Akron and the World Owe Thanks to Mary E. Gladwin

Looking back 100 years at the Summit, Portage & Medina Counties Chapter

(Editor’s Note:  This is the first in a series of centennial-related stories involving the founding of Red Cross chapters in Northeast Ohio)

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

Have you ever asked yourself, “What will I be remembered for?”

mary_gladwin_18871

Mary E. Gladwin 1887 – Photo courtesy of University of Akron Archives*

I’m not sure if Mary E. Gladwin (1861-1939) ever asked herself that question, but if she had, her answer could certainly put any of us to shame.

Born in England, Mary and her family moved to Akron in 1868. At age 26, she graduated from Buchtel College (which later became Akron University) and began to teach.  Moved by her father’s stories of being saved by a nurse on a French battlefield, she longed to do more than teach. Moving to Boston in 1894, she began training as a nurse at Boston City Hospital.

During the Spanish-American war, she moved to Cuba as a Red Cross volunteer, followed closely by a stint in the Philippines. After years of service in the field, she was readmitted to Boston City Hospital’s School of Nursing, receiving her degree in 1902.

Early in 1904, Gladwin served in Hiroshima, Japan during the Russo-Japanese War, where she received multiple awards for her service. Later that year, she returned to serve as Superintendent for Beverly Hospital in Massachusetts. That was followed by a move to New York City, taking the same role at Woman’s Hospital.

ua_gladwin_box3_blackalbum_japan_c1904-19050981

Mary Gladwin (standing 4th from right) attending to patients during the Russo-Japanese War*

mary_gladwin_balkans1

Mary Gladwin in Belgrade with two Serbian officers-Photo Courtest of University of Akron archives

In 1913, the greatest natural disaster to ever hit Ohio was the Great Dayton Flood. Gladwin answered the call and moved back to Ohio to direct the Red Cross’ nursing services.  Staying in Ohio, she moved to Cleveland later in 1913, organizing and directing the Visiting Nurses Association of Akron.  Eventually, she became president of the Ohio State Nurses Association, and director for the American Nurses Association.As World War I broke out in 1914, Gladwin went with the Red Cross to Belgrade, Serbia, caring for 9,000 soldiers in a hospital with a designed occupancy of 1,000.  Care ranged from battlefield injuries to fighting the typhus plague.

Returning in 1916, she became an incorporator and member of the first Board of Directors for the Summit County Chapter of the American Red Cross.  The chapter received its charter on June 29, 1916 and one day later, the women’s auxiliary was formed.

Heading back to Europe, she once again was on the front lines in Serbia and then Salonica, Greece, until the war ended in 1919. Returning to the US, after becoming the first recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal, she decided her new focus would be nursing education and directed various schools of nursing until her death in Akron in 1939.

While we can all be in awe of her remarkable life of service, we can also see how perfectly her life’s work mirrored the mission of today’s Red Cross – “preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies, by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”

If you’d like to be remembered for something, become a volunteer. Learn more by logging on to the Red Cross website.

*(Note: All photos from the Mary Gladwin Papers at Archival Services at The University of Akron.

 

 

 

 

 

A Thank You to our Summit County Transportation Volunteers

by Bev Snyder, Transportation Coordinator

Thank you.

As I reflect on the past 4 years of working with an amazing team of volunteers to provide free transportation to all residents in Summit County, I  realize that I have made a lot of great friends.

This team is made up of the most caring, and compassionate people I have encountered in my 33-years of working with the Red Cross. You have worked on days that were miserably cold and snowy, days that were hot and humid and never complained. I just want to say thank you for letting me be a part of this team, and thank each and every one on the team for all that you have done.

Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Volunteers Celebrated at Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition

Volunteers are the body and soul of Red Cross. They graciously commit their time and energy to provide services and awareness to their communities. On June 9th, the Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter celebrated some amazing volunteers at the Chapter’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition.

The theme of this year’s meeting was “Right in Your Own Backyard”, signifying that despite any changes that have taken place over the past year the Red Cross continues to serve each community in Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties — right in your backyard. To highlight this sentiment, the room was decorated like a backyard picnic! Attendees were treated to pulled bar-b-q pork, baked beans, pasta salad, lemonade, and a strawberry shortcake station for desert.

During the meeting, five volunteers were recognized by Rachel D’Attoma, Executive Director, for their outstanding dedication and achievements. Jim Reed was recognized for his achievements in the Chapter and Transportation Services. Bruce Foster was recognized for his work in the Services to the Armed Forces. David Riegler was recognized for his dedication in Disaster Cycle Services. Beata Bogyor was recognized for her continued support in Preparedness Health and Safety Services. And Bev Krizay was recognized for her work in Blood Services.

