Deployment Spotlight: Barbara Behling – Communications Officer – Shelter Keepsake & Autographs

Barbara Behling, left on Friday, May 16, 2014 when she got the call that her help was needed in the Red Cross response efforts for the wildfires in California. She flew back Wednesday, May 21, 2014 and here is one of the many stories she has written during her deployment. We thank Barbara for giving of her time and talent and for sharing the stories of how the Red Cross is helping those in need.

Photos & Story by: Barbara Behling, American Red Cross  

Eloise Aleman Pillow is autographed by Martin Astl

Eloise Aleman Pillow is autographed by Martin Astl

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Barbara Behling, (left) with Eloise Aleman and her signed pillow.

Pillow closeup

 

It’s not often you have to leave your home with a 5-minute warning but for Eloisa Aleman this was San Diego wildfire reality. From frantic moments she found comfort, friendship and compassion in the Mission Hills High School shelter for several days.

From a collection of individuals, a community was formed thanks to a sea of red vested American Red Cross responders. Each person was welcomed to their ‘temporary home’ with a safe place to sleep, food and snacks around the clock. Medical professions provided a watchful eye to ensure any health issues were addressed including replacing medications left behind from a hasty exit.  Compassionate care was provided to help calm fears and reduce stress as the flames grew and the smoke came closer.  Through partnerships, all their pets were housed, fed and even walked. A few individuals even slept next to their furry friends in separate quarters.

When the evacuation orders were lifted many returned home to resume normal daily activities. However, for some, a new reality was about to begin with clean-up to begin as their homes were reduced to ashes.

Eloise Aleman was so impressed with the hospitality! She wanted a lasting reminder.

“You are all like family!” she exclaimed.

So she wanted to keep her shelter pillow and pranced to each red vest for an autograph and a hug.  This act of appreciation, gratitude and memory will last a lifetime for each Red Cross worker.

Help Provide Swimming Lessons to those in Need!

CLICK HERE to participate in this GROUPON DEAL: $10 Donation to the American Red Cross

m6040248_241x164-learn-to-swimThe Issue: Lack of Swimming Skills

Every day, an average of 10 people die from unintentional drowning in the U.S.—two of those being children aged 14 or younger. For every child who dies from drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, another five received emergency care from water-related incidents. A 2014 Red Cross survey found that while 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent are self-described swimmers and 33 percent of African American respondents can perform all of the five basic swimming skills that are needed to be competent in the water.

The Campaign: Teaching Children to Swim

All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by the American Red Cross to support the Aquatics Centennial Campaign, a new initiative to cut the drowning rate by 50% in 50 cities in the next 3 to 5 years. For every $10 raised, the organization can help provide a swimming lessons for one child or adult from an at-risk community.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Red Cross’s water safety education program. To celebrate, through its Centennial Campaign, the organization aims to teach 50,000 more people in these cities how to swim and respond to emergency situations. The program targets families in high-risk areas, and includes teaching parents how to perform CPR as well as equipping older teens and young adults with the skills to become lifeguards and swim instructors. People are also encouraged to download the free Red Cross Swim App to track their or their children’s swim progress and learn about water safety with videos and quizzes.

In A Nutshell: 

Donations help prevent drowning accidents during the summer by providing swimming lessons for children in underserved communities

The Fine Print

100% of donations go directly to American Red Cross. Donations are automatically applied. See Grassroots FAQs that apply to this campaign. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Download the Red Cross Swim App!

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Learn more about water safety, including simple steps you can take to help ensure the safety of your family in a variety of environments, such as home pools and the ocean.

TEXT ‘SWIM’ to 90999 or download from the Apple App StoreGoogle Play or Amazon Marketplace.

Red Cross Issues Tips to Keep You Safe This 4th of July

 Throughout the Fourth of July week, many people will be traveling, firing-up the backyard grill or enjoying fireworks, and the American Red Cross offers a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday.

FIREWORKS SAFETY The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting fireworks off at home:

1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook treats for the backyard barbecue:

1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

signsHIGHWAY SAFETY Millions of people will be on the highways throughout the Fourth of July week. The Red Cross offers five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:

1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
2. Do not drink and drive.
3. Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
4. Use caution in work zones.
5. Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn theheadlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE FIRST AID APP  PHSS_FIrstAid_IMGv1-JH

The Red Cross has a free Red Cross First Aid App to put expert advice for everyday emergencies at your fingertips. The app is available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.

Have a safe and fun 4th of July!

Northeast Wisconsin Board Member Spotlight – Tom Rettler

Tom Rettler
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Menasha Corporation

Thomas Rettler - Menasha Corporation

Red Cross Board Member Since: 2012

We want to thank Tom for sharing his Red Cross story with us and are honored to have him as a member of the American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Chapter Board of Directors.

