Fond du Lac Fire Department ‘Tames Flames’ for Red Cross

Local Disaster Relief Partnership Announced

Last year the Brat fry raised $4,006.38 for local disaster relief!

Last year the Brat fry raised $4,006.38 for local disaster relief!

Once again this year, the Fond du Lac Fire Department will be “taming the flames” of the barbecue grill to help the American Red Cross help our community.

When: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where: Main Street Fire Station (815 S. Main St.)

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The Red Cross and the Fire Department are partners on several community initiatives from emergency education to disaster relief and recovery. Emergency responders have requested Red Cross assistance at 24 fires the past year alone! This is the largest number in recent years; a few years ago, it was only seven requests for help. With two recent larger apartment fires, the number of people being assisted is at an all-time high!

“The Red Cross is a tremendous asset to our entire community so we want this event to be our biggest and best yet,” stated Fire Chief Peter O’Leary.

To help the cause, you can pre-order brats and burgers by calling the Main Street Fire Station’s non-emergency number at 920-322-3800 by 9:00 a.m. on April 22.

Delivery is available for orders over 20 items. You can also place an order in-person between 10:00 a.m. – 2:00p.m. at the Main Street Fire Station and enjoy our cuisine at the picnic tables.

Get to Know: Paul Fruit, Regional Logistics Specialist

Kayleigh Kaminski and Kaylee Kuhn are seen handing over the greeting cards to Nick Cluppert (left) and Paul Fruit, from the Red Cross

Kayleigh Kaminski and Kaylee Kuhn are seen handing over the greeting cards to Nick Cluppert (left) and Paul Fruit, from the Red Cross

Hello everyone!  My name is Paul Fruit and I’m the Regional Logistics Specialist for the American Red Cross.  I’m excited to be able to share a little bit regarding my continuing career evolution within this remarkable organization and how I ended up in my current position, as it has been one amazing journey.

I grew up in a little town outside of Madison, and graduated from UW-Madison in 2009 with a degree in Economics.  Having absolutely no real idea as to where I wanted to begin my career, and willing to explore a wide range of options, I was particularly intrigued by an AmeriCorps service listing with the Red Cross in Oshkosh to help provide service and support to military members, their families, and the VA facilities that support them.  Knowing very little information about the Red Cross, I dove in headfirst and was quickly exposed to both the wide array of humanitarian services this organization provides, as well as the incredible volunteers that support them.  All I can say is that it was love at first sight!

My experiences as an AmeriCorps member were enough for me to know I wanted to stay with the Red Cross in any capacity I could, and when my two years were up, I accepted a position in Appleton working with a local community program and managing the local office.  I continued in this role for two more years before accepting my current position in disaster services, a position I very much enjoy.  I’m responsible for material resources and volunteers that support 28-counties including vehicles, shelter trailers and warehouses.

Each and every day, I wake up knowing that our organization has the most dedicated, intelligent, and caring volunteers on the planet, and I’m lucky enough to be able to work and engage with them on a daily basis as we continue our mission.  The last 4+ years have been the best years of my life, and I look forward to many more!

DINE-OUT TO SUPPORT DISASTER RELIEF

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Restaurants & Patrons Pair Taste-buds and Disaster Relief Together

On March 27th, food establishments across Eastern Wisconsin and the Michigan border communities will work together to support the American Red Cross as participants in the Dine Out for Disaster Relief.  Restaurants, pubs and eateries will donate a portion of sales to benefit local Red Cross disaster relief programs. With the primary fire season being exceptionally active, and working in a budget overage situation, the timing to eat-out and support the Red Cross couldn’t be better.

Share with us your Dine Out Restaurant of choice! #dine4disaster

Share with us your Dine Out Restaurant of choice! #dine4disaster

With each residential fire, we are there 24/7/365 to help the families with immediate needs and help guide them toward longer-term recovery.  In the first eight months of our fiscal year, we are already $56,000 over budget!  We can’t stop responding as families need us.  Therefore, please make it a date-night, office lunch outing, morning breakfast or late night snack to help support local disaster relief.

