Elton Peterson – Heart of Gold Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

10247379_10154093570875556_1791101741596748129_n

Congratulations to Elton PetersonHeart of Gold Lifetime Achievement Award Winner at the WPS Awards. The Heart of Gold Award is awarded to a volunteer whose lifetimes of service exemplifies notable achievement in community service! 

Elton Peterson has been a volunteer driver for American Red Cross Transportation Services since July 1993. During his almost 21 years of service he has volunteered 5,670 hours and has provided approximately 10,080 rides to clients over the age of 60 and/or disabled.

“I have had the privilege of working with Elton since the day he started,” said Tina Whetung, Transportation Manager. “He is a very dedicate and caring person who really enjoys helping others, without people like Elton this much needed service would not be provided.“

Elton is also an active volunteer driver with the American Red Cross Blood Services.  For the past 16 years, Elton has generously volunteered his time to help deliver blood and blood products to patients in need at area hospitals.   Over these years, he has volunteered hundreds of hours to answer the call when the need to get red cells to a hospital in need of blood products.  We are thankful and proud to have Elton on our Red Cross team!

Elton

In Memory: Volunteer and Friend – Dr. Mark Reinke

By Jody Weyers, Director of Volunteers:

Today, after work, I will be attending the visitation service for Dr. Mark Reinke, friend and volunteer. Mark passed away Christmas night surrounded by his family following a courageous fight with pancreatic cancer.

Mark’s courage, positive attitude and willingness to give back, is a lesson we can all learn from him and incorporate into our daily lives.

(section from his obituary)

Mark retired immediately from his medical practice upon learning of his diagnosis in December 2012. During his last year Mark embarked on a bucket list of adventures. The most rewarding adventure was being able to form closer relationships with a number of friends. He often shared with all of them, “it is not about the length of your life but about the depth of your life”. It was his strong-will to live, unwavering faith, love of our Heavenly Father, and prayers from family friends that carried him through these last 13 months of treatments and endless doctor visits.

In September, Mark called me and he wanted to volunteer. He had friends that drove for our transportation services program, and he wanted to be able to give back while he was in this fight. As a matter of fact, the last time he drove for us, was only a few weeks prior to his death. Physically you could see he didn’t feel good, but being able to help people, gave him the strength to keep fighting.

While Mark was going through this battle, he wrote about the ups and downs on a Caring Bridge site.

Here was his post on September 22, 2013

523f62620dad100702823f68Mark has a job…about time!

For those of you who are wondering what I do with ALL my spare time, I have finally ventured out of the house. Kathy has been after me for the past several weeks to find something to occupy my time. I am now an official Red Cross volunteer. Once a week, I spend about 4 or 5 hours driving people around town.

I get a Red Cross Chevy Impala with about a million miles on it, plug in the GPS and crisscross Green Bay several times. I usually put on at least 70 miles in a morning. This is a service provided by the Red Cross and enables people to go to their doctor’s appointment, go to work and do errands such as grocery shopping, etc. The majority of people I transport are disabled and I find this work to be extremely gratifying. The people are so appreciative, friendly and courteous. If I am 15 or 20 minutes early, more often than not, the clients will be sitting on their front step waiting for me. And boy, do they love to talk!

Sometimes I think I’m their social contact for the day. I get the lowdown on their doctors, the Packers and their neighbors. They are a hoot! Anyway, this is a great experience for me and I would highly encourage everyone to consider volunteering in your community. It’s a win-win for everyone. I feel so much better about helping others and the 4 hours are a minuscule part of my week. I know we’re all busy, some more than others. Believe me, I was there. If you get a chance, at least consider giving back to your charity or community. You won’t be sorry and the rewards to yourself and others outweigh any inconvenience.

Our thought and prayers go out to Mark’s family and friends and we thank you for sharing him with us for his last few months.

The New Year is upon us, and if you are looking to make a change, or a “resolution” think about volunteering. I know someone who will have a big smile on their face from above if you do!

Red Cross in Need of Volunteer Drivers

Thank you Fox 11 & Angela Kelly for focusing on our need for additional volunteer drivers today to support our Transportation Program!  IMAG1490 Fox 11 interview - Angela

The American Red Cross in Northeast Wisconsin is in need of volunteer drivers for its Transportation Services program. The program offers rides to individuals 60 or older or who have a disability and need transportation for a variety of reasons — from medical appointments to grocery store trips.

Currently, there are 80 volunteers who drive a fleet of 24 vehicles throughout the Green Bay metro, Pulaski areas and starting October 22, Denmark area.

Rides are available Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  It costs $3 per person, per one-way ride.

Click here for more information. Red Cross leaders say the program is in need of more volunteer drivers.