What are your responsibilities as a board member?
My primary responsibility is raising awareness of the Red Cross mission among my personal and professional network, which hopefully leads them to getting involved as either volunteers, donors or both.

Why did you choose to volunteer for the Red Cross?
Being a finance person, I was attracted to the scope, scale, speed and efficiency of the resources the Red Cross can bring to bear on disasters when and wherever they occur.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for the Red Cross?
Playing a small part in assisting a great organization that serves a vitally important mission.

Where do you see yourself in the future with the Red Cross?
Right now I see my involvement primarily at a local level (NE Wisconsin Chapter) and staying involved as a board member.

Do you volunteer for other places/non-profit organizations?
I am on the Board of the Menasha Corporation Foundation. I occasionally volunteer at my daughter’s elementary school.

What do you and your family like to do together?
Traveling and just spending time together whatever the activity might be.

What are your favorite hobbies or past time activities?
Golfing and fishing are my two favorite recreational activities

What is one interesting fact about you that would surprise your friends and colleagues?
My oldest child is 26 and my youngest is 7. The youngest one keeps me young.

What is your favorite quote that you live by?
“Everyone faces adversity. How you respond to that adversity defines your character.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We will never eliminate disasters or the need for blood. These are situations, for the most part, that can’t be prevented, they can only be responded to and supported. No organization does it better than the Red Cross.

 

 

 

Get to know: Trina Capelli, Summer Intern

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By: Trina Capelli, American Red Cross Intern

My name is Trina Capelli and I am a summer intern for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin located at the offices in Manitowoc. I just completed my second year as a Biochemistry Major at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. I plan on graduating a semester early in December of 2015. After receiving my Bachelors of Science degree, I hope to go on to Medical School.

A little bit about me: I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin and attended Mary D. Bradford High School. I played Varsity Tennis, Basketball, and Softball in high school, and have continued to play tennis for Beloit College. I am a big fan of pretty much any Wisconsin sports team, especially the Packers. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, working out, and spending time with my family.

My connection to the American Red Cross began when I was about eight years old with the Babysitting and First Aid courses. Since then I have also completed the CPR and First Aid courses and have become a certified lifeguard as well. I am very excited to be interning with the American Red Cross this summer, and I look forward to having a positive impact on the Manitowoc community.

American Red Cross Honors Volunteers and Supporters at Celebration of Support Event

The American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin Chapter celebrated its partners at the annual Celebration of Support Event on Tuesday, June 24 at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay. Two hundred and sixty attended the event, comprised of Red Cross volunteers, community partners and The Grainger Foundation representatives; the event sponsor. The crowd was brought to their feet upon hearing the amazing acts of volunteerism and collaboration. WBAY-TV anchor, Kathryn Bracho served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

The program kicked-off with incoming Board Vice-chair, Chris Vanderheyden of Double Digit Sales Growth, welcoming words and appreciation for all who give of their time, talent and treasure to help the Red Cross fulfill its mission. Following Vanderheyden was Greg Novinska, CEO, Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region with an update on our collection, testing and distribution of life-saving blood products.  The first awards were presented to One-a-Week Club businesses and clubs who committed to at least 52 donations of blood per year, or one per week during the previous year.

After dinner, the Volunteer Recognition Awards were presented to individuals and groups for their exceptional volunteer work.

Jean Frisch, of Wisconsin Public Service, Ed McHugh Worker of the Year award for front-line volunteers with exceptional reliability to the blood program.

(l-r)  Greg Novinska, CEO, Badger-Hawkeye Blood Service Regioin, Robert Hollenbeck, Hilary Lesperance Award Winner, and his daughter, Lori Hollenbeck

(l-r) Greg Novinska, CEO, Badger-Hawkeye Blood Service Region, Robert Hollenbeck, Hilary Lesperance Award Winner, and his daughter, Lori Hollenbeck

Associated Bank, Business, Group or Organization of the Year, given to a business or group of volunteers for years of commitment to the American Red Cross Blood Services program.

Robert Hollenback, of Sheboygan Falls, Hilary Lesperance Award for outstanding support in the Blood Services Program.

Territory Three Disaster Action Team,  Kerrie Forester Emergency Services Award for commitment and dedication to Disaster Services.

John Mueller, of DePere, Andrew Janssen Transportation Award, for outstanding work in transportation services for the American Red Cross and providing transportation for the elderly population and those with disabilities to help them sustain an independent lifestyle.

Rick Jerry, of Green Bay, Outreach Award, for outstanding service in Preparedness, Health and Safety, education and outreach.

