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.

Super Heroes Honored at Air Base

By Karen Conklin, Executive Director, Lake to River Chapter

Lucky Lake to River Volunteers were honored on April 27th at a VIP event at the 910th Airlift Wing. If you have ever been on a military base you know it’s tough to get through security. Our thanks to the 50 volunteers who sent in the required information a week ahead of time so that security at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station could clear them to get on the base.  Super Heroes was the theme because we know our military are heroes but so are our Red Cross volunteers.

board meeting

The Lake to River Chapter Board of Directors

Prior to the social event, the Lake to River Board of Directors met and also held the annual meeting.  The Board of Directors is working hard to make the 7th Acts of Courage event June 14th the best ever. The following volunteers will be serving another three-year term on the board. They are Kelly Becker, Patti Davis, Lou Joseph, Tifinie Lacomb, Amy Lower, Florence Wang and Phil Wilson. We thank them for their commitment and leadership.

Major Julian

Major Scott Julian

Thanks to Major Scott Julian (also a Red Cross Board Member) who gave a quick synopsis of the role of the 910th Airlift Wing. Did you know they fly the C-130 Cargo Planes and are the only base that is activated for oil spills or to spray for the Zika Virus?

Melissa

Melissa Papini

Good food, camaraderie and lots of laughs were everywhere as Disaster Program Manager Melissa Papini led the group in the “toilet paper” challenge. How many squares would you take if handed a roll of toilet paper at the table with strangers? Lesson learned, you have to tell something about your life for every square you take.  In some cases, as the kids say “TMI” –  too much information was hilariously shared.

The group appreciated the warm messages from Mike Parks and Kristen Gallagher, both of whom had family obligations.  Regional Disaster Officer Tim O’Toole personally thanked all “our heroes for their volunteer work to turn helplessness into hope.” We could never meet mission without our volunteers according to Tim. We also got to bid a kind farewell to Pat Buckhold, who will soon trade her Red Cross staff hat for a volunteer hat in our amazing organization.

K9Highlights for all were our four legged furry heroes on our Lake to River Canine team, who help with Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) and disaster response. These furry friends and their amazing trainers fully embrace the meaning and purpose of therapy dogs wherever they go. Quick to share a furry high five, they are trained to know they are “working” when they don their Red Cross vests and are “just dogs” when out of uniform.

We thank all who came and appreciate your constant devotion to our mission. One final question from me:  “How many squares of toilet paper would you need?” One of the best parts of my job is knowing the incredible resumes of those who do our important work. Lake to River and all Red Cross volunteers are Super Heroes.Debra Paul Pat

If you have an interest in volunteering for the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/neo and click the volunteer tab, or call 216-431-3328.  You can also send an email to NEOVolunteer@redcross.org.

Photos by Red Cross volunteer Paul Wadowick, pictured to the right with Debra Kellar and Pat Buckhold of Volunteer Services.  View the photo album here.

Feel the Heat, 2015

Working With the Military on a Disaster Drill

The firefighting abilities of the 910th Airlift Wing Fire Department were on full display at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station on Thursday, October 22, 2015, as were the services provided by the American Red Cross during times of disaster.

Video credit: Cal Pusateri/American Red Cross Volunteer

The second annual “Feel the Heat” exercise involved a simulated airplane crash, to demonstrate the response of firefighters and Red Cross staff and volunteers.  The drill also showcased how the Red Cross cooperates with the military to respond to the needs of family members and others.

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Photo credit/Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

As flames shot from the hull of the simulated wreckage, members of the 910th Civil Engineer Fire Department raced to the scene, fought the fire and searched for “survivors.”  It is those survivors and their loved ones who the Red Cross serves in the event of an aviation disaster.  The American Red Cross is responsible for tracking victims and their families, and providing them with counselling and support.  Staff members and volunteers would be activated to set-up necessary shelters, coordinate family and childcare facilities, arrange suitable non-denominational services, and make referrals to mental health professionals and support groups.

The American Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters every year, big and small.  Most are home fires.  Victims are given emergency financial assistance, food, shelter, clothing and assistance with medicines, eyeglasses, even dentures they may have lost in a disaster.

It takes the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors to help the victims of disasters.  You can learn more about volunteering, and make a donation at redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.  You can also text the words “Red Cross” to 90999 to make a $10.00 donation.

The American Red Cross also serves members of the military and their families through the Service to Armed Forces program.  Learn more about the ways in which the Red Cross is committed to helping the U. S. Military here.