While the Red Cross responds to big disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes each year, the most frequent threat people face is a fire in their own home. In fact, Disaster Action Team workers respond to an emergency every nine minutes around the United States. Locally, it was 644 disaster responses last year ranging from fires to tornadoes, winter power outages and flooding!  Red Cross responders are a dynamic team that is empowered to deal with crises throughout our communities. When a disaster strikes, we provide a place to sleep, warm meals, emotional support and hope. Through the support of our communities, we help provide basic emergency needs, financial assistance and recovery guidance.

“Restaurants are such valued partners with the American Red Cross. Their generosity is amazing. Not only do they support fundraisers like Dine Out for Disaster Relief, but they also support the Red Cross by donating gift certificates for our event raffles and food and beverages to help feed shelter residents or emergency personnel during larger disasters,” commented Becky Bergin, the Dine Out organizer. “Overall, they are great community supporters”, she concluded.

A handful of restaurants are supporting the American Red Cross with month-long activities in honor of “March is Red Cross Month”. Some have also selected different days and times that fit better with their hours of operation and schedules. A list of each restaurant and their way of supporting this annual philanthropic effort is listed below.

For the fourth year, Dine Out for Disaster Relief is presented by Society Insurance, headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

You can join in on our conversation! Help us by talking about your Dine Out for Disaster Relief activities on your social media sites – Facebook & Twitter! For Twitter, use #Dine4Disaster

Click HERE for a list of participating restaurants:

Where to begin?

By Sara Bruesewitz, Public Support Coordinator

two rivers house fire 2-11-14-2When you wake up the next day following a fire, you experience a flood of emotions. What do we do next? Where will we live? Who is going to help us? It’s really powerful knowing that the Red Cross will be there for you to help you take those next steps. The family in Two Rivers who lost everything to a home fire last night will meet with our trained Casework department to determine what emergency needs they have, what the Red Cross can provide to them, how to work with their insurance company and what other community resources are available to them.

two rivers house fire 2-11-14Midwestern communities are always moved to do something for families when disasters strike – it’s what we do and it’s in our blood – however, it’s not always the best route to take. Right now, the family has their emergency needs met – thanks to our wonderful donors & community partners – so instead of overwhelming them with stuff, consider making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief so families in the future can receive the same services. The best way to help a disaster victim is through a financial donation to the Red Cross. Financial contributions allow the Red Cross to purchase exactly what is needed for the disaster relief operation – no matter if it is big or small and personal. Thank You!

American Red Cross Issues New Pet First Aid App

Pets are an important part of many families, and a new Red Cross Pet First Aid App puts lifesaving information right in the hands of dog and cat owners so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.

The 99 cent Pet First Aid app gives iPhone and Android smart phone users instant access to expert information so they learn how to maintain their pet’s health and what to do during emergencies. Pet owners learn how to recognize health problems and when to contact their veterinarian. The Pet First Aid App provides step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations including how to treat wounds, control bleeding, and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies. Additional topics include burns, car accidents, falls and what to do for cold- and heat-related emergencies.

Other features in the app allow pet owners to:

•Create a pet profile including tag identification number, photos, list of medications and instructions.

•Use the list of early warning signs to learn when to call their veterinarian.

•Use “click-to-call” to contact their veterinarian.

•Find emergency pet care facilities or alternate veterinarians with the “animal hospital locator.”

•Locate pet-friendly hotels.

•Test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and earn badges that they can share on their social networks along with their favorite picture of their pet.

History shows that people have not evacuated during disasters because they did not want to leave their pets behind. The Red Cross app contains resources to help owners include pets in their emergency action plans. Pet owners may also take a Red Cross Pet First Aid course so they can practice the skills and receive feedback. People can go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register. The Red Cross has made great strides in making emergency information available whenever and wherever people need it. The Pet First Aid App and other Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapp.

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Red Cross Promotes Fire Safety with MLK Day Service Project

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With home fires as the biggest disaster threat facing families in Northeast Wisconsin and the Michigan Border communities, the American Red Cross, multiple fire department, State Farm agents, Girl Scouts, and several other groups will be going door-to-door in local neighborhoods on Saturday, January 18th and Monday, January 20th to discuss fire safety with residents and to distribute fire safety information.

