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

 

Thankful for YOU, NEO

Thank you for all the support you give to the Red Cross in Northeast Ohio!

Without you, none of this would be possible. So, today, we are thankful for you.

To learn more about our services in NEO, visit http://www.redcross.org/neo.

After Escaping Home Fire, Ravenna Family Turns to Red Cross for Relief

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It was an ordinary August morning for Edna Norton until she returned home to find her house ablaze.

Surrounded by nearly a dozen fire trucks, Norton rushed to meet her family outside of their home in Ravenna, Ohio. Much to her relief, her husband and sons made it to safety after the eldest rescued his 18-year-old brother, who uses a wheelchair. But the threat to her family’s lives and destruction to their home left her distraught.

A Red Cross volunteer responding to the fire came to Norton’s side, offering comfort and support.

“She had a spirit about her. She was so calming and soothing,” Norton said of the volunteer. “She made you feel like you could make it through. She was very knowledgeable. I was a wreck. She made me sit down. Gave me water. She was still there after [the first responders] were leaving.”

The Red Cross helped Norton and her family figure out their next steps, addressing urgent needs such as replacing prescription medications that were destroyed by the fire. She said she’s grateful for the support to develop a path for their recovery.

edna-norton-with-red-cross-worker-debbie-chitester-2“To lose everything and to know [there are] people out there that care…There are a lot of good people out in the world,” she added. “I’m telling you that I had so much generosity, so much love, from strangers saying, ‘What can I do to help?’”

If you would like to volunteer as a member of the Red Cross team, visit www.redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteer.

Photos: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

Parma Neighborhood Now Better Protected from Home Fires

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Photos provided by Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

Smoke Alarms Installed in Dozens of Homes

While many of us were preparing to “Turn and Test”…turn our clocks back an hour, and test our smoke alarms on Saturday, November 5, the last day of Daylight Savings Time for 2016, several Parma residents got new smoke alarms installed in their homes.Fire Walk

The Red Cross and its partners with the Parma Fire Department and Parma CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) visited 38 homes, and installed 116 smoke alarms that day as part of Operation Save-A-Life.

Residents were also given valuable fire safety information, including ways to develop escape plans in the event of a home fire.

Last year, the Red Cross and its partners installed almost 13,000 smoke alarms in homes throughout the Northeast Ohio Region.

If you would like to help the Red Cross make Northeast Ohio a safer place to live by partnering with us to install smoke alarms, or if you need smoke alarms in your home, visit our Operation Save-A-Life page at redcross.org/neoosal.

Ashtabula Residents Get Free Smoke Alarms for Their Homes

Ashtabula Fire Department, Aqua Ohio Workers Help Red Cross Make Neighborhoods Safer

Residents who live in close to 100 homes in Ashtabula now have working smoke alarms, thanks to the efforts of the Red Cross, the Ashtabula Fire Department and Aqua Ohio.

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More than 20 volunteers fanned out throughout Ashtabula on Thursday, October 20 to provide residents with fire safety information and to install, at no cost to the residents, smoke alarms featuring batteries with a 10-year lifespan.

“We urge residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms, especially at this time of year, when we’re about to turn the clocks back,” said Karen Conklin, Executive Director of the Lake to River Chapter of the Red Cross. “And even if the batteries are good, if the alarm is more than 10 years old, it should be replaced because the sensors are out-of-date.”

Gary Offerdahl, the Red Cross volunteer who coordinated the installation event, called it a success. “We’re protecting more people from smoke and fire casualties and possibly fatalities, which is the motivating factor.”

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Ashtabula resident Carmen Rocco receives fire safety information in his home from a Red Cross volunteer on Octiber 20, 2016

Now in its second year, the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign is meant to reduce the number of fatalities caused by home fires by 25% over a five year period.

The Red Cross has more smoke alarms to install, thanks in part to the generosity of the United Way of Ashtabula County and the Ashtabula Foundation.  Companies interested in helping make residents safer in their homes by allowing their employees to participate in similar smoke alarm installation events can call 866-319-7160.

Photo credit: Paul Wadowick/American Red Cross Volunteer

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.

 

From the Titanic to Service: Dispatches from the East Coast

img_2098-2Dori Baumwart is passionate about service to others.

She is a Red Cross volunteer from Greenville, SC, assisting with sheltering in the southern part of the state during the Hurricane Matthew disaster relief operation.  Dori has a smile that is contagious, and even while waiting for her shelter assignment, she constantly asks, “What else can I do for you?”

Dori traces her love of helping strangers cope with disaster to her paternal grandmother, Amy.  When Amy was in her early twenties in 1912, her doctor told her she needed to leave her home in Great Britain to a warmer climate, so she booked a second-class passage on a ship headed for America.  As an unmarried woman traveling alone, Amy was an oddity on the Titanic but she was excited about starting her new life.

amy-stanleyAs the Titanic sank into the cold, Atlantic waters, Amy found herself standing on the deck as the lifeboat in front of her was filled to capacity. However, a young man who had a seat saw her there, and without any pressure from other passengers, he leaped out and offered his spot to her.

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the sacrifice of this unknown gentleman,” says Dori.  “My grandmother eventually met and married my grandfather in the United States.  What’s really neat is that the survivors from the Titanic were housed at the Met Life building in New York City after the Carpathian rescued them.  I worked for Met Life, so I always felt like everything came full circle.”

Today, as Dori prepares to head to the shelter to care for evacuees, she proudly shares the story of how her grandmother survived so that she could pay it forward.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Red Cross, get started on your application today at http://www.redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteer!

Story and Photos by Michelle Hankes/American Red Cross from redcrosssc.blogspot.com