Sharon Davister, of Green Bay& Bonnie Rozmarynowski, of Denmark, Behind-the-Scenes Award presented to a volunteer who assists with essential office work at one of our office locations in development, facilities, reception and other behind-the-scenes jobs.

Pakou Lee, of Green Bay, Rookie of the Year, presented to a volunteer for exceptional level of service and has started within the past year.

The Konop Company, of Green Bay, Community Partnership Award, awarded to a group, individual, or business for demonstrating extraordinary support, collaboration and fulfillment of the American Red Cross mission within its core lines of service

Schneider, Corporate Benefactor Award, for a business with outstanding commitment and dedication to the American Red Cross.

Aymee Balison, of De Pere, Mrs. Crane (Mary) Murphy Award, presented to a member of the Board of Directors for exceptional contribution and advancement of the American Red Cross.

John and Lynne Wilson, of Iron Mountain, MI, Volunteer of the Year Award, presented to the individual who has demonstrated long-term commitment to multiple programs of the American Red Cross.

(l-r) Shawn Kiser, Major Gifts Officer, Jody Weyers, Director of Volunteers, Jim Rivett, Clara Barton Award Winner, and Mary Gronnert, Foundation Manager, Schneider, Corporate Benefactor Award.

(l-r) Shawn Kiser, Major Gifts Officer, Jody Weyers, Director of Volunteers, Jim Rivett, Clara Barton Award Winner, and Mary Gronnert, Foundation Manager, Schneider, Corporate Benefactor Award.

James Rivett, of Green Bay, President of Arketype, Clara Barton Award, the highest award of the night, presented to an individual who exemplifies the qualities of American Red Cross pioneer Clara Barton.

Congratulations to all the award recipients and thank you to everyone for your time, blood and support of the American Red Cross.

Click HERE to see pictures of all the award recipients.

My First Large Scale Disaster

By Jenny Berry, American Red Cross Disaster Services Intern

(left-right) Brenda Haney, Denis Davenport, Nick Cluppert and ME!

Can you believe it is only my second day interning with the American Red Cross and I have already been on a local disaster response call and now traveled to Platteville to be a part of a larger scale disaster operation. It all seems so surreal. I did not expect to gain this much experience in so little time.

On Thursday, I went with Nick Cluppert, Disaster Program Manager, and Maxine Klumb, disaster volunteer, to Platteville to observe the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that the Red Cross was opening with the help of community partners. We wanted to gain information on the MARC because the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter is looking to invite our local partners to information sessions come fall to educate the different partners on what a MARC is before a disaster strikes and we need to set one up. By doing this we will be able to provide information to community partners in the area and are able to demonstrate how they are a great resource for a community following a disaster.

When we first arrived we went to where the MARC was being held at Platteville’s High School. We were warmly welcomed by the American Red Cross Badger Chapter. Funny thing was that the first person I saw was a good family friend, Brenda Haney. Wow, it is small of a world! The Red Cross staff and Red Cross volunteers immediately filled us in the information we needed and much more about the MARC. I thought it was great with how much input we received. I think it will be very helpful when we create and setup a MARC come fall.  I also think that a MARC is a wonderful idea to have in times of a disaster because it makes it easier and more convenient for those who are suffering.

Some of the damage I saw as we toured the area.

Some of the damage I saw as we toured the area.

Volunteers, Brenda Haney and Diana O’Neill, invited us to go see the affected area. It was not until we reached the affected area when I realized how badly the area was hit. I understand that this was not a “major” disaster, but to me this was devastating. I still have crystal clear images of the damage that was caused to the homes of the community and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. It is unbelievable how incredibly strong and destructive a natural disaster could be. When we arrived at the center of the scene I was in shock. Since I had never experienced or seen something even close to this, it took me a moment to take it all in. Nick, Maxine, Brenda, and Diane jumped right out of the Red Cross van without hesitation and went into action, going door to door of those affected. I then snapped out of it and jumped right out there with the others and started to help in our own little way by distributing information about the services provided by the MARC to those in the community that were affected by the disaster.

After that initial shock, it all started to come natural to me. In my opinion being able to lend a hand to even a few people is something that I have always aspired to do and to be. I now know that after even a few short days with interning with Red Cross so far, that I am meant to be helping others in any way that I can. It is beautiful to have been an observer of how the volunteers and staff of the Red Cross will travel and do anything possible to bring some light back into the lives and communities that are affected by emergencies and natural disasters. For someone who has had their eyes witness events that they have never seen before (house fire and community affected by tornado), I cannot say enough that the services provided by Red Cross is one of grave need in times of emergencies and natural disasters. Without a doubt in my mind, the Red Cross staff, volunteers, and community partners truly fulfill their mission and values which were one of the many things that drew me to the Red Cross.

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