This collaborative fire safety outreach is being done in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service  @MLKDay  in which community partners are making our communities safer.  Red Cross teams are meeting at central locations  for the orientation, receive route maps (targeting neighborhoods with the highest numbers of fires) The event will wrap-up around noon. Additional volunteers may contact Lisa.Stanchfield@redcross.org or 920-922-3450 to participate.

Participating cities include and pre-arranged groups include, in addition to Red Cross responders are: Freedom, Green Bay, Hortonville, Montello, New London, Watertown, Waupun & West Bend. Additional locations with special notes include: 

  • Fond du Lac – Fire Department & Girls Scouts
  • Kaukauna – State Farm agent & Fire Department
  • Mayville – 1:00 – 3:00p.m. with the fire department & State Farm
  • Ripon – 9:00a.m. Beckie Pinnow’s Girl Scout Troop tours the Fire Station & canvass
  • Green Bay – Partnering with Green Bay fire and other local businesses distribution on January 20th
  • Waupaca – Partnering with Fresh State program distribution on January 20th

In the past year, our local Red Cross Chapter has provided food, shelter, comfort and hope at 182 separate disasters with the vast majority being residential fires. Although each disaster situation is different, we provided financial assistance to 795 individuals with additional support for emergency basic needs such as food, shelter, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, infant supplies and clothing along with health and emotional support as they begin the recovery process. A few larger disasters of note include the downtown Ripon Fire, several tornadoes & Hilltop Apartment fire in Allouez and 51 people were displaced in the Howard fire. Sadly, fires have been fatal as well.

“Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in home fires by half,” stated Steve Hansen, the local Chapter Executive, “To honor the legacy of service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are working together to educate the community by providing vital information on fire safety and the importance of maintaining working smoke alarms.”

Red Cross staff & volunteers, along with partners from multiple fire departments, Girl Scouts and State Farm agents, to name a few community partners, are going door-to-door to talk with residents about fire safety and hand-out fire safety door hangers in English and Spanish with information on smoke alarms, creating an escape plan and cooking and heating safely at home.

When a home fire or other disaster occurs, the Red Cross provides food, shelter, comfort and hope to meet the immediate needs of those affected. People can support those in the local community affected by home fires by making a donation to the local Red Cross by going to redcross.org/donate or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Those wishing to learn more about home fire safety should visit redcross.org.

2013 Year End: Behind the Numbers: Mobilizing Responses for Big Disasters

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The Red Cross disaster responses across the country in 2013 included:

  • 16,700 workers—many of them volunteers—providing care, comfort and support to those in need.
  • 89,000 contacts by specially trained workers with disaster victims who needed mental health support or health services, which is more people than the amount of travelers who pass through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on an average day.
  • 1.8 million meals and snacks, the equivalent of feeding the entire population of Philadelphia lunch in a day.
  • 29,000 overnight stays in shelters for people forced from their homes by disasters, enough to fill the largest hotel in New York City for more than two weeks.
  • 1 million relief items distributed, including more than 33,700 toothbrushes.
  • $74 million to more than 60 nonprofit partners to help people and communities recover from Superstorm Sandy.

Flooding

In April, flooding struck 10,000 homes in 10 counties in Illinois. More than a thousand Red Cross volunteers provided shelter and food to displaced families and delivered relief supplies to those returning to waterlogged homes. In September, almost a half-year’s worth of rain fell in just three days across several counties in and around Boulder, Colo. Red Crossers responded and served more than 204,000 meals and snacks, handed out more than 249,000 relief items and provided about 15,000 health and mental health contacts. The Red Cross also provided a total of 3,800 shelter stays for people forced from their homes by the flooding.

Tornadoes and Severe Storms

The largest and most deadly tornado outbreak in 2013 came in Oklahoma in May, when a series of tornadoes ripped through the state, and Red Cross workers were there to comfort the survivors, including the community of Moore, Okla., where two elementary schools were struck by a deadly EF-4 tornado. More than six months later, the Red Cross continues to help residents through long-term recovery centers and other community programs.

In addition, Mississippi was hit particularly hard by severe spring storms for the third year in a row, including a tornado that severely damaged the Red Cross building in Hattiesburg in February. Again in April, the Red Cross was there, opening shelters, providing food and water, and helping survivors recover. In November, dozens of tornadoes cut a path of destruction through the Midwest, damaging more than 1,000 homes and leaving hundreds of thousands without power during a cold snap.

