Join the Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency in the second annual PrepareAthon on September 30

Join us for the second annual America’s PrepareAthon! national day of action.

The last few years have been an important reminder to all of us that disasters can strike anytime and anyplace. Nearly every region of the country experienced some form of extreme weather event, including devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, scorching wildfires throughout California, and destructive flooding in Northeastern Ohio.

The destructive power of weather affects all communities. Learning how prepare for an emergency will help determine your course of action during a disaster.

The destructive power of weather affects all communities. Learning how prepare for an emergency will help determine your course of action during a disaster.

As with many life events, preparation is the key to success. When you prepare and practice for an emergency in advance of an event, it makes a real difference in your ability to take immediate and informed action when it matters most. Early action can also help you to recover more quickly.

That’s why thousands of individuals, organizations, schools, houses of worship, and local governments across the Nation are actively participating in a new national campaign for action – America’s PrepareAthon!

The Red Cross continues to support and promote this action-based initiative to build a more resilient Nation starting with the national day of action on September 30.

Can’t participate on September 30? Preparing for disasters is a year-round activity. So pick a date that works for you. You can still register to be counted in the movement. And be sure to post your preparedness activities on the national calendar.

It’s not a matter of if the next disaster will happen, but when. Take action and prepare now by completing simple steps such as making a plan and having an emergency kit. Start the conversation in your family today. It can help determine what you need to do next to become more prepared.

Be smart, take part, and prepare for emergencies before they strike!

Honoring seven everyday heroes at the 15th Annual Real Heroes Awards

On May 15th, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio celebrated the 15th Annual Real Heroes Awards Event.

The event, held at the beautiful Bertram Inn in Aurora, raised over $22,000 for the services and programs of the Red Cross in Northeast Ohio.

The 2014 Honorees include:

David Irland was recognized for using his First Aid knowledge to save a choking child.

During a lunch period last spring, David Irland, a teacher, noticed one of his kindergarten students not acting quite right. Within seconds, David could tell the boy was choking. Quickly and quietly, he knelt behind the boy and performed an abdominal thrust which dislodged a very large bite of sandwich. He took the kindergartener to the school nurse and they were back in the lunchroom within 15 minutes.

Now a first grader, the boy only remembers that his head slumped over and Mr. Irland came up and gave him a big hug.

 

Chance Singer was recognized for rescuing a family from an early morning house fire.

Chance Singer was driving home from work around midnight when he and his passengers spotted the roof of a house consumed by fire. Noticing a car in the driveway, Chance pulled over and ran to the house to alert the residents. After banging on various doors and windows, he had to run back to  his car to recover from the smoke. When he returned for one more attempt, he heard a dog barking. He watched as the family ran out of the burning door. The oldest son had been woken by Chance’s pounding and had pressed his family into action. With the home engulfed in flames, Chance got them across the street to safety.

Chief Seth Riewaldt was recognized for 35 years of altruistic commitment to the Aurora Community and for creating the Community Enhancement Team (CET) and K-9 unit.

Chief Riewaldt will retire in June with 35 years of service to the community of Aurora. He worked his way through the ranks, first as a dispatcher and then as an officer, and was appointed Aurora’s Police Chief in 2003. In his tenure, he has increased the size of the force and assembled funding for the city’s Police K-9 unit. In an effort to enhance the department’s response in the community the Chief created the Community Enhancement Team (CET), which is a division of three officers assigned to address concerns of residents and business owners. He initiated the school resource officer program with the local district, which has grown from one officer to two.

Bart Alcorn was recognized for creating Clay Eddy Fields Kiwanis Park and developing employment programs for area adults with disabilities.

When his daughter was young, he saw a need for more athletic fields in the area. Bart, co-owner of Eddy Fruit Farm, started his own non-profit and began raising funds to create the Clay Eddy Fields Kiwanis Park. The park grew to include baseball and soccer fields which are open to all local teams. It is now the home to the Special Olympics Softball Tournament.

Through the Special Olympics, Bart has become a proud supporter of adults with disabilities. He is taking on a new project that will tie the family business to the community members he has come to know and love. “The Green House Project” will provide fresh vegetables through Eddy Fruit Farm to the community at large all year round and will create jobs for adults with disabilities.

Andrew Wawrin was recognized for inspiring community members to donate over 500 pints of blood to help more than 1500 recipients through the annual Christopher Wawrin Blood Drive.

When his son, Christopher, passed away due to a violent act in December of 1997, Andy Wawrin wanted to observe his birthday in a way that would continue to honor his legacy. Each year he hosts a blood drive on the weekend of Christopher’s birthday. Christopher, who had been a regular blood donor, had received over 100 units of blood while fighting for his life.

