Thank you: The Stephenson National Bank & Trust

Since 2006 The Stephenson National Bank & Trust has been supporting the American Red Cross with donations.  The Red Cross is one organization of dozens that the bank supports every year.  They take very good care of their local charities.

They even have a small get-together to make the presentations of the checks, complete with hot apple cider, cheese, crackers and of course, cookies!

Stephenson 2

Dan Peterson (pictured above with Betsy Wandtke, Major Gifts Officer, American Red Cross) is the Executive Vice President.  Jeff Myster and Laura Rowe are also important team members. There were approximately thirty people in attendance including board members, staff and other non-profit organizations.  The bank’s staff are fabulous people and the recipients were grateful for their support.  We are very lucky to be included in their inner circle!

Busy Year for American Red Cross; 113 Large Relief Operations in 42 States

The American Red Cross spent much of 2012 helping people all across the country whose lives were impacted by disasters. Relief efforts were launched in response to 113 large scale disasters in 42 states and territories between January 1 and December 1.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and the spring Derecho were some of the emergencies affecting communities all across the country. From Alaska to Florida, from the East Coast to the West, few regions were spared.

“Hurricane Sandy dominated the news coverage, but it wasn’t the only disaster that disrupted lives in 2012,” said Steve Hansen, Chief Operating Officer. “The number of lives affected by large disasters in the past year is simply staggering. The Red Cross responded to devastating hurricanes, flooding and wildfires that wiped out entire neighborhoods, offering people shelter, food and comfort.”

In the United States, the Red Cross opened 907 shelters and provided more than 109,000 overnight stays to help people forced from their homes by disasters. In total, more than 29,000 trained disaster workers served 9.9 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 6.8 million relief items. Health and mental health workers provided more than 141,000 consultations to help people on the road to recovery.

The Red Cross also responded to tragic events that impacted people’s lives in the last year, most recently the shooting at Sandy HookElementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as the mass shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in July and at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August. In all three responses, the Red Cross provided emotional and mental health support, as well as food and drinks for first responders.

Hurricanes Impacted Many Lives

In June, Tropical Storm Debby marked the start of hurricane season by causing widespread flooding across much of Florida. Then in late August, Hurricane Isaac came ashore bringing with it strong winds and drenching rain that impacted Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In response to Isaac, the Red Cross mobilized thousands of disaster workers to help people by opening 157 shelters, providing thousands of overnight stays. Volunteers served hundreds of thousands of meals, distributed more than 140,000 relief items and provided thousands of health and mental health contacts.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the Atlantic seaboard in late October, leaving massive devastation in its wake. In all, eleven states and Puerto Rico felt the impact with New York and New Jersey seeing the most devastation. The large Red Cross relief effort continues today, weeks after the storm’s landfall. As of December 1,  more than 15,300 trained disaster workers mobilized to provide help. The Red Cross has handed out millions of relief items and meals, provided tens of thousands of health and emotional support contacts to people whose lives have been turned upside down.  The Red Cross will be on the ground supporting recovery efforts for some time.

Spring Tornadoes and Floods

In early March, as many as 95 confirmed tornadoes touched down, destroying communities across the Midwest and Southeast. Tornadoes slammed through the Dallas-Fort Worth area in early April and in mid-April, dozens of tornadoes ripped across the Midwest for a second time.

In all, severe spring weather affected communities in 16 states, including Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas. The Red Cross launched responses to provide safe shelter, warm meals and relief supplies to people forced from their homes. Disaster workers served nearly a quarter of a million meals and snacks and handed out more than 112,000 relief items like cleaning supplies and comfort kits.

June Derecho

A string of storms with winds up to 90 miles per hour slammed across Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio and the District of Columbia in June, bringing with them hundreds of reports of impact from severe weather. Millions were without power in areas while  high temperatures broke records. The Red Cross provided thousands of overnight stays in more than 70 shelters, served more than 246,000 meals and snacks, and distributed about 128,000 relief items.

Summer Wildfires

Dry conditions fueled devastating wildfires across the western part of the country, forcing evacuations and destroying homes. In response, the Red Cross launched wildfire relief operations in nine states including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and California. The Red Cross provided nearly 4,000 overnight stays in shelters, served more than 159,000 meals and snacks, and handed out tens of thousands of relief items to people in need.