It’s one way you can be “Making A Difference.”  Click here to learn more about how to volunteer. FOX 11′s Angela Kelly learned more about the program for Wednesday’s Good Day Wisconsin.

Click on the video links to watch interviews with Red Cross leaders, current volunteer drivers and program clients.

Volunteer Driver, Paul Strom Honored with the 2013 Andrew Janssen Transportation Award!

Congratulations, Paul Strom.

This award is in remembrance of a man who truly enjoyed volunteering for the American Red Cross. He was a very caring, compassionate individual who went above and beyond each and every time he got behind the wheel of a Red Cross vehicle. These attributes are exactly why we chose Paul Strom for this year’s award. He became a volunteer driver in August 2009 after retiring from Schneider National. When asked what he was looking at doing, he stated he would like something that would allow him to be more active, and without a doubt he had come to the right place. Since starting he has volunteered 2-3 days per week, provided 5,184 rides and logged 2,592 volunteer hours. When he is not here helping those in need, he enjoys reading and spending time with his family at their cottage. Thank you for your dedication & time. Congrats, Paul Strom on your 2013 Andrew Janssen Transportation Award.

Image

(L-R: Jody Weyers, Paul Strom, Cathy Strom, and Tina DeGrave Whetung.)

Why would a couple who lives in Reno, Nevada give money to a local Red Cross program in Green Bay, Wisconsin? The answer will warm your heart.

12 12 Jilot 1 (2)

Betsy Wandtke, Major Gifts Officer with Dennis Jilot as he presented his check for the American Red Cross Transportation Program.

Dennis Jilot grew up in Green Bay when the ground that the Red Cross office and Transportation Center occupies, was just a huge vegetable garden.  As a young man, Dennis went to Preble high school.  It was very close to where he and his parents lived.  Dennis went to college in Stevens Point, WI – as did his bride Lynne.  They were very successful at what they did and their success led them to Reno.  Dennis’s parents remained in Green Bay.

As Dennis’s parents got older, his father had some problems with strength and balance.  Dennis was concerned about this.  His mother was not strong enough to get his father back on his feet and his father wasn’t strong enough to crawl to a chair and pull himself up.  Dennis asked his Mom how they got his Dad up after so many falls.  His Mom stated simply: “We just call the Red Cross and someone always comes to help us”.

They also used the Transportation Center to go to Doctor’s visits and to go to the mall to shop.  It allowed Mr. & Mrs. Jilot to be in control of their life and their situation.

Last year, Dennis was so touched by the selflessness of the Red Cross volunteers and staff that he walked into the office and wrote out a donation check for the Transportation Center.  I met with Dennis to thank him and he again showed his generosity and gave the Transportation Center a donation of $2,500.

These gifts were given because of the passionate volunteers/staff and their willingness to help someone when they needed it…no questions asked.  Dennis wanted to thank all of those people for helping his parents when he was so far away and couldn’t be there to help his Dad up.

I want to tell you all how proud I am of all of you!

Betsy Wandtke
Major Gifts Officer

Partnering for a Better Community

By Lauren Lindstrom, Communications Intern, American Red Cross

United Way funded agencies are teaming up to allow some Green Bay area
seniors to stay involved in the community.

The Hmong Senior Tsev Povfwm Program is using Red Cross
Transportation Services to get elderly participants to and from the
weekly program. The program, which meets Thursday evenings needs help
getting seniors necessary transportation. Many of the participants
cannot drive and depend on the Red Cross for mobility.

The Tsev Povfwm Program, which means “House of Good Health and Longevity,” began in June 2011. Program Coordinator May Kaying Lor knew she needed a service to provide home bound seniors a way to get
out of the house and interact with others in the community. She worked
with the NEW Curative Rehabilitation Inc. to get the program running
and through them, found partnership with the Red Cross. NEW Curative
Sponsors the Tsev Povfwm program and already uses the Red Cross for
its transportation needs.

“We are very happy with the service,” Lor said. “If we didn’t have the
transportation, I don’t know if we could run this program.”

On program day, Red Cross buses are full, sometimes having to make
more than one trip to accommodate all of the seniors needing transportation. Lor’s husband is one of two volunteers to be certified to drive each Thursday.

Participants stressed the importance of having Red Cross transportation and their appreciation for the services.

“I don’t know how to drive, so this is the only way I can get out into the community.” said Chongong Yang.

The program not only gives participants the chance to socialize, but
also keeps them connected with their culture and heritage. Every week,
the program shows Hmong movies, offers card games and volunteers serve
a traditional meal.

“If we don’t have the transportation, I am just going to be sitting at
home and get depressed,” said Bee Lee. “The bus brings me here so I
can socialize with everybody.”

Program participants keep in touch with Hmong culture with movies, food and native decorations.