Wildfires

When wildfires threatened communities, the Red Cross offered evacuees a safe place to stay and supported first responders. In total, the Red Cross mobilized more than 2,000 workers to support 10 large wildfire responses in eight states during 2013, such as Colorado, Arizona, California and New Mexico.

Home Fires

It’s not just the high-profile disasters that left thousands of people in need this year. The Red Cross also responded to more than 52,000 home fires across America, helping 226,000 people get back on their feet. For those who have suffered a home fire, the event can be just as devastating as the high profile disasters that get a large amount of national attention. Regardless of the size of the event, the Red Cross responds in the same way—with shelter, food and emotional support.

International Disasters

In 2013, the American Red Cross assisted an estimated 1.3 million people affected by disasters in 24 countries outside of the U.S. These included storms and floods in the Philippines, Argentina, Bangladesh and Nigeria. Red Cross workers continue to respond to the ongoing humanitarian need created by the civil unrest in Syria, as well as needs caused by conflicts in other areas around the world. The Red Cross responded to food insecurity issues in Malawi and Zimbabwe and continued our earthquake recovery work in Haiti that has been ongoing since 2010. Additionally, the Red Cross continued its vital work in reconnecting families separated by conflict and disaster, reconnecting 886 families this year alone.

For more on this year’s disasters, view the end-of-year infographic and video.

The work of the American Red Cross is made possible by donations. Donations can be made by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be sent by mail to a local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross via P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About our Holiday Partners:

During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for the support of our corporate partners that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include: Circle K and its customers in the West and Florida divisions, Community Safety Foundation, funded by CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, Mazda and its Dealers nationwide and University of Phoenix. Thanks to the generosity of these and other sponsors, the Red Cross is able to carry out its mission of helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies everyday here and around the world. Each holiday season the Red Cross gives everyone the chance to support our work by giving blood, signing a card for military heroes or buying a gift through our holiday catalog. To support the Red Cross this Holiday Season, visit redcross.org/holiday.

 

Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later

The American Red Cross has released a one-year Superstorm Sandy report detailing its response and recovery work to help residents affected by this historic storm, which made landfall on October 29, 2012.

“Donations to the Red Cross have helped countless families start over in a new place to live, clean out the mold from their water-logged homes, or get much-needed financial and emotional support to rebuild their homes and lives,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. “The needs are still great, and there is more work to do. We are committed to continue working with the communities that were impacted by this devastating storm to provide services and support.”

INSIDE THE REPORT The One-Year Superstorm Sandy Report details the extraordinary measures taken by the Red Cross to respond to Sandy, from volunteer deployment and relief efforts to temporary and permanent housing assistance to key partnerships with government and non-government entities, as well as the strong outpouring of support from donors..

The Red Cross met Sandy’s significant damage with its largest U.S. response in five years. More than 17,000 trained workers from all over the country – 90 percent of them volunteers, powered the massive emergency relief effort. This response included:

  • Serving more than 17.5 million meals and snacks in a huge feeding operation.
  • Handing out more than 7 million relief items such as cold weather items and clean-up supplies.
  • Providing nearly 113,000 health services and emotional support contacts for people who have been living in very tough conditions.
  • Providing 74,000 overall shelter stays for Sandy.

RECOVERY EFFORTS ONGOING Even as its emergency relief work was occurring, the Red Cross began to help people in the long recovery process that continues today. Trained Red Cross workers are meeting with those in need, providing case management and financial assistance to help with security and utility deposits, home repairs and rent as well as linking them to available social service programs.

The response and recovery from a storm of this size takes time and help from many organizations. Over the past year, the Red Cross has worked together with government and community partners at every step to provide assistance to those that need it most. In addition, the Red Cross has given $60 million in grants to a number of nonprofits working in New Jersey and New York to help people with home repairs, mold remediation, food, financial assistance and financial counseling, and to support the work of community roundtables to help address unmet needs.

THANK YOU The work of the Red Cross is possible because of the compassion and generosity of the American public, and the Red Cross already has spent or made commitments to spend $280 million, more than 90 percent of the $308 million donated for Sandy. The Red Cross expects to use the biggest share of the remaining money to help people with a range of housing-related expenses, support community resiliency programs and give more grants to community non-profit partners to help Sandy survivors.

