed after closing remarks by Karen. She emphasized that the staff and board appreciate their volunteers and what they endure as “A love to want to help people.” She stated, “You know you do make a difference.”

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

See more photos from the event here.

Follow Up: Handmade with Heart

This post is the follow-up from our May 26th Story: https://neoredcross.org/2017/05/26/blanket-made-of-red-heart-yarn-and-love/

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After a recent fire destroyed their century home in eastern Ohio, the Burton family met with Red Cross volunteers to plan out their next steps.

While this is an all-too-common story across Northeast Ohio, our volunteers respond to an average of 3 home fires a night, the Burtons have a special addition to their story.

Early this spring we received a handmade blanket and a note from Linda Evans of West Farmington, Ohio. The blanket was crocheted from on a Red Heart yarn pattern which features a red, Grecian cross on a white field.

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The Burton family was given Linda’s handmade blanket following the fire.

 

“I will treasure the blanket,” said Tracy Burton, matriarch of the family. “We had 3 other hand made afghans, each with a special story, which were lost in the fire.”

They hope to one day meet Linda in person and share with her the impact that one kind gesture, that one blanket, can have on a family.  Chances of that meeting are good: the Burtons are also from West Farmington, population 490.

 

 

 

Acts of Courage Recognized, Heroes Honored

They’re all heroes.

Nine “Acts of Courage” and the people who performed those acts have been recognized in the Red Cross Lake to River Chapter, which covers 5 counties in Northeast Ohio, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.  The 2016 Acts of Courage and the Spirit of the Red Cross Award ceremony was held on Tuesday, June 14 at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

Mercy Health-Youngstown and Mercy Health Foundation are this year’s Spirit of the Red Cross award recipients, for best exemplifying leadership in the community, compassion for its people and dedication to the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross. Mercy President Paul Homick was on hand to receive the award.

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Among the heroes honored were ten employees of Molded Fiber Glass, who performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to revive a fallen coworker.

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Linette Derminer was honored for TWO Acts of Courage.  She founded the KEN heart foundation in honor of her son, who died of sudden cardiac arrest while at football practice.  Through the foundation, Linette donates AEDs to various organizations and helps teach schools, coaches and the community about sudden cardiac arrest in young people.  She was also honored for donating a kidney to a police officer, who she met through her work with the foundation.

David Denovchek was also honored for being an organ donor.  He volunteered to donate part of his liver to save the life of a very sick four-year old girl.

 

16-year old Anna Cristo was honored for saving her mom’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver.

Adam Robertson, Jerrod Ladd and Stephanie Bonilla received the Act of Courage award for saving the life of a man at Hollywood Gaming and Mahoning Valley Race Course, by performing the Heimlich and CPR for several minutes until EMTs arrived.

 

Matt Miller and Jack McDonald were also honored for performing CPR, after a softball teammate collapsed during batting practice.

 

Austintown roofers Gary Jones, Chris Denno and Richard Markel received the Acts of Courage Award for pulling two people from a burning car.  Michael Lewis ran into a burning apartment building-several times-to alert his neighbors and to carry one of them out of the building. And Tina Vincenzo was honored for applying first aid and providing comfort to the victim of a car crash who was pinned inside his vehicle.

We congratulate all the winners of the 2016 Acts of Courage Awards. And we thank all Red Cross donors and volunteers who help us fulfill our mission: to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

If you know a hero, someone who without regard to his or her own welfare, acts to help another human being, let us know with an email to contactneo@redcross.org.  And if you’d like to help us continue our mission, by providing emergency assistance to residents who are driven from their homes by fire or floods, or by teaching lifesaving CPR, or helping a member of the military get home in an emergency visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS to donate.  OR text  REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Photo credit: Paul Wadowick, American Red Cross volunteer

Angel of the Battlefield: Celebrating Ordinary People that do Extraordinary Things

Everyday heroes are ordinary people that do extraordinary things. Clara Barton was an ordinary person whose ideas and passions for others made her the “Angel of the Battlefield”, a hero in the American Civil War.

Clara Barton - US Patent Office

US Patent Office

Born in Massachusetts on Christmas Day, Clara grew up enjoying the wonders of the world. As a child she tended to her brother, David after a farm accident where he fell from the rafters. At 15, she became a teacher and opened a free public school in New Jersey. Throughout the 1850’s she worked for the United States Patent Office in Washington, D.C.

Following the first battle of Bull Run in 1861, Clara provided immediate assistance to federal troops, despite the social mores of the time, which said that the battlefield was no place for a woman. She provided clothing, food, and supplies to the ill and wounded she also read to the troops wrote letters fro them, and listened to their problems.

Matthew Brady Portrait of Clara Barton

Portrait of Clara Barton

In August of 1862, she appeared at a field hospital in Cedar Mountain, in northern Virginia at midnight with a wagon-load of supplies drawn by a four-mule team. Her assistance left the surgeon on duty in awe. The surgeon later wrote, “I thought that night if heaven ever sent out a[n]… angel, she must be one – her assistance was so timely.”

From that time on, Clara became known as the Angel of the Battlefield as she assisted troops in the Battlefield of Fairfax, Chantilly, Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Charleston, Petersburg and Cold Harbor.

The Red Cross shares stories of everyday heroism to inspire other people to act with generosity. The Red Cross of Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter will present its 2015 Acts of Courage event recognizing ordinary people that perform extraordinary acts to save a life, on March 5 at the Akron/Fairlawn Hilton.

Red Cross is currently calling for heroes to be recognized at the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter event in April and the Lake to River Chapter event in June.

To be considered for the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter Hometown Heroes award, nominees must reside or be employed in Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas County. The Heroic event must have occurred in 2014, but may have taken place outside of Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas Counties. Click here to access the online nomination form.

Nominees residing or working in Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana or Jefferson Counties may submit a nomination for the Lake to River Chapter Acts of Courage Event. The heroic must have occurred between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015. To download the nomination form, visit the Lake to River Chapter event page.