The meeting also included the induction of new board members who will start their three-year term this July. The members include, Jason Roche, Justin Markey, Patrick Stobb, Kim Kline, Cindy Johnson, Pam Williams, Mary Link, Mona Sarkar, Assistant Chief Charlie Brown, Ann Otto, Michele Siudak, Willis Walker, Todd Peetz, Jack McCabe, Vicky Snyder, Eric Shaffer, and Kim Rice.

If you are interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer please visit Volunteer or call 216-431-3328.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Red Cross of Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties celebrate the 2015 Acts of Courage

The Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter is pleased to announce the local heroes who were honored for their bravery and heroism at the annual  Acts of Courage event on Thursday, March 5.

The 2015 Honorees included:

Donald MoleskyChristopher Silbaugh and John Underwood were recognized for saving the lives of a couple after a torrential downpour left them trapped in their flooded basement.

A tornado watch was in effect for Cuyahoga Falls. As the water line began to rise during the sudden and torrential downpour in May of 2014, the Hammonds family sought safety in the basement of their home. Once the threat of a tornado had cleared, the children returned to the main floor of the house, leaving their parents to clean-up a small amount of water that had seeped through one of the windows.

Suddenly, the basement wall caved in taking a natural gas line with it. Water rushed in, trapping Michaelann and Mike in the dark stillness of the basement. They rose on the crest of the water until their heads touched the ceiling. The floor joists offered the only air space, though it was tainted by the noxious fumes of the gas. They pounded on the wood, calling to the children to go and get help.

The Hammonds siblings – Emma, Matthew and Sonia – swam across the street to the home of their neighbor, Donald Molesky. Their screams alerted many of the neighbors, including Christopher Silbaugh,  and strangers like John Underwood, whose truch had gotten stuck in the flooded road. John, Christopher and Donald ran to the house.

They pulled an ax from the Hammonds garage and used it, along with Donald’s power saw, to cut through the floorboards. They were able to free Michaelann. Working hard but carefully, they finally pulled Mike through the floor.

Peter Radke was recognized for saving a girl from drowning in Lake Erie.

Peter Radke had agreed to take his daughters and their friends to Lake Erie’s Huntington Beach for a birthday party. Though they knew the water was too choppy to swim, Peter noticed a girl in the water who was struggling to stay afloat. Peter was an excellent swimmer. In spite of the conditions, he dove into the water.

He reached the girl and was able to push her to a safe area where others could grab her.

As they did, Peter struggled to bring himself in.  He was pulled further out into the temperamental, black waters of Lake Erie.  Then he was pulled under, not to resurface.  Peter lost his life to save that drowning girl.

David EiseleDave Wokaty and Officer Justin Winebrenner were recognized their actions when a gunman entered a crowded pub.

Dave Wokaty, David Eisle and Officer Justin Winebrenner were each enjoying a night out with friends at a local pub when Wokaty noticed the manager having an altercation with a customer.

15 minutes later, the customer returned brandishing a weapon. The manager asked Wokaty to see the customer out. Their voices rose in anger. Officer Justin Winebrenner, an off-duty Akron Police officer, and David Eisele joined Wokaty in seeing the customer out.

“From that moment, in my perspective, everything began to move slowly,” said Wokaty.

The gun went off. Though their fearless, and quick thinking saved many patrons and staff members, Wokaty was shot in the stomach and arm.

Officer Winebrenner received a fatal shot.

“I believe,” continued Wokaty,” if it weren’t for Justin, I wouldn’t be here now.”

The gunman ran off. He was caught shortly afterwards by the police.

Jason Duncan was recognized for performing CPR to save the life of a 7-day old infant.

On a cool night in early May, Jason Duncan and his wife Krista heard screaming coming from outside of their front door. Then they heard the sound of someone desperately pounding. Opening the door, Jason saw his neighbors, Bobbi Jo and Dustin holding their seven-day-old baby, Logan. The baby was not breathing and his lips had started to turn an unnatural shade of blackish-purple.  While Krista dialed 911, Jason grabbed a nasal aspirator and began infant CPR.

In a few heartbeats, Logan’s tiny cry pierced the stillness. A sound that Jason and Dustin describe as one of the greatest sounds they ever heard.

