Youngstown-area Volunteers Head into Smoke and Fire of California

Three American Red Cross volunteers from the Northeast Ohio Region are being deployed to California, where a wildfire has forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Randy Liang of Cuyahoga Falls will help support the technology needs of the Red Cross disaster relief operation in Mariposa County, California.

Mark Strausser and Jason Mitman (in video, above) of Youngstown will work with residents who are staying in shelters as a result of the wildfire.

Red Cross workers and partners helping to provide a safe place to stay and three meals a day for hundreds of displaced residents.

“We help people here, at home, every day,” said Mitman, referring to the help Red Cross workers offer to Northeast Ohio residents who experience home fires and other disasters.  “Now I get to help people in California.  This is why I volunteer for the Red Cross.”

Other volunteers from Northeast Ohio may also be deployed to help in the days to come.

For information on volunteer opportunities, visit redcross.org/neo, and click on the Volunteer tab.

Mr. Classic, Rocker and Recruiter for the Red Cross in NEO

Veteran Cleveland DJ Explains Why He Now Volunteers for the Red Cross

By Anmol Nigam, American Red Cross Volunteer

In downtown Cleveland, classic rock fills a studio in the Halle Building. Midway through a conversation, Walter Garrett’s eyes light up and he rapidly presses keys and pulls down sliders on a variety of keyboards and mixers in front of him. With a grin on his face, his voice fills the room as he takes the first of many callers who will phone-in during the night.

“You’re on 98.5 WNCX!”

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Walter Garrett, aka “Mr. Classic” Photo credit: Anmol Nigam/American Red Cross Volunteer

Walter is “Mr. Classic,” the host of the Saturday evening radio show Saturday Night Live House Party for over twenty-five years. A native Clevelander, he now lives right next to the Lorain County office of the American Red Cross in Elyria.

Each day he passed the Red Cross and thought about how he should be doing something there – volunteering or donating blood.

Then, three years ago, Walter underwent a major surgery.

“I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the ER. It turns out I was having a heart attack.”

Walter needed six pints of blood during his surgery. And due to the efforts of the Red Cross and its volunteers, Walter got it.

He thought about his daily commute and decided that it was finally time to give back to the organization that had helped him in his time of need. He walked into the Red Cross office and asked about volunteering. Now Walter can be found at Red Cross events recruiting new volunteers.

Volunteer Walter Garrett at Regional Headquarters
Photo credit: Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

“I really enjoy talking to people at the events for the Red Cross. You can’t put a price on that. It’s not something you get in a paycheck. It’s something you can’t put a price on.”

If you have an interest in volunteering for the Red Cross,  log onto redcross.org/neo, and click on the volunteer tab.

 

 

Coming Up: 2017

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Happy New Year everyone!

2017 has a lot of great events and happenings already lined up, and it’s only January 1st. Let’s look ahead at the coming year.

March is Red Cross Month – March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a way to raise awareness of the organization and its humanitarian mission in the midst of war. Since then, every president, including President Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month.

This year is particularly special as we will be celebrating 100 years of serving many of our communities!

Acts of Courage (Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter)- On March 2 we will celebrate the extraordinary and courageous acts of ordinary community members at our 21st annual Acts of Courage event in Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties. The event is the primary fundraiser for the chapter. We will also honor Kevin Thompson of PNC Bank with the H. Peter Burg Award for community service.

If you are interested in obtaining tickets or sponsoring the event, please visit the event page here.

Fire and Ice Ball – The semi-annual Red Cross Ball will take place in Cleveland on March 25th. This year’s theme highlights the importance of fire prevention and safety information that the Red Cross provides to our community. We respond to an average of 3 home fires a night throughout the 22 counties we serve. Proceeds from this event will allow us to continue to educate Northeast Ohio families about fire safety and help us protect local homes through Operation Save-A-Life, our amazing program that installs smoke alarms – for free!

If you are interested in obtaining tickets or sponsoring the event, please visit the event page here.

BASH – Our smash hit event of the spring – the BASH in Stark and Muskingum Lakes is a themed auction to benefit the disaster services in Stark, Harrison, Carroll, and Tuscarawas Counties. For more information on tickets, sponsorship, or donating to the auction, please call the Stark and Muskingum Lakes chapter.

Acts of Courage (Lake to River Chapter) – This summer we will honor individuals whose extraordinary acts of courage make them someone’s hero. Those everyday people who have put themselves in harm’s way or have risked their lives to save another. For more information, please call the Lake to River Chapter or visit our NEO Heroes page.

Festival of Trees – We realized you are probably in the midst of putting away your own holiday decorations, but it’s never to early to start thinking about how you can participate in our annual holiday tradition in Wooster. For more information, call the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.

And – of course – we invite you to assist us in providing our services every day of the new year by going to www.redcross.org/neo and clicking on volunteer. It’s amazing to serve the people in our communities and you’ll be so glad you did (plus it may help you tick off one of those pesky New Year’s resolutions!)

