Red Cross Fire and Ice Ball

Fundraising Continues with KeyBank Challenge

A message from CEO Mike Parks

Thank you to our amazing Red Cross supporters who helped us host a successful “Fire & Ice Ball” on Saturday, March 25, 2017!  We couldn’t have pulled this off without all of your efforts…from table sponsorships, donations of auction items and programs,  sharing invitations with friends and family, and dedicating your evening to our lifesaving mission…it was a wonderful celebration!

To those of you in attendance, we hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did!  We certainly missed all of our friends who couldn’t join us, but we sincerely appreciate your support from afar.

For all of our Red Cross friends, we hope you will plan to join us at a future event, blood drive or neighborhood fire safety walk soon.  We could not fulfill the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross here in Northeast Ohio without your dedication to, and support of, our mission!

A special thank you to Beth Mooney of KeyBank for graciously accepting our Steve D. Bullock Humanitarian Award for 2017.  We are truly honored and grateful for the Inspirational Match of $25,000 that Beth announced on behalf of “Operation-Save-A-Life”.   Those funds will help our collaborative efforts to install new smoke alarms in every home, one neighborhood at a time.

If you would like to support “Operation-Save-A-Life” and take part in this Inspirational Match Campaign, please log onto  https://www.redcross.org/arcneohio-pub   to make a donation on behalf of the American Red Cross and KeyBank.   Please feel free to share this message with your friends.  Thank you for your generosity and commitment to the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland!

Best regards…Mike

Here are some photos from the Ball.  See dozens more in our Flickr album here.

Mike’s New Year’s Challenge

A message to all American Red Cross Volunteers in Northeast Ohio:  Happy New Year!!  I trust this finds you well and that you enjoyed your holidays.  First, thanks to all of you who worked over the holidays—your support to our clients was critical in their times of need and instrumental to their roads to recovery.

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Second, I’d like to offer you each a challenge for the new year–2017.  It’s something I’ve said to almost every gathering of volunteers since I started more than a year and a half ago so a number of you have heard it before.  I challenge each of you to recruit one volunteer in the next 12 months.  I ask each of you to identify one individual you know that is, or can become, passionate about our Red Cross mission of caring for others, and is someone that you’d like to work with because they’re nice, and convince them to join our effort by becoming a Red Cross volunteer!  If every current volunteer accepts and meets this challenge, we’ll double the number of volunteers we have to better serve the 4.5 million residents of Northeast Ohio.  Now that’s exciting!!

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Finally, thank you all for your tremendous support to the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio—we literally could not perform our essential mission without you—thank you!!  Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2017!!  Best regards…Mike

 

Ordinary People Honored for Taking Extraordinary Action

Recognized with Highest Award the Red Cross Offers

Lifesavers.  When we hear that word, we think of surgeons, firefighters, police officers, lifeguards.

Add teacher and massage therapist to the list.

Two people who have been certified by the Red Cross for their lifesaving skills have now been honored after putting those skills to use.

Certificates of Merit were awarded to Natasha Alexander-Cooley and Molly O’Donnell.  The certificates, signed by President Barack Obama, cite their “selfless and humane action in sustaining a life.”  They are the highest award given by the Red Cross to someone who sustains or saves a life by using the skills learned during Red Cross training.

Natasha, an educator at Tremont Montessori School in Cleveland, was honored for saving the life of a choking student, by performing several abdominal thrusts until food was dislodged from the choking boy’s throat.

Molly, a licesned massage therapist and trained First Aid/CPR/AED instructor, was cited for her efforts to save the life of her Instructor Trainer, who suffered cardiac arrest prior to the start of their class earlier this year.

“The Red Cross trains people to react to emergency situations, and these individuals did exactly what they were trained to do,” said Charlotte Rerko, Regional COO and a Registered Nurse.   “It was an honor to present these awards to them.”

Charlotte was also honored with a Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action.  She also responded to the stricken CPR Instructor.

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Mike Parks, Charlotte Rerko and Shawn Riley

The awards were presented by Mike Parks, Regional CEO, and Shawn Riley, Board Chair, during the quarterly meeting of the Greater Cleveland Chapter Board of Directors on Thursday, December 8.  There’s a photo gallery from the meeting on the Greater Cleveland Chapter Facebook page.

The Red Cross teaches not only First Aid/CPR/AED, but also Basic Life Support, Babysitting and Childcare, and Lifeguarding.  Go to redcross.org/take-a-class to learn these live saving skills.  You may be called on someday to take extraordinary action in order to save a life.

CEO’s Veterans Day Message

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Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, Veterans Day Program 2015

By Mike Parks, CEO, American Red Cross Northeast Ohio Region, Rear Admiral, U. S. Coast Guard (Ret.)