Essien (Chris) Cobham and Samantha Phillips were recognized for performing CPR on a visiting student at Kent State University.

Kent State University student, Chris Cobham, was studying in a quiet area of the Student Union on campus, when he heard a thud. A high school student who had been visiting the campus was choking. Quickly assessing the situation, Chris stepped in and began abdominal thrusts on the boy. He slid him to the ground and began CPR once the student’s lips turned blue.

Samantha Phillips, who was cutting through the Student Union on her way to her next class, heard the panic in the conversations of those around her. She went to investigate.

“It’s instinct to go and help someone,” said Samantha, who is working on a degree in Athletic Training. Part of her curriculum is Red Cross certification in First Aid and CPR.

She could see that Chris was getting tired. Pulling out her CPR breathing mask, Samantha assisted breathing as Chris administered the chest compressions until help arrived. The boy was taken to the hospital, and is now back at home.

Bill Adkins and Tony Hylton were recognized for performing CPR on a friend, and fellow Seville Bronze worker.

When Jim Robinson fell to the floor not long after arriving at work, suffering from a massive heart attack, Bill Adkins and Tony Hylton responded quickly.  Trained as part of the company-sponsored first responder team at Seville Bronze, they never thought they would be called to perform CPR on Jim.

“Jim was Superman at work. To be pushing on your friend of 18…20 years? It was devastating,” said Tony.

Their extensive training in Red Cross First Aid and CPR kicked in and they were able to help maintain Jim until paramedics arrived.

“If not for the efforts of Bill and Tony, Jim may not be alive today,” said Chief Jerry Winkler of the Seville-Guilford Fire and EMS.

Officer Derrick Jackson,  and Officer Chris Crockett were recognized for saving a man from a home fire.

Officers Chris Crockett and Derrick Jackson reported to the scene of a house fire where someone was still inside. Knowing that seconds count in a fire, Officer Jackson, a new recruit on the Akron Police Department, pushed his way into the building. Thick smoke bellowed from the house. He came back out to catch his breath.

Officer Crockett returned to the police cruiser for a facemask to filter the smoke. Diving into the home, he too began searching around for the resident as Officer Jackson guided to him from the open door. Once the man was located, the officers pulled him to safety.

Devon McConnell, Ethan Cameron, Paul Martin and Andy Reece were recognized for saving two women and an infant from a fire.

Four Ohio Edison linemen — Devon McConnell, Ethan Cameron, Paul Martin and Andy Reece  — sent to a job site in Rittman, were just getting ready to break for lunch when they heard a woman’s voice screaming, “Fire!”

Looking around, Paul Martin saw a woman standing on a balcony, holding a baby in her arms.

The crew called 911. Knowing that time was of the essence, they quickly moved into position. Moving their truck closer to the building, Devon raised the bucket and grabbed the family. As he was lowering the woman and child to the ground, another woman appeared on another balcony and began yelling for help. As heat rolled out of the open door, Devon returned to rescue the second woman. It took five fire departments to contain the blaze.

All four men have first responder certification, as well as Red Cross First Aid and CPR training. They view their actions as just another facet of their job.

“We are fortunate to have a sense of pride in our jobs. It is an amazing feeling, simply to see the lights come on,” said Paul.

Melvin Davis and Steve Myers were recognized for saving a woman from an apartment fire.

On a Friday night in October, a resident at the apartment complex where Melvin Davis is a Live-in Assistant ran into his apartment to alert him to a fire in one of the apartments. Moving quickly, Melvin grabbed his pass key and followed the man. He could smell the smoke. He called out to the resident, an elderly woman. She answered that she was hurt and couldn’t get to the door.

Melvin opened the door. Struggling to breathe, he couldn’t see more than two feet in front of himself. He called out again. He moved into the apartment but returned to the hallway when he heard the door slam shut behind him. Steve Myers, a resident of the complex, was in the hall and offered to hold the door so that Melvin would be able to find his way out.

Melvin returned into the smoke and crackling flames of the apartment. Working between the sound of the woman’s voice and the sound of Steve’s, he was able to pull the woman to the door. Steve and Melvin moved her to the safety of the stairwell and then began helping the rest of the residents out of the building.

“It was just a blessing to help her,” said Steve.

Officer Adam LeMonier, Officer Darren McConnell and Officer Gregory Mesko were recognized for saving a woman from a home fire.

Officers Adam LeMonier, Darren McConnell and Gregory Mesko were called to a smoke filled home. Neighbors reported that the resident was at home and had not been seen. Moving quickly, the officers made the decision to enter the home and search for the woman. The Officers found her asleep on her bed unaware of what was going on. She was quickly removed from the home.