In the past 16 years, the family has inspired nearly 500 people to come and donate blood and helping 1500 patients in local hospitals to receive the lifesaving treatments they need.

Zoe Burch was recognized for reporting the threat of school violence.

Zoe was in an online chat room during her second year at Kent State University when she noticed a violent threat towards a high school in Pennsylvania. She reported the threat to Kent State Police which led to involvement from Pennsylvania authorities and the FBl. The threat was confirmed and the suspect was arrested thanks to Zoe’s quick actions.

Dr. Judah Friedman was recognized for going above and beyond to assist his patients when they need it the most.

Dr. Judah Friedman loves the science behind medicine, but his passion is allowing his patients to finalize their lives without their focus being on doctors and hospitals.  Dr. Friedman visits his patients at various hospitals as a friend, he takes their prescriptions to them so their time is spent with family not driving to pharmacies. He will also continue his care as his patient’s transition to hospice and provide his personal cell phone number to be contacted anytime, day or night, even if it’s just to talk. Dr. Friedman goes above and beyond to make sure his patients are focusing on the truly important people in their lives.

Portage County community hero, A. Ray Dalton of PartsSource, was awarded the Robinson Memorial Paragon Award for his contributions to improve Portage County and the world around him.

 

Meeting the challenges of Northeast Ohio Weather – May edition

Even before the storm clouds rolled over the radar screen, the hub at the Red Cross in Cleveland was readying its response to the coming storm.

On Monday, while the wind and rain howled throughout the region, members of our disaster response team began to initiate the first stages of the plan. Red Cross workers began the work of setting up a shelter for the residents of North Ridgeville, who had to be evacuated by boats due to the rising flood waters.

Summit and Portage County Board Member, Leonard Foster, loads a clean-up kit at the chapter.

Summit and Portage County Board Member, Leonard Foster, loads a clean-up kit at the chapter.

As the sun rose on Tuesday volunteers and staff were loading up the Red Cross vehicles to begin the process of observing, collecting, assessing, processing and recording information on each affected areas. The information obtained in this assessment helps the Red Cross determine how to respond to a disaster and what supplies will be required.

Our process starts with an area assessment and then moves to looking at individual homes to see what specific damage has been wrought by the storm – checking water levels in the basement or living space of a home and seeing if it is still inhabitable.

In the case of one Stow area family, where a basement wall had collapsed allowing mud and debris to slide into the home, we were able to help start the process of repairing the wall so that they will be able to stay in their home.

The Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) loaded with bleach and buckets donated by Home Depot, May 2014

The Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) loaded with bleach and buckets donated by Home Depot, May 2014

In other areas of Summit, Medina and Lorain Counties, we provided residents with clean-up kits containing disinfectant, a mop, a bucket and information about how to begin cleaning up the mess the storm and water had left in their homes. In some areas, we also passed out bleach, a donation from Home Depot.

If you are still looking for information on how to clean your basement, check out this link to our Repairing your Flooded Home booklet.

Back in North Ridgeville, we loaded up our Emergency Response Vehicle and set out through the streets, providing food to the residents who were there making their own assessments of the damage to their properties.

We cannot say enough to praise the many volunteers who left their own flooded basements to help other members in their community and in neighboring counties. If you are interested in joining their ranks, you can get started as a volunteer by signing up through our website.

If you would like to financially contribute to the clean-up effort, please visit www.redcross.org/donate or contact your local chapter.

Stark County chapter hosts annual BASH

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The stage is set for a rousing military medical drama inspired evening at the 2014 BASH.

Strains of Moonlight Serenade filled the main hangar at the MAPS Air Museum on Saturday, April 12th. Guests adorned in their best scrubs, khakis and Hawaiian shirts milled about perusing over 150 silent auction items.

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Stark County Board Chair, Laura Mann and Chapter Executive, Kim Kroh, welcome guests from the event stage.

The BASH Auction, which pays homage to the 1970s and 80s TV show M*A*S*H, is an annual tradition for the Stark County Chapter of the Red Cross.  Guests come dressed for the evening as characters from the show or just as the world of military doctors and nurses it depicted.

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Tents and military vehicles set the atmosphere for BASH at the entrance to the MAPS Air Museum’s Hangar.

The event, which raised over $78,000 for Red Cross military, disaster and community services in Stark County, is a mix of both silent and live auction items. This year’s event featured a variety of items such as Disney World passes, quilts handmade by the Red Cross sewing group and the chance to adopt a puppy through the Stark County Humane Society.