International Response

The American Red Cross helped almost three million people around the world in 2012, responding to 13 disasters in more than 20 countries. These included floods in Bolivia, Peru, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Panama. Assistance was also sent to Senegal, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, Mali and Malawi to help people affected by food shortages, as well as a drought in Paraguay. Red Cross workers are also responding to help people affected by civil unrest in Syria and a cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone. The American Red Cross responded in Jamaica and Haiti after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in those countries.

Thank You

The Red Cross thanks everyone who has supported disaster relief operations this year. Every nine minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster in communities across the country. Whether the disaster is a hurricane or a fire in someone’s home, the Red Cross is there.

The Red Cross also provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world; collects and distributes more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains more than 9 million people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills every year.

If someone would like to support the Red Cross mission and help those in need, they can visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC20013.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

It is not too late to Give a Gift that Keeps Giving!

Anna Reid, a 15-year-old babysitter from Westfield, NJ wasn’t expecting to be a hero. It just happened. Anna was serving up French bread pizza to Matthew and Leia on a recent babysitting job when the unimaginable happened: Leia started choking.

The 4-year-old’s face turned bright red. Leia tried to cough and speak but couldn’t.

Anna acted quickly, giving Leia five back blows followed by some abdominal thrusts. It worked. Anna saved Leia’s life.

Anna’s mom explained that when she asked Anna how she knew what to do, Anna replied, “I’m not sure I could have told you what to do, but I knew what to do. I knew what to do when I needed to do it.” Anna said because her Red Cross training had her perform CPR in the class, rather than just show it, she immediately remembered how to respond in the moment.

“I have to say that’s really a great testimony to the kind of training that the American Red Cross offers…,” said Anna’s mom.

Leia’s lucky she had a prepared babysitter like Anna. If you were in a situation where someone was choking, would you know what to do? Take our one-minute quiz and find out!

If you want to become a certified babysitter, sign up for a Red Cross class!

Designed for 11 to 15 year olds, the Babysitter’s Training course can help your youngster—

  • Care for children and infants.
  • Be a good leader and role model.
  • Make good decisions and solve problems.
  • Handle emergencies such as injuries, illnesses and household accidents.
  • Write resumes and interview for jobs.
  • And much more!

Throughout the Eastern WI area Babysitter Trainings are being offered on the following dates:

Babysitter Training Courses – $85

Friday, December 28th 8:30 am – 4 pm

American Red Cross Oshkosh Office

Saturday, January 12th 8:30 am – 4 pm

American Red Cross Green Bay office

Saturday, January 12th 8:30 am – 4 pm

American Red Cross Scenic Shores Chapter, Manitowoc

Saturday, January 19th 8:30 am – 4 pm

American Red Cross Outagamie Chapter

Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to register today.

Seven Days of Giving: Volunteers bring hope to Sandy survivors

Written by Paul Srubas Press-Gazette Media

From left, Jan Traversa, Joe Gerrits, Bonny Chapman, Rudy Senarighi and Gayle Hein stand as five members of a group of 19 volunteers from the local community who traveled to the east coast to help during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. / Matt Robinson/Press-Gazette Correspondent

Charity begins at home, but it doesn’t have to stay there.

That’s the mindset of 19 volunteers with the Red Cross of Northeastern Wisconsin, all of whom recently pitched in to provide disaster relief in New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. They each spent about two weeks there, sleeping on cots in a gymnasium full of strangers, working 16 hours a day or more packing and trucking goods to people in areas of heavy devastation, going door to door to provide relief where needed.

For their volunteer efforts, they are being featured in the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s series, “Seven Days of Giving,” which identifies some of the local heroes of charitable efforts.

“There’s nothing like someone giving you a hug and saying ‘thank you,’” said one of them, Jan Traversa, 59, of Pulaski. “I’m so grateful I was able to go. I wish I didn’t have to work so I could do it full time.”

Like most other Red Cross volunteers — and there are 41 of them throughout Northeastern Wisconsin — Traversa and the other 18 do local disaster relief work. They can often be seen at the scene of fires, for example, where they do everything from providing temporary shelter for fire victims to handing out coffee to the tired firefighters.

The people

Red Cross volunteers recently returning from providing Hurricane Sandy relief: Joe Gerrits and Mary Roellchen, De Pere; Jan Traversa, Pulaski; Bonny Chapman, Dean Ekberg, Deb Harrington, Gayle Hein and Denise Mooren, Green Bay; Phil Everhart, Marinette; Ron Maloney, Rudy Senarighi, Judy Dobbins and Diane (Dee) Knutson, Sturgeon Bay; Donna LaPlante, Little Suamico; Mary Beth (Betsy) LeClair and Joel O’Connell, Two Rivers; Keith and Yvonne Stukenberg, Luxemburg; Lori Delain, Casco.