***********

In addition to recognizing the heroism of area residents at the event, the American Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina Counties will present the H. Peter Burg Award to a community member who has been selfless in service to the community.  This year’s recipient is William (Bill) J. Ginter, who demonstrates a lifelong commitment to humanitarian causes, charitable organizations and the vitality and welfare of the local community.

While CEO of FirstEnergy and chair of the local Red Cross Board of Directors, H Peter Burg established a legacy of dedicated service to the Greater Akron community. Following his death in 2004, the American Red Cross established an award in Pete’s name to honor his memory and inspire others. By bestowing the award on Bill the Red Cross recognizes his lifetime of community service.

###

Why We Red Cross: Transportation Driver

Bunny Perren volunteers as a driver for the Transportation Program with the Summit and Portage Counties Chapter.

Bunny Perren volunteers as a driver for the Transportation Program with the Summit and Portage Counties Chapter.

After teaching for 38 years with Norton City Schools, Bunny Perren was ready to embark on a new adventure.

In talking to her friend, Bev Snyder (who is the Director of Community Services for the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio) she found her next undertaking.

The Summit and Portage Counties chapter of the American Red Cross offers transportation services for non-life threatening medical appointments in Summit County. Each of the drivers who assist the chapter’s large roster of clients is a volunteer.

Bunny knew how the struggle to get a loved one to necessary medical appointments could take a toll on a family. She and her three sisters had shared the duty of transporting their mother to cancer treatments while balancing their own family and work obligations.

“I feel like we are doing a service that no one else in the community has taken the time to do,” said Bunny. For the past two years she has volunteered as a driver at least one day a week.

Bunny knows each of her clients’ stories. In the ten or so minutes it takes to get from their home to their appointment and back she listens to their tales of life, children and grandchildren. And she offers a place to vent their frustrations.

Even when she encounters a client for the first time, Bunny’s kind personality is quick to put them at ease.

“You can become their cheerleader,” she said. “I love this job!”

If you are interested in becoming a Transportation Volunteer, drivers are needed in both Summit and Stark Counties. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to get started.

Summit and Portage Counties Chapter Hosts 18th Annual Acts of Courage Event

On March 6, the Summit and Portage Counties chapter hosted its 18th Annual Acts of Courage Event.

The event, which took place at the Hilton in Fairlawn, was attended by nearly 350 guests.

In case you missed the evening, or simply wanted to see the videos again, here is an encore presentation of the heroic stories honored that evening.

Kelsey Parkman was recognized for rescuing his Vacation Bible School instructor from drowning.

The last day of Vacation Bible School at New Covenant Sanctuary of Praise started as a rainy summer morning. As a result, 14 year-old Kelsey Parkman had not planned on swimming at the end of the week celebration at Turkeyfoot Lake. As the sun broke through the clouds, Kelsey changed his mind and joined his friends in the cool water. They began playing a game of keep-away with his instructor. Suddenly, the instructor began struggling and calling for help. While many observers thought that it was a joke, Kelsey saw the panic in his teacher’s face. Although Kelsey had no training in lifesaving, he had taken Red Cross swimming lessons a few years earlier. A strong swimmer, Kelsey swam over and realized that they were at place where the bottom of the lake dropped off. He pulled the instructor to a shallow depth and they returned to their game. It wasn’t until the ride home that the magnitude of his actions hit Kelsey.

John Duckworth was recognized for pulling a man from a burning car.

John Duckworth had worked an hour over his regular shift and was heading home at 2:30 in the morning. He was driving along his regular route when he observed a Hummer crashed down an embankment on Route 224. Its hazard lights were blinking and the engine was still running. He called 911 and then went to see about the driver. Another car stopped and a man got out. Assured that the driver was okay, John turned to go back to his own car. Stopping at his door, he heard shouting. Flames licked the hood of the car. John and the second man ran back to the Hummer. They reached into the burning car but the driver was trapped. Recalling that a colleague had recently returned his baseball bat, John sprinted to his trunk to retrieve it. He swung at the Hummer’s windshield. After several swings, the windshield shattered. John and the second man were able to free the driver and pull him away as the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

Hayden Lukasik-Barber, Officer Vince Danko, Officer Nick Szaibel and Officer Brandon Heisler were recognized for saving Emily Cable from her burning home.