Recovery Continues on East Coast

Twelve days have passed since Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the United States.  Many areas remain flooded. 26 Red Cross shelters remain open, with over 1,400 individuals seeking lodging there on Monday night.

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As waters begin to recede, the second stage of the Red Cross recovery efforts will begin. We will start to work with those affected to provide navigation through the web of assistance available to them, not just through the Red Cross, but through other organizations such as FEMA.

 

Some of our img_2537volunteers are out in communities – as conditions permit – across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida to provide warm meals and relief supplies. Some are on the ground accessing the damages to homes (a step necessary for a family to obtain financial assistance), while others begin to meet with families and individuals to help them map out their own recovery process.

img_2526All told, the Red Cross has mobilized almost 5,000 disaster workers, 235 response vehicles, 19 partner-supported kitchens as well as truckloads of water, ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets, kitchen items, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more.

Overall, Red Cross and community partners have served more than 931,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 187,000 relief items, supported more than 19,000 health and mental health services, and provided 93,000 overnight stays in shelters.

How can you help?

MAKE A DONATION – The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

GIVE BLOOD – We’d also like to ask public to remember the blood needs of the Red Cross. Hurricane Matthew has already forced the cancellation of many blood drives along the East Coast, and more could be cancelled. If you’re in an unaffected area, please give blood or platelets now, so we can continue to help patients in need. Go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER – People can make a difference in someone’s life by becoming a Red Cross 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. To learn more about national deployment, read this story.

 

Always on Time in Your Time of Need

By: Darrell Rush, Service to the Armed Forces Intern

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Hello my name is Darrell, I am a Social Worker intern at the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio Regional Office in Cleveland.  I want to share my story of how the Red Cross affects each of us, at one point or another.

As part of my internship, I am working on a program that has become better over the years because of advances in Informational Technology. We are able to connect  people and resources with a simple key stroke. This program helps Red Cross volunteers provide information to family members of deployed military personnel. The information provided helps the family with resources that gives light on a dark situation. I know that when a person is deployed and away from family members there are plenty of anxieties to spread around.

I served in the Army in the late 1970’s, after the return of our troops from Vietnam. I wanted to fight for our country, but was too young. I enlisted as soon as I was eligible. When I did my family was a wreck.. My father was killed while I was in training, and I did not find out until after he was buried.They did not find out what to do to contact the Red Cross until after I came home on leave.

That was a problem back then that has been remedied today.

In February,  I was doing my regular duties-  making calls to our Service Members families – when a young lady answered and found out that I was from the Red Cross. She was very distraught and bewildered. She screamed to her mother that help was there and that God was good.  “The Red Cross is on the phone.”When the mother got on the call she immediately informed me that her mother just passed away the prior evening, and they did not know what to do in order to contact her son in the military. I explained the reason for my call and gave her all the information needed to start the process.  She kept on thanking God for this call and the Red Cross. By the end of our conversation she was at ease and had a plan. Then she said to me,” The Red Cross is always on time in your time of need.”

“Repetition is the only way to achieve perfection here on earth”. Since I was a young lad, I have always tried to place myself in the right position to help others. You see, by continuing to do the same thing over and over again it becomes like breathing air. That simple! This is the main reason for the Red Cross being the perfect place to start when looking for advice and information in your time of need; whether it be preparing for a disaster, contacting a loved one in the Armed Forces during an emergency, or even learning about administering first aid.

The Red Cross strives to share information that will help us prepare for an emergency.  They give advice on resiliency, and ways to prepare your household with hope for a better day. The Red Cross supplies resources that will help people to overcome personal tragedy and ensure a faster recovery.

To learn more about how the Red Cross helps our service members and their families visit our Service to the Armed Forces site.

Red Cross Volunteer Apps make volunteering easy for current and prospective volunteers

Nationally, there are over one million volunteers for the Red Cross. While many volunteers tend to local community needs by those who have experienced a disaster like a home fire or flood, there are many other ways to work with the Red Cross including supporting the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces, Blood Drives, work at events, community meetings, and more. All are welcome and encouraged to make a difference in their community.  The Red Cross has created two ways to use your mobile device to help you volunteer, the Team Red Cross App and the Volunteer Connection App.

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When a large scale disaster hits, the Team Red Cross App makes it easy for you to help the response through just-in-time training.  The app has extensive training materials so you know exactly how to provide help with disaster assessment, feeding, bulk distribution, or other important work to assist those when they need it most.  Using the GPS on your mobile device, the app instantly recognizes where you are and tells you what help is needed in your area.  For more information, visit www.redcross.org/apps.

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The Volunteer Connection app is for those who are currently volunteers for the Red Cross. The app will help you easily update your profile, log your volunteer hours, schedule your shifts or read up on the latest news from your groups.  The app works with the existing volunteer connection website, but gives you the power to stay connected through your mobile device.  The apps are downloadable for the iPhone and Android servers.

To get started as a volunteer, or learn about additional opportunities visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.