American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Family Members:   Yes…it’s Veterans Day and we have Red Cross members representing us in parades and festivities around the country in honor of those who have served our grateful nation.  For those of you who are veterans—thank you for your faithful service.  For those of you who have family members who are or were veterans, thank you for supporting them.  As every person who has worn the uniform of this country will attest—support from family and friends was crucial to their success.    And thank you to all the Red Crossers who support our Servicemen and Servicewomen every day of the year.

Here is a blog post that I thought you might find interesting from the Senior Vice President for the American Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces (SAF), Koby Langley, it really gets to the heart of why we do what we do.

As we pause from our Red Cross duties to reflect on Veterans Day, I thought it fitting to share some historical thoughts with you about one of the American Red Cross’ most distinguished leaders who was also arguably one of the greatest military leaders in our nation’s history, General George C. Marshall:

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2nd Annual City of Cleveland Veterans Day Parade

“By the summer of 1949, President Truman was mulling over means of bringing Marshall back into public service as head of the American Red Cross. There were signs that Basil O’Connor, head of the American Red Cross since 1944, might soon retire. Why not, thought the President, give Marshall that job? It would associate him again with public affairs in a way that carried fewer burdens than had his previous appointments.

Basil O’Connor had been named by President Roosevelt to succeed Norman Davis as Chairman of the Red Cross when Davis died in 1944. O’Connor was very hardworking but had managed to offend and alienate some of the older Red Cross leaders. Many of the disagreements had been smothered during the war, when the Red Cross had given outstanding service to servicemen, refugees, prisoners of war, and others desolated throughout the world.

Part of the trouble came from the apparent domination of the organization in the late thirties by wealthy and socially prominent Eastern-establishment figures on the Red Cross board of governors. Active heads of chapters in other cities and regions complained that they had no voice in operations. Volunteer workers, a highly important part of the Red Cross’s activities, charged that they were not used or involved in decisions. These charges and complaints boiled down to the bitter feeling that a very few people ran the organization.

In 1946, the Red Cross made a decision to create a special committee headed by E. Roland Harriman, Averell Harriman’s brother, a partner in Brown Brothers, Harriman, and manager of the North Atlantic region of the Red Cross during the war. He and his committee members undertook to meet some of the chief complaints of others in the organization, and their proposed changes were approved by Congress and President Truman in the spring of 1947. The President of the United States was to appoint the President, and the board of governors was enlarged and rearranged to give far more representation to the chapters. Chairman O’Connor now became President.

Despite O’Connor’s efforts to stop controversy, sharp criticism persisted. By 1948, it was evident that the organization needed a leader of great stature who had not been associated with the infighting, and who could respond to the claims of all factions without prejudice. O’Connor made it plain that he was ready to step down.

Truman naturally thought of Marshall. His appeals for the European Recovery Program were of the exact kind needed by the American Red Cross. During the war he had sought public support for Red Cross drives, and his war’s-end reports praised the organization’s service to the men of the armed forces and their families. His 1948 speeches for ERP showed his effectiveness in convincing the same types of people that the Red Cross needed. Few were aware of another factor that made him so desirable as O’Connor’s successor. As Pershing’s aide in France after World War I and later in the United States, he came into contact with many Eastern- establishment figures, whose influence was still needed by the Red Cross. He was perhaps the one person who could bridge the gap between the factions…”27280817982_d96f924a01_z

“Marshall set out to eliminate friction, to fire the workers with enthusiasm, to smooth out dissension. In the early months of the year he spent as head of the Red Cross, he was on the road constantly. In the last months, the coming- of the Korean War gave added emphasis to the Blood Bank program, and to morale-building services concerned with the troops and their families, thus gaining added support for overall programs.

The number of personal trips he made surprised even him. Near the end of 1949, he wrote Queen Frederika of Greece, who had asked about his new job, that although he was at Pinehurst for the winter, he would be traveling constantly on Red Cross business from January 15 until March 7, some 20,000 miles. Since taking over in October, he had covered 9,000 miles. In fact, he said, he would be increasingly busy until he took a few days off for rest in August.”    From George C. Marshall: Statesman 1945-1959 by Forrest C. Pogue

Mike’s Louisiana Report #1

Greetings…I’ve been in Baton Rouge since last Friday responding to DR063-17–a flooding incident that is the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012 with more than 60,000 homes and 7,000 businesses destroyed. I am assigned to a new pilot concept in Louisiana called the Red Cross Liaison Network along with other Regional Executives and Executive Directors from around the country to provide dedicated support to specific Parish Government and community leaders. This focused-care approach has enabled the relief operation to better understand and better meet community-specific needs, especially those arising on short or no notice.

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Photo Credit: Mike Parks/American Red Cross

I’ve been assigned to Livingston Parish, one of the hardest hit regions–the devastation of homes and business that I’ve witnessed first hand has been incredible. One of my responsibilities is to check in on our shelter operations–there are currently three Red Cross shelters operating in Livingston Parish. Imagine my surprise when I rolled into one shelter and ran into two volunteers (Jeff and Tom) from Canton, who had just arrived to support the operation. It was a treat to see fellow Northeast Ohio teammates engaged in supporting these folks who have lost so much, and in many cases, everything. It’s a privilege to serve alongside such dedicated Red Cross volunteers.