On March 29, 2013, Officer Brandon Heisler was the new guy on the beat. He was out on patrol with Officer Vince Danko when they received a call to report to a possible fire. When they approached the home, nothing looked unusual. Then they noticed 9 year-old, Hayden Lukasik-Barber standing at the rear of the house motioning them to the back. Hayden quickly explained that 70 year-old Emily Cable was in the home she shared with Hayden and his grandmother, Ruth Barber. Officer Danko opened the back door only to encounter the heart of the blaze. With the back door blocked by the fire, Hayden led the officers to the front of the building. While they ran he described the layout and where he and Ruth expected Emily to be waiting with her walker. Black smoke had begun to pour through the front of home. Officer Danko plunged into the darkness and dropped to his knees once the smoke overcame him. Outside, Officer Nick Szaibel had also responded to the call. Unaware of the drama taking place at the front of the home, he attempted to enter through the rear door. The heat was too much and he retreated. Seeing Hayden, he ran to tell him to move away from the house. It was then that he learned what was transpiring.

Using the tile design as a marker of where he was going, Officer Danko crawled through the room and connected with the leg of Emily’s walker. Step by step they worked their way back through the rooms to the open door where Officer Heisler guided him the rest of the way by his gun belt.

“I didn’t feel anything until my Chief showed up. It was just my job, but talking with him made me realize all the things I risked,” said Officer Danko.

Brian Nichols was recognized for performing first aid on a car accident victim.

At approximately 2:30 a.m. on October 12, 2013 Brian Nichols heard a terrible crash outside of his home. Brian, a volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team, ran to the site. In the wreckage of the three car accident, he observed a woman with a compound fracture of her leg and bleeding profusely. Brian sprinted back to his car and retrieved his first aid kit. On his way back to the scene he told a bystander to check in with the nearby Fire Department. Handing his flashlight to another onlooker, he attempted to control the bleeding until the paramedics arrived.

“You just respond at the scene then you go back to your home and let it sink in,” said Brian. He credits his Red Cross training for his quick response.

Jace Fletcher, was recognized for reporting a student with a gun.

May 16th was a day like any other for 11 year-old Jace Fletcher. He woke up, got dressed and prepared to ride the school bus to his classes. After boarding the bus, Jace sat down only to observe a student sitting nearby who was loading a gun. He watched as the boy slipped the magazine in and heard the click of the bullet as it slid into the chamber. Thinking quickly, he realized that he didn’t want to confront the boy, either by calling attention to the gun or by telling the bus driver, in the tight quarters of the school bus. Safe inside his first class, Jace took action. He quietly alerted two teachers to the situation.

“Jace is a Hero,” said Sergeant Ken Dies, the school resource officer. As a Bully-Free Facility, the STEM School encourages students to take a stand by not joining the activity, walking away and telling a trusted adult. Jace’s thoughtful actions that day prevented a potentially devastating situation.

Dr. Melani Sherman and Dr. Humberto Choi were recognized for performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on a fellow competitor during the Cleveland Triathlon.

The morning of the Cleveland Triathlon, 44 year-old Todd Rains was at his physical peak. Three weeks earlier, he had had a complete physical and all looked good. On his way to the race, he spoke on the phone to a couple of friends who called to wish him well. In heat of the race, he had just finished the swimming portion and moved on to the cycling section when he went down. Dr. Humberto Choi, a fellow racer, saw him on the ground. He leapt from his own bike and ran to Todd. Approaching, he announced that he was a Cleveland Clinic doctor. Todd’s skin was blue and he had no pulse. In spite of having finished his own swim through Lake Erie, Dr. Choi immediately began Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). “Those are the moments you just get energy from places you never knew existed,” said Dr. Choi.

From her bike, Dr. Melani Sherman noticed the two men up ahead on the course. As she approached, she flew off the bike. Shouting her credentials as an emergency room doctor from Akron General Medical Center, she proceeded to assist Dr. Choi with compressions. As precious minutes ticked by, the odds were growing against Todd. Once an ambulance was finally able to make its way through the course, Todd was taken to an area hospital and the doctors continued on to the finish line.

Through various channels, the doctors learned that Todd had survived. They were both overjoyed.

“That was not a professional situation. That was very personal,” said Dr. Choi.

——————-

Thank you, once again, to Todd Biss Photography in Akron for providing the videos.

The chapter will host a Real Heroes of Portage, Lake and Geagua Counties event on May 15. To be a sponsor or to purchase tickets please contact Shelley Sprang at shelley.sprang@redcross.org