“We are grateful for the generosity of donors across the nation who continually make it possible for the Red Cross to respond to once-in-a-generation disasters like Sandy, as well as the 70,000 disasters we confront each year,” McGovern said.

The report and other information on the Red Cross Sandy relief and recovery efforts can be found at www.redcross.org/sandy-response.

Colorado Floods – Telling our Story: Part 1

By Jody Weyers, Volunteer and Communications Director

How do I even start to share about this amazing journey I have been on for the past week? I will start from the beginning. I landed in Denver, Colorado, Sunday, Sept 15 around 12:30 pm.  I pick up my rental car and called Hector Emanuel, the photographer, I would be paired with for the next week, to see where he was at.

Ran into many detours on my way to Greely, Colorado.

Ran into many detours on my way to Greely, Colorado.

He, and his assistant Liz Preovolos, were at a Red Cross shelter in Greely, Colorado. I looked at my gps, and it was about an hour drive. Upon my arrival in Denver, it was a very gray, rainy and cold day. I headed off to Greely, and as I got closer, it was harder and harder to get there. I stop at a local gas station 10 miles from Greely, and ask how to get there.  With roads washed out, and/or flooded, it was almost impossible. The store clerk, providing me some alternative routes, and thanked me for my work. I had on my Red Cross hat and sweatshirt, and I am once again reminded of the power of the Red Cross symbol. The clerk, comes out from behind the counter, and asks “Can I give you a hug?” Of course, I say yes.

I finally make it to the City of Greely Recreation Center, after many detours. I go inside and there is a flurry of activity. I meet up with Hector and Liz, who arrived the day before, and have spent most of the day at the shelter. They give me a tour of the facility, I talked with some of the volunteers, and clients, and then we head back to our home base in Loveland, Colorado for the night.

This would be the start of our routine for the week. Hector, would go to his room to look at his pictures from the day, and pick the best 25-30 photos to send to American Red Cross National Headquarters. The three of us would meet in the hotel lounge, and we would go over photo release forms, identify the people in each picture, and write the caption for each photo to share their story.

Why are we doing this you ask? These photos and stories paint a picture of how the American Red Cross is assisting the people of Colorado. We are bringing a face to the American people, so when people donate, they know who and how they are helping. We are telling our story!

Monday, September 16 -

The three of us meet down in the hotel lounge for breakfast and we make our game plan for the day. We focus on the Red Cross shelters that are set up to house the many people displaced. Sunday night there was 1,000 people that stayed in 24 different shelters across Colorado.

First Stop, Thompson School District Building, in Loveland, Colorado.  We met a family who had not one, not two, but three disasters displace them from their homes, over the past six months. The Oft family moved from Sallisaw, Oklahoma, after two tornadoes ripped through their town and damaged their home. They moved to Drake, CO to be closer to family. They barely had enough time to evacuate as the flood waters started  rise over the roads. Charlsey Oft said, “When you have kids, you can’t think of the bad stuff, you have to carry on and we are thankful for the goodness of others.”

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross Shelter at Thompson School, Loveland, CO. Red Cross Health Services worker Pam Robinson, RN, of Masonville, Colorado, hugs Adalynn Oft, 4, of Drake, Colorado, as her sister, Zoee, 1, looks on and her mother Charlsey, share their story.  Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross Shelter at Thompson School District Building, Loveland, CO. Red Cross Health Services worker Pam Robinson, RN, of Masonville, Colorado, hugs Adalynn Oft, 4, of Drake, Colorado, as her sister, Zoee, 1, looks on and her mother Charlsey, shares their story. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

The second shelter we visited was Niwot High School, in Niwot, Colorado. The people at this shelter were airlifted to safety because of the roads being washed out and they were not able to get out by vehicle.  This is were we met Donna Hitz, 81 from Lyons, Colorado.  She had such a good spirit and attitude.  I was cracking up laughing because she was telling me about how handsome the pilots were in their uniform, and she would do it all over again for a ride with them.