In addition to activities in the program center, the Red Cross
provides transportation for field trips including picnics and trips to various scenic Wisconsin locations. Participants are eager to keep the partnership between the two organizations going strong.

“I even wish we had more money so we could come here five days a week
instead of one,” said Mee Lee.

Participants can draw, play cards and watch movies from their native Laos.

Congratulations: Jim Van Lannen

Congratulations to Jim Van Lannen on being the 2012 Community Service Achievement Award Winner by the Pulaski Area Chamber of Commerce. Jim is a ten year volunteer driver for the Red Cross. Jim was honored at a luncheon on March 18 at the Rock Gardens in Green Bay with a room full of friends, family and community members.

Jim and his wife, Barb.

Nolan Blecha has a “drive” for Success

By Dawn Miller, Red Cross Volunteer

The American Red Cross was proud of transportation client, Nolan Blecha’s accomplishment when we heard Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin named him, Outstanding Achiever for May.

He was referred to Goodwill’s Work Services program through Brown County Human Services five years ago when he came from a special needs program at Green Bay Southwest High School. Work Services is a longer-term training program for people with disabilities and utilizes Goodwill as a worksite to develop their work skills and behaviors.

Carol Daniels- Thurston, acting store team leader for the Ashwaubenon Goodwill, had told a publication, Nature’s Pathways, “Since joining Goodwill, Nolan has learned the importance of working as part of a team. He always has a smile on his face and is very committed to his work. His presence at the store really motivates all of us because we see what Nolan achieves every day, and that he is truly committed to doing a good job.”

Six years ago Nolan started using the transportation services provided by the American Red Cross in Green Bay. 

American Red Cross Transportation Services provides transportation to individuals 60 years of age and older and individuals with a disability in the Green Bay and Pulaski area. This door-to-door service is specifically designed to provide a low-cost means of transportation, allowing individuals to lead a more fulfilling, self-sufficient lifestyle.

“Nolan loves the service and looks forward to the people,” says Nolan’s Mother.You can also hear the pride in the voices of volunteer drivers when they talk about Nolan’s award.  

Nolan’s mother says those with special needs aren’t often acknowledged for their accomplishments. This award is meaningful and he has been cheered on by everybody including the wonderful volunteers at the American Red Cross. “Nolan feels so good and so honored to be recognized in this way.”

Longtime public servant ‘Vic’ De Cleene dies at 90

Written by Doug Schneider Green Bay Press Gazette

In 2002 Vic received the American Red Cross Andrew Janssen Transportation Award for exceptional work in assisting the aging population and those with disabilities by providing quality transportation that helps individuals maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle.

DE PERE — Victor “Vic” De Cleene retired from public office in De Pere in the mid-1990s, but he continued to serve his community for more than a decade as a Red Cross bus driver, Meals on Wheels volunteer and secretary of the De Pere Men’s Club, among his other activities.

De Cleene died Thursday at his home after a brief battle with leukemia. He was 90.

“He was all about making life easier for someone else,” said one of his seven children, Larry De Cleene of De Pere. “He delivered Meals on Wheels to people 20 years his junior.”

De Cleene was a De Pere alderman from 1964 to 1976, and 1987 into 1995. He became acting mayor in September 1995 when Nancy Nusbaum was elected Brown County executive, serving until her term expired in 1996. He would joke with friends and family members that he did not seek a full term because his wife, the former Leona Patzke, told him another campaign would mean “he might as well keep on running.”

He received the Silver Knight Award from St. Norbert College in 1994, and initiated the Multiple Sclerosis Walk in Brown County in 1995 in honor of his daughter, Vicki. Among his community service activities, he was a member of the De Pere Men’s Club from 1987 to the present, and volunteered with Meals on Wheels from 1990 until three weeks before his death.

Visitation for De Cleene will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Ryan Funeral Home, 305 N. 10th St., De Pere. Visitation will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1305 Lourdes Ave., De Pere. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:30 a.m.

American Red Cross Participates in Careers on Wheels Fair

Bob DeGroot holding some of the thank you letters from the students at Pioneer Elementary School in Green Bay

The American Red Cross took part in the annual Partners in Education Program of the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce Careers on Wheels Program.

Careers on Wheels is a unique and exciting program for third or fifth graders. Cars, trucks, tractors, emergency vehicles and people representing a variety of careers visit the school, giving students an opportunity to examine, explore and learn about a variety of careers “on wheels.”

Volunteer driver, Bob DeGroot visited three elementary schools in the area and shared with the students his role as a volunteer driver, how the transportation program helps people in the community and students were allowed to go on the bus.

Contact Brian Johnson, Partners in Education Career Education Program Manager, at 593-3408 or bjohnson@titletown.org to learn how your organization can participate in this program.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers