Edison Middle School Students raise more than $3,000 to Aid Victims of Hurricane Sandy

When students at Edison Middle School heard about the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, they immediately sprang into action. After setting a goal to raise $3,000, teachers and students worked together to raise more than $3,760 to help victims of the storm.

Spike, the Barber, shaving 6th grade teacher Justin Miller hair. .

Spike, the Barber, shaving 6th grade teacher Justin Miller hair. .

As an incentive to meet their goal, Principal Jo Wiebel and 6th grade teacher Justin Miller promised to shave their heads. On Friday, November 30 at 12:30 p.m. in Edison’s cafeteria, Mr. Miller lost his locks, and the students presented a check to Shawn Kiser, of the American Red Cross.

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Heroes Gift

Thank you to First National Bank  for your $2,000 HEROES gift to support local Disaster Relief and Service to the Armed Forces. We are so thankful for your continued support of the American Red Cross.

First National Bank Waupaca HEROES 001

In Picture: (l-r) Vicki Jenks,  American Red Cross Board Member and Disaster Volunteer, Kristine Smith, First National Bank, and Betsy Wandtke, American Red Cross Major Gifts Officer.

One-month mark of Superstorm Sandy

NBC26 Cares: Holiday Mail for Heroes

By Stacy Engebretson NBC26

Click HERE for video of story.

Lt. Colonel Michael Hert answers questions at Holy Spirit School before making cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

Thousands of military members will spend the holidays this year far away from the ones they love.

To lift their spirits, students in Darboy are teaming-up with the American Red Cross to send our soldiers a little piece of home.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hert is back from the war in Afghanistan, but he still has one more mission to complete.

“To be able to come back to them and say to those children, ‘thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,'” explained Hert.

Hert spent last Christmas overseas with Ashwaubenon’s 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion.

“It’s hard because the bottom line is that you’re away from home,” he said.

The soldiers may be gone, but they are not forgotten. Students at Holy Spirit School in Darboy are making cards for the American Red Cross’ “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program.

Fourth grader Mary Loker described the card she created. “We wrote, ‘Thank you for your years of service in your battles. We are thinking of you.'”

“I feel like they’ll like it because being out there is kind of scary, and if they just get a card, it’s all that matters,” said fourth grader Joseph Hopwood.

Second grade teacher Sue Calmes is one of the organizers of this year’s card making effort at Holy Spirit School. She believes it’s a good lesson for her students.

“I think that the kids of today need to know and appreciate what other people are doing for them and the freedoms that we have,” explained Calmes.

The Red Cross’ goal is to collect 20,000 holiday cards in Northeast Wisconsin. Half of those cards will be delivered to veterans who live in the area.

“We go to shopping malls. We were at the Green Bay Packers’ blood drive just last week, so it’s a collective effort by the entire community to be able to send such a positive message during the holidays,” said Steve Hansen, Chapter Executive for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin.

Lieutenant Colonel Hert will be forever grateful for the card he received while deployed. Last week, he got the opportunity to visit Holy Spirit School. He thanked the students for their words of encouragement and for creating the cards again this year, so the soldiers know that someone back home is grateful for their sacrifice this holiday season.

“It means a great deal to me, because I know that somebody will be able to have the same experience that I had last year,” said Hert.

If you’d like to send a message of support, you can pick-up a free card at your local Red Cross office. They’ll even cover the cost to mail it, but cards must be postmarked by December 7th to be delivered in time for the holidays.

My Travel to New York for Hurricane Sandy

By Gayle Hein, American Red Cross Disaster Volunteer 

(l-r) Carla from Madison, Charlie from Stevens Point and Gayle Hein from Green Bay with the Madison Emergency Response Vehicle on their way to Rockaway Beach portion of Long Island.

I have been involved in Red Cross disaster services for the past seven years.  I joined Red Cross shortly after seeing the suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina.  Mostly my volunteering has involved fires in the community that displace people from their homes but this time I was deployed to the east coast due to Hurricane Sandy.   Red Cross volunteers are trained in various specialties and my specialty is sheltering so that’s what I was sent to do.

On Nov 1st, 2012 I left Green Bay and flew to White Plains NY, one of several Red Cross headquarters.   I was sent to open a shelter but before that happened I was sent to Staten Island to help hand out food, clothing and water.   Another day I was sent to check out a shelter that was being run by the community to see if they needed anything.   After those first couple of days I went to Old Westbury College in the Brookville area of Long Island to open a shelter for Red Cross volunteers.   I had a team of five people from all over the U.S.  That first night we only had a few people show up at the shelter.  But the next day we needed to set up 350 cots, get supplies to run the shelter and meet with the college representatives.  We went there in the dark and had no electricity except for a generator.  I supervised the shelter and as the days went by we had another team come in and they helped run it.

Noreastern Storm that hit the East Coast.

After about a week, two ladies and I decided we didn’t need so many people there to run the shelter so we transferred out of sheltering and then went to work in an Emergency Response Vehicle or ERV.  An ERV is a truck that we use to serve food to people in need.  The American Red Cross has 320 ERVs and all were sent to the east coast.  There were four kitchens operated by the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization preparing food for delivery.  I was in kitchen number 2 for my head quarters, which was in a parking lot at the Aquaduct Racetrack on Long Island. We would go there every morning, struggling with the traffic and some days it took an hour to get there.  Once we got there we had a meeting to plan the day’s activities.  I needed to find a truck that had two people and needed one more. It seems that three workers per truck were better than only two.  So I ran into these two people, Carla from Madison and Charlie from Stevens Point.  None of us knew each other before we teamed up.  We were assigned to the ERV from Madison. The area we were assigned was the Rockaway Beach portion of Long Island.  It was an area that was along the beach and saw a lot of storm damage.  Sand was everywhere, washed in town from the beach. We saw cement posts with no board walk left and piles of lumber, car smashed, and boats in the middle of the roads.  It looked like a war zone.  Many areas still didn’t have electricity or heat days after the storm.  Then there were others problem like sewer backups and a senior complex with no elevators, leaving people struck in their apartments.   We were sent to the same area every day and it was very sad to see the destruction.

Southern Baptist Disaster Kitchen #2 in New York City

On Thursday of my second week I was processing out and my team came back and said that the people that we were serving asked where I was. So they really did take notice of who was there to help them out and wondered if someone would take our places when we returned home.  On the way out my flight delayed at Austin Straubel Airport because President Obama was there and no planes could leave.  My return was no better.  I flew from New York to Minneapolis but was delayed there six hours due to mechanical difficulties.  Needless to say, I was glad when I finally got home but thankful to have been able to help the folks in New York.

American Wants to Give Meaningful Gifts….

New Wildfire App Brings American Red Cross Safety Information to Mobile Devices

On the heels of a major drought and busy wildfire season, the American Red Cross has released its official Wildfire App. The app puts lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in or who visit wildfire prone areas.

This free app—available in English or Spanish—is the fourth in a series created by the American Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness, for use on both iPhone and Android platforms. The Wildfire App comes after the highly successful First Aid, Hurricane and Earthquake Apps, which have more than 1.2 million users.

The Wildfire App includes the “Blaze Tracker” trio of features-which can be customized for alerts specific to locations where they live, travel or have loved ones:

  • “Blaze Warnings” which let users see areas where NOAA has issued warnings that conditions are favorable for potential wildfires;
  • “Blaze Alerts” inform users when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any locations monitored; and
  • “Blaze Path” from Inciweb.org which provides users with a current view of an existing wildfire’s perimeter, how it has spread and the fire’s current location when available.

Additional features include:

  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

The Wildfire App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can go to redcross.org/takeaclass to find a course near them.

This year, the Red Cross has launched 11 wildfire relief operations spanning 10 states. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, as of October 4, wildfires have burned 8.8 million acres in the United States this year.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these apps for free. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

CAKE-FOR-A-CAUSE – Play for the Red Cross!

To celebrate 13 years of creativity, collaboration and success, BrownBoots Interactive is combing our passion for innovation and our support for the community by holding a charity contest from November 16-November 28, 2012

BrownBoots has developed an online, browser-based game called Cake-for-a-Cause., where people play for points to support one of the seven local causes selected by our very own BrownBoots team members.  At the end of the 13 day challenge, the cause with the most points tallied will be awareded $1,300!

Welcome to the game where you consume virtual calories to support one of seven local charities.

Click to play:   www.brownboots.com/13

To all who gave, from all who received. Thank you.

Sara Bruesewitz, A Lifetime of Red Cross Service

So proud of our Sara for sharing her story and we are lucky to have her on our Red Cross Team!!!

President/CEO, Gail McGovern came to visit the headquarters in Northern New Jersey where Sara was deployed to.

Volunteers constitute about 95 percent of the American Red Cross workforce and are an essential part of our humanitarian aid and services. Many choose to volunteer with the Red Cross, but we believe that there are a few individuals who were born with the Red Cross in their blood.This proves to be true with our very own Sara Bruesewitz, Public Support Coordinator with the Southeastern Wisconsin Region. Sara’s history with the Red Cross doesn’t begin with her, it actually started over 20 years ago with her mother, Barbara Bruesewitz. Barbara worked in Community Preparedness & Resilience Services in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Chapter, the same chapter that Sara would call home decades later.  Barbara left the Red Cross several years later in order to take care of her two children, Sara, and her older brother Bryan.

Growing up Sara had her first experience with the Red Cross at four years old, when her parents enrolled her in preschool aquatics and learn-to-swim programs at the Greenfield High School swimming pool.  Aquatics programs that were provided by Red Cross certified instructors and lifeguards.

As a young teen, Sara took a Babysitter’s Training course from her local Chapter, a program that helps prepare youth to make good decisions under pressure, respond to cardiac and choking emergencies, and manage children. In no time at all Sara was known in her neighborhood as the best babysitter on the block.

Problems arose for Sara at 13 years old, when she began to experience severe and chronic back pains, and after several doctor visits and physical therapy, the diagnosis was spondylolthesis, a rare genetic disorder that prevents the development of vertebrae in the spine.

Fortunately, Sara was able to undergo a spinal fusion operation to correct the issue, however during surgery Sara lost more blood than expected and was in need of several blood transfusions. The blood that Sara received was none other than blood collected by the American Red Cross, which collects approximately 40% of the Nation’s blood supply. After a grueling three-month recovery, and countless physical therapy sessions, Sara made a full recovery.

After graduating high school, Sara attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where she continued to show her support and joined the Red Cross club on campus where she was active in holding community awareness events and blood drives. In her senior year she was offered an internship at the Lakeland Chapter in Green Bay, assisting in development, special events, and communication. Upon completion of her degree in May 2012, Sara was offered a full-time position within the Southeastern Wisconsin Region.

When Superstorm Sandy affected the east coast in late October, Sara embarked on her first national deployment and is currently dedicating her time as a public affairs service associate at the New Jersey Disaster Relief Operations Headquarters in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Sara’s ties to the Red Cross began long before she was even born, and her compassion and dedication literally runs through her. She is as much a part of the Red Cross as the organization is a part of hers. On behalf of the American Red Cross, we owe a lifetime of gratitude to Sara Bruesewitz.

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