But these 19 also were willing to take their show on the road. In this case, that meant the Eastern Seaboard in the wake of some of the worst storm damage the nation has seen.

“A lot of the people who did this and Katrina felt this was worse because it’s a much more populated area,” said Jody Weyers, volunteer coordinator for the Red Cross of Northeastern Wisconsin.

Joe Gerrits, one of 19 local volunteers who helped out after Hurricane Sandy, celebrates with a group of friends at Legends in De Pere earlier this month. / Matt Robinson/Press-Gazette Correspondent

“You drive down the road, and all you see are piles of debris out on the street,” said Joe Gerrits, 46, a volunteer from De Pere. “Everything is junk — appliances, furniture. People are tearing out their dry wall. It’s because of the mold.”

Gerrits saw a lot of the devastation while he was out there, but he spent most of his volunteer time working in a warehouse, loading trucks with supplies.

He spent a little bit of his time on “search and serve missions,” in which Red Cross volunteers simply drive around looking for people who need assistance.

“We brought them drinks, Meals Ready to Eat, cleaning supplies,” he said. “People wanted coffee terribly. There was no power, and it was cold and damp.”

To get the time off from his office job here, Gerrits used up vacation time and also went without pay for the two-week period.

Traversa joined the Red Cross 11 years ago specifically because she wanted to help at the scene of the World Trade Center devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, the first of six national deployments she has participated in. That has included two hurricanes, two floods, tornado damage and the terrorist attack.

In the hurricane disasters, “I drove a 26-foot truck for bulk distribution,” Traversa said. “It’s awesome, because you’re driving around with a truck filled with supplies like tarps, bug spray, heater meals, comfort kits, cleanup kits.

“You just drive around doing search-and-serve, just looking for people … I like being with the client.”

Judy Dobbins, 60, of Sturgeon Bay is a newcomer to Red Cross volunteering and went on her first ever national deployment for the hurricane relief.

“It makes you think, because none of these folks thought this could happen to them, and here they ended up jumping out of second-story windows and getting into boats to escape,” Dobbins said.

She spent her entire time working in an evacuation shelter, serving as a shelter supervisor.

“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “There were almost 500 people in the shelter, such a diverse group, from older adults to heroin users taking methadone treatments and everything in between.”

The shelter, actually an arena attached to a high school, had to accommodate patients evacuated from a hospital and who were on oxygen and intravenous feeding tubes. It had a group of developmentally disabled adults evacuated from a group home. It had a collection of registered sex offenders who came in from various locations around the community but who were kept together and segregated from the rest of the shelter residents during the nights.

“We had everything from residents with total destruction of their homes and cars to those just not having power and not being able to stay in their homes,” Dobbins said. “It kind of ran the gamut.

“At one point we had a bus driver stop and tell us he had three busloads of seniors who had to evacuate their high-rise. They were in wheelchairs, had canes and walkers. They were scared to death. We had to accommodate, on the spur of the moment, large groups of very needy, very frightened individuals.”

As hard as it was, the volunteers agreed that the hardest part was leaving.

“It’s heart-breaking, because even though you’re working 16 hours a day, you know there are so many more in need,” Traversa said.

“I felt guilty, because there was so much left undone,” Dobbins said. “You get so close to the families and then just leave not knowing what’s going to be next for them. I still wake up and think, or I have a certain resident in mind, or a family, and wonder how they’re doing.”

— psrubas@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter@PGpaulsrubas

American Red Cross Offers Safety Tips for the Holidays

presentWhile people throughout Wisconsin and Michigan are finalizing plans for holiday events and travel, the Red Cross has tips to help prevent accidents and emergencies.

“Following a few simple tips can help make the holiday season safe and enjoyable,” said Steve Hansen, Chapter Executive.

Holiday Decorations and Parties

  • Place Christmas trees at least three feet away from any heat sources and exits. Water the tree daily.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets and unplug holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Keep candles away from combustible materials and in a place where children and pets can’t get to them.
  • Pick a designated driver when attending a party and provide non-alcoholic beverage options if hosting a party.
  • Keep children and pets away from the stove; turn pot handles in; and turn off burners if leaving the kitchen.

Holiday Travel

  • Make sure vehicles are in good working order before holiday trips. This includes checking tire air pressure and windshield fluid, and cleaning lights and windows.
  • Equip vehicles with an emergency preparedness kit with water, snacks, flashlight, first aid kit and blankets.
  • Check weather and road conditions before traveling.
  • Share travel plans including intended route and estimated arrival time with someone.