The Red Cross’ work here is far from done and will require many more volunteers and resources. I’d like to thank all those from Northeast Ohio who have already deployed to help with this disaster. And for those who are considering doing so, be forewarned that it’s hard work, but it’s incredibly meaningful and rewarding when you can be on the ground helping those in such desperate need–doing what the Red Cross has done since its founding 135 years ago–caring for and helping those in need. I appreciate everyone’s support back home in Northeast Ohio. The Red Cross is still facing the need for tremendous resources to respond to this disaster, and everyone’s support is greatly appreciated.

Michael N. Parks

Reporting for Duty: Mike Parks Deploying to Louisiana

Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region, is deploying to Louisiana.

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NEO CEO Mike Parks, addressing Red Cross workers during flood relief work in West Virginia in July, 2016

“The situation in Louisiana remains critical,” said Parks.  “People need help right now. This is who we are as the Red Cross, caring servants. I am proud to join over 2,500 Red Cross workers – 13 of whom are from Northeast Ohio – already in Louisiana.”

Each day, the Red Cross is able to get into more and more neighborhoods, and volunteers are working tirelessly to provide assistance. More than 90 Red Cross response vehicles, including 2 from Northeast Ohio, are fanning through affected neighborhoods to distribute food, water and relief supplies. Disaster mental health and health services volunteers are providing emotional support and helping to replace things like lost eyeglasses, wheelchairs and medications.

Some residents remain in shelters.

Since the onset of flooding in Louisiana, the Red Cross and partners have provided more than 55,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters. At the peak of the floods, more than 50 shelters provided safety for more than 10,000 people.In addition, more than 466,000 meals and snacks have been served.

“Our help is just beginning. We will be there to help people recover in the weeks and months to come. We ask people to please consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today to support the people of Louisiana.”

Learn more here how the Red Cross is giving people a place to go when there is no place to go through the words of one woman who has lost everything.

HOW TO HELP People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word LAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recovery from these disasters.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER To join us, visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

 

Holiday Message from Mike Parks

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American Red Cross CEO Mike Parks, Northeast Ohio Region

Northeast Ohio American Red Cross Family:  Between Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Boxing Day and New Year’s (among others)—we’re well into this year’s “Holiday Season.”   Please accept my sincere thanks and grateful appreciation for all each of you do every day to help serve those in need in Northeast Ohio.  Thank you!

As we close out calendar year 2015 (as well as the first half of FY 2016) and reflect back on your accomplishments, it’s been an incredibly busy year.  Here’s just a partial list of some of those successes:

Opened more disaster cases and provided more direct client assistance than the same time last year.

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Prescious Givens and her family received housing assistance after their home caught fire

Installed more than 6500 smoke alarms (our target was 6500 but we upped our annual goal to 10,000).

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Lincoln Electric CEO and Red Cross Board Member Chris Mapes installing smoke alarms in Euclid

Reached more than 2800 students with the Pillowcase Project  (our target was 3000 but we got materials for 500 additional).

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Students created pillowcases at Wilcox Elementary School in North Ridgeville

Migrated almost 2200 volunteers (including Biomedical Services) to Volunteer Connection.

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Volunteer George Figel of Akron

Recruited more than 300 new volunteers to the American Red Cross.

Created an integrated American Red Cross Board combining Chapter & Biomedical Boards.

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Inaugural meeting of combined board

Achieved 100% participation in our annual Board Campaign while exceeding our financial goal by almost 10%.

 

 

 

 

Partnered with both the Veteran’s Administration and the USO to better serve our members of the Armed Forces.

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American Red Cross CEO Mike Parks,  with Ohio Army National Guardsmen

 

Updated all Northeast Ohio American Red Cross websites and revitalized an informative Blog.

Upgraded our building facilities and streamlined our automotive fleet.

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Remained well-within our annual expense budget through careful stewardship.

Hired and onboarded more than a dozen new enthusiastic Red Cross employees.

 

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Regional Disaster Officer Tim O’Toole

And as you know—that’s just scratching the surface of all you’ve accomplished throughout the Northeast Ohio Region.  As many of us take time to celebrate with families and friends, I want to say a special “Thank You” to those staff and volunteers who have, and will be providing critical assistance during this holiday period.  We wouldn’t be the American Red Cross without you!  As I’ve said many times since joining this fine organization, the American Red Cross is all about “caring”…”caring for those we serve” and “caring for those who serve.”   It seems fitting that in this special season of giving, we remember those who give so much to help those in need.  Thank you to all of the Northeast Ohio American Red Cross family.  I wish you and yours Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.  I’m already excited about what 2016 will bring—I hope you are too.   Best wishes…Mike