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Niwot High School, Niwot, Colorado. Donna Hitz, 81, of Lyons, Colorado, shares with Red Cross worker Jody Weyers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, her experience of being airlifted by a helicopter from her property to safety. Her neighbors knocked on her door to alert her to the evacuation and the next thing she knew, a helicopter was landing in her pasture. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Niwot High School, Niwot, Colorado. Donna Hitz, 81, of Lyons, Colorado, shares with Red Cross worker Jody Weyers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, her experience of being airlifted by a helicopter from her property to safety. Her neighbors knocked on her door to alert her to the evacuation and the next thing she knew, a helicopter was landing in her pasture. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

The third shelter we went to was the YMCA of Boulder Valley, in Boulder, Colorado.  There was a lot of activity at this shelter, because business did not shut down for the YMCA, so you had their customers coming to workout, among all the people displaced. This is were we met Esther Peter, who had such a beautiful soul and strength about her. She and her five sisters, brother and mom, evacuated to the Boulder shelter, after water started running into their apartment building. They were able to grab a few items, important documents and that was it. Originally from South Sudan, they moved to Kenya. After enduring a lifetime of hardships in a country engaged in armed conflict, she came to the United States to build a better life with her family. Esther had to leave her two young daughters with family in Kenya, with hopes to reunite in Boulder as soon as possible.

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at the YMCA, Boulder, Colorado. Esther Peter, of Boulder, Colorado, shares her heroic story with Dr. Kathy Palakow, Psy.D., LPC, Red Cross Mental Health Worker of Boulder, CO. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at the YMCA, Boulder, Colorado. Esther Peter, of Boulder, Colorado, shares her heroic story with Dr. Kathy Palakow, Psy.D., LPC, Red Cross Mental Health Worker of Boulder, CO. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Our final shelter of the day we visited was Mead High School, in Longmont, Colorado. Hector and Liz were here the day before, and talked with many families, and we wanted to go back to see how some of them were doing. At this point in the disaster operation, some of these families have been in a shelter for 4-5 days and wanted to go home, but some didn’t have a home to go back to. To create some normalcy for the children, some of the volunteers took the children outside on the football field to play with balls, run around, and just be kids! It was great to hear their laughter, and for one small moment, they were able to forget about everything going on around them.

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Mead High School, Mead, CO. Red Cross Shelter Manager, Ruth “Max” Bourke, of Ault, Colorado, plays catch with JoAnn Hammond, 5, of Del Camino, Colorado. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Mead High School, Longmont, Colorado. Red Cross Shelter Manager, Ruth “Max” Bourke, of Ault, Colorado, plays catch with JoAnn Hammond, 5, of Del Camino, Colorado. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Tuesday, September 17

Red Cross Northern Operations Headquarters at The Ranch-Larimer County Fairgrounds, Loveland, Colorado.

Red Cross Northern Operations Headquarters at The Ranch-Larimer County Fairgrounds, Loveland, Colorado.

We checked in at the Northern Operation Headquarters, at the Larimer County Fairgrounds, in Loveland, Colorado.  We talked with Mike Cooper, who was in charge of the Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV’s) and the workers who drove the vehicles and where they went each day.  We teamed up with ERV Drivers, Dennis and Dustin, both from Kansas. Their job was to “search and serve” in some of the hard hit areas in Northern Colorado.

We followed behind the ERV in our vehicle, as they went up and down roads and stopping occasionally to see if people needed help. We came across this road closure in Evans, Colorado and discovered, five or six guys trying to clean up their property from the floods. They were blocked in because one way the road was still flooded, and the other end of their road was barricaded.  Dustin and Dennis stopped the ERV, and we provided these families, with cleanup kits (including bleach, gloves, mop, broom, and bucket), hygiene kits(including basic toiletry items), tarps, shovels, and garbage bags. The flood waters rushed into their home, and like so many others, it came in so fast, they barely had time to evacuate. We also let them know that they could get a hot meal, shower, and other needed items at the City of Greely Recreation Center. It felt great to be able to help these people, and provide resources to them, because they felt like they were all alone blocked in on their road.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013. 49th St. in Evans, Colorado. American Red Cross emergency response drivers, Dennis Pierce from Louisburg, Kansas and Dustin Dunkin, of Garnett, Kansas handing out supplies to Robert Lujan and Brian Mestas of Evans, Colorado. Bernie Lujan of Evans, Colorado taking a box of supplies including masks, garbage bags, and paper towels to assist with flood relief cleanup to his home. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Tuesday, September 17, 2013. 49th St. in Evans, Colorado. American Red Cross emergency response drivers, Dennis Pierce from Louisburg, Kansas and Dustin Dunkin, of Garnett, Kansas handing out supplies to Robert Lujan and Brian Mestas of Evans, Colorado. Bernie Lujan of Evans, Colorado taking a box of supplies including masks, garbage bags, and paper towels to assist with flood relief cleanup to his home. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