No matter where people are spending the holidays, downloading the American Red Cross First Aid App allows users to have information on what to do in emergencies when and where they need it. A variety of mobile apps are available at redcross.org/mobileapps.

“Taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course is a great New Year’s resolution,” Hansen said. Information about courses and how to register is at redcross.org/takeaclass.

Thank you Cho’s in Fond du Lac for your Support!

On Saturday, December 15th , Cho’s Black Belt Academy’s students held a Tae Kwon Do demonstration and raised over $2000 in pledges to benefit the American Red Cross.  Shown are Master Paul Benish of Cho’s Black Belt Academy presenting the check to Lisa Stanchfield, American Red Cross. 

 

Cho's Check presentation (3)

How the Red Cross Is Using Donations to Help Sandy Victims

Author: Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross published in The Daily Beast

The American Red Cross has received widespread support after Superstorm Sandy, and along with those contributions have come questions—including in stories that have run on The Daily Beast—about how those donations are being put to use, and what we’re going to do with the remaining funds. These are legitimate questions, and the Red Cross is committed to transparency and welcomes this opportunity to answer them.

RED CROSS

People receive free food from the American Red Cross in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

In my more than four-and-a-half years at the Red Cross, I’ve been no stranger to disasters, whether tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes. But what struck me was the massiveness of Sandy’s fury, the miles and miles of devastation that just seemed endless.

The destruction wrought by Sandy also had a personal element for me: I grew up and spent most of my life in the New York/New Jersey area, and my heart goes out to all those affected by the storm. While I have been to the impacted areas several times since Sandy hit, I will never get used to looking into the eyes of someone who lost everything. At the same time, I am also struck by the determination of these individuals to start over, rebuild, and power through their loss.

 

So how exactly are we helping them? While the American Red Cross is a grassroots network of local chapters and volunteers, the sheer size of Sandy required us to bring people and resources from all over the country to help our chapters in New York and New Jersey. Over the past seven weeks, we have mobilized more than 15,800 trained workers, 90 percent of whom are volunteers. We have also worked closely with other nonprofit and government partners, because a disaster this size is too big for any one organization to handle.

This is the biggest U.S. response we have mounted in over five years. Even before Sandy hit, we opened shelters across multiple states, and we have been providing help every day since. So far, we have:

• Served more than 8.9 million meals and snacks.

• Handed out more than 6.7 million relief items such as cold-weather items and clean-up supplies.

• Provided more than 103,000 health services and emotional-support contacts for people living in very tough conditions.

• Supplied more than 81,000 shelter stays, more than half of the total number of Sandy shelter stays (158,000) provided by a range of groups.

And we still have much more work to do.

Of the $202 million in donations and pledges we have received to date, we believe that approximately $110 million of that will be spent on our emergency-relief operations by the end of December. Remaining Sandy-related donations will be used by the Red Cross to meet longer-term needs—what we call “recovery”—of people affected by this disaster.

Our initial recovery efforts are expected to cost at least $60 million; any remaining funds will be allocated to additional long-term efforts. We have developed a recovery plan by working closely with other nonprofits and government agencies—including FEMA—to coordinate efforts and identify unmet needs.

While I have been to the impacted areas several times since Sandy hit, I will never get used to looking into the eyes of someone who lost everything.

Our federal government partners have requested that we focus our assistance first on three groups of people who have already been identified as needing aid:

• People in New York and New Jersey whose homes were destroyed and are in need of either repair assistance or longer-term rental housing;

• People whose homes were destroyed in states which did not receive federal disaster money;

• People with demonstrated needs that exceed what can be met by insurance, FEMA, and state resources.

This means that part of our efforts over the next several months will involve one-on-one work helping those who have trouble finding assistance on their own. These are the types of activities a survivor doesn’t want to go through alone, and we can provide the expertise, as well as a shoulder to lean on during the process. That includes helping people fill out insurance paperwork, identify child-care resources, find new housing, and connect with social services in their communities.

In addition, we also will be supporting projects and programs of other nonprofit groups in the New York and New Jersey area, such as working with several local food banks to help Sandy survivors have access to food during the new year.

It is the generous support of so many people and businesses across the country have enabled us to bring help and hope to tens of thousands of people impacted by Sandy. We are committed to being good stewards of these contributions entrusted to us—and we will be there for the survivors of this devastating storm as they fight for their future

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