In the afternoon, we split from Dennis and Dustin and we headed to a shelter at Timberline Church in Fort Collins This shelter was another place evacuees went to who were rescued off Storm Mountain in Drake, Colorado. While we were there, a bus pulled up, and Jason and Jennifer Morgan, walked off with their three dogs and one cat.  The only road up and down the mountain was washed away, so they had to be evacuated from the mountain by helicopter. They waited as long as they could because they had to leave their nine horses behind.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Timberline Church, Fort Collins, Colorado. Red Cross workers, Jody Weyers, of Green Bay, Wisconsin petting “Ella Beagle” and Larry Fortmuller, of Santa Ana, California holding “Bailey” while their owner, Jennifer Morgan, of Drake Colorado, fills out paper work after being airlifted from Storm Mountain by helicopter. .Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Timberline Church, Fort Collins, Colorado. Red Cross workers, Jody Weyers, of Green Bay, Wisconsin petting “Ella Beagle” and Larry Fortmuller, of Santa Ana, California holding “Bailey” while their owner, Jennifer Morgan, of Drake Colorado, fills out paper work after being airlifted from Storm Mountain by helicopter. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

The people who were rescued by helicopter, were loaded in busses, delivered to this shelter, and if they had family to stay with, they could pick them up here. If they had no place to go, they would register and stay in the shelter. Everyone who came off the bus, Red Cross had them register with our Safe & Well site, so loved ones searching for them would know they are ok. As of Sunday, September 22, 1,588  people had registered themselves safe and well on our site.

To be continued…..

Deployment: Day One – Colorado Floods

By Jody Weyers, Volunteer and Communications Director

Deployment: Day one:  September 15, 2013

Twenty-four hours ago, I was saying yes, to assisting with the Colorado floods, and now here I am on a plane. This is my second National Red Cross Deployment. My first assignment was in 2008 for Hurricane Ike, deployed to Dallas, TX and then Houston and Galveston. It has been over five years since I have answered the call, so when this assignment came along I couldn’t say no.

IMAG1134I went into work, cleared my calendar, printed off a ton of information on Colorado and our response efforts, clean my house (yes, I am one of those people that has to have a clean house before I leave for a trip) and packed. I packed everything Red Cross I own (as seen by the picture to the right.)

My journey started out at 3:30 this am, to get ready and get to the airport for a 6am flight. As I am sitting back in my seat on my way to Denver I find it a coincidence that I am reading a book right now called “The Third Wave – A volunteer Story” by Alison Thompson. It was given to me by an amazing volunteer and it is about the inspiring account of what one woman and her friends can accomplish against the greatest odds.

It has me thinking as I am getting ready to pitch in and help those who have had their homes, possessions, and for some, have lost loved ones due to the floods, that it is amazing what one person can do, but it is even more amazing what an “army” of people can do.

photoThat is what I am doing. I am joining an army of people to help those who need it. That is what the Red Cross does. It gathers our trained group of workers and sends them to where the help is needed most. It is incredible the logistics that is behind a small operation, let alone something of this magnitude.

My assignment is that i will be assigned to a photographer as a sherpa? Yes, I wondered what that meant too.  He will be capturing pictures that tell the human side of this operation, and I will be putting the words to them.

Am I nervous? I can honestly say NO. I have been with the American Red Cross for over 12 years and it has prepared me to be ready. I am excited to share the great work of our team in photos and words. I hope these images and words inspire people to give. I thank the American people for your donations because it is allowing the American Red Cross to be able to respond to those impacted in Colorado and across the country affected by disaster.

Follow me on twitter @jweyers2 to share in this journey with me!

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