My Challenge Coin Giveaway

By Patty Flowers, CEO, Eastern Wisconsin Region

(l-r) Patty Flowers with Adrianne Benson holding the coin.

(l-r) Patty Flowers with Adrianne Benson holding the coin.

For nearly a century, military personnel have created personalized challenge coins to honor exceptional individuals.

History says that a World War I flying ace had medallions printed for his unit to recognize their loyalty.  One of these men was shot down in Europe and captured by the Germans.  He actually was able to escape only to be captured by the French who thought he was German.  By producing his coin, he proved what unit he was from and apparently saved his life because the French were going to execute him.  What a story!  Challenge coins have lived on throughout the years and are still used to this day to honor individuals.  Military personnel collect these coins as though they are badges of honor.

So how did I, a non-military person, have the privilege of giving away a challenge coin?  The Tiffany Circle is a society of women philanthropists who support the American Red Cross with a generous annual gift in support of many programs and services.  I am a member of Tiffany circle and each year in May there is a summit of women from across the country who gather in Washington DC to learn more about the Red Cross and network to further their Circles back home.  For the last two years at the summit meeting, all attendees received a coin with specific instructions challenging us to uphold this honored tradition by giving away the coin to an individual that is very deserving.  Since last May, I’ve carried my coin in my work bag always looking for just the right occasion to depart with it, until recently.

Please allow me to introduce Adrianne Benson who is in the photograph with me.  Adrianne is a Non-Commissioned Officer in Civil Affairs with the U.S. Army Reserve based in Green Bay.  In her 14 years with the Army she has worked with diverse populations, led humanitarian projects, and served as liaison for several government bodies.  She also served in Afghanistan.  In addition to serving in the military, she is raising a family, is an active volunteer in the community, and she is also attending University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh full-time to earn a Bachelor of Arts International Studies degree.  Through the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, Adrianne is part of the AmeriCorps Vet Corps program and has accepted an internship with us through March of 2014.  We are delighted to have her helping with our Service to Armed Forces programs and know she will bring a new perspective that none of us can bring to the table.  Adrianne recently told the story of receiving holiday cards from the Red Cross while she was in Afghanistan.  She said she posted the cards on the wall above her bed and they made her smile because she knew someone in the U.S. was thinking of her.  The Holiday Mail For Heroes program is one that Adrianne will be working on while interning with us and she is proof that these cards make a difference!

I am very proud to give my coin to Adrianne and know that she will always cherish it in the spirit it was given.  Thank you for your service, Adrianne.  We all appreciate you.

Winter Storm Preparedness

Winter-storm-2Winter storms can range from moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Some winter storms are large enough to affect several states, while others affect only a single community. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

Regardless of the severity of a winter storm, you should be prepared in order to remain safe during these events. Check out our Winter Storm Safety List and see how prepared you are!

Thank You & Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving-Card

American Red Cross Offers Thanksgiving Cooking and Travel Tips

thansgivingMillions of Americans will be preparing meals and traveling throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The American Red Cross has safety tips for the kitchen and for the highway.

“More home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year,” said Steve Hansen, Regional Chief Operating Officer. “The week of Thanksgiving is also one of the busiest travel periods. We want people to arrive at their destinations, enjoy time with their loved ones and make it home safely.”

COOKING SAFETY:  Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries. Follow these safety tips:

  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the cooking area.
  • Clean all cooking surfaces to prevent grease buildup.
  • Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn burners off if leaving the kitchen.
  • Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
  • Place turkey fryers outside and away from the house, deck and garage.

TRAVEL SAFETY:  Vehicles should be in good working order before heading out. Remember to:

  • Pack emergency supplies like blankets, water and snacks, flashlight and first aid kit.
  • Fill the fuel tank, check air pressure in tires and top-off windshield fluid.
  • Buckle up and obey all traffic signs.
  • Avoid distractions while driving like using mobile phones to talk or text.
  • Designate a driver who won’t be drinking whenever alcohol is served.

holiday-safetyThe Red Cross has a variety of emergency supplies and first aid kits available at redcrossstore.org.

KNOW HOW TO TREAT EMERGENCIES: People can learn how to respond to emergencies by downloading the free American Red Cross First Aid App. Users receive instant access to expert advice whenever and wherever they need it. The app is available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.

2nd Annual WI Disaster Training Conference

Volunteers at the 2012 Disaster Conference in Oshkosh taking training.

Volunteers at the 2012 Disaster Conference in Oshkosh taking training.

How can I make a difference? How do I turn my compassion into action? For 231 registered American Red Cross volunteers, we answer these questions this week.  Each of them has made a commitment to attend the 2nd Annual Wisconsin Disaster Training Conference.

Our 5-day disaster conference is to train new volunteers and expand current volunteers & staff skills so we are ready for additional – even larger disasters.  This ensures  the people who need our help when emergencies occur will be done with maximum efficiency and collaboration.

Altogether, 48-courses will be offered! Each class betters our ability to provide for people affected by disasters with safe shelter, food, emergency relief supplies, emotional support and health services.  Training is interactive, hands-on and better prepares us to respond to both man-made & natural disasters.  Advanced level classes focus on leadership development to managing a disaster operation around the country!

While this is the largest & most comprehensive training week of the year, we do offer classroom & on-line training year-round.  For people interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer  for details and an online application.

The WI Disaster Conference prepares us to respond to both local and national disasters through the generosity of people’s time, talent & treasure.  Join Us!

Feel free to join in on the Twitter conversation by following #WITrains!

American Red Cross “Dancing” Fundraiser to Announce 2014 Event Participants at October 1 Kickoff Party

197043_978x288_RevAnother cast of local celebrities is assembling to participate in Dancing with Our Stars 2014 for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin, presented by the Schneider National Foundation.  The star dancers will compete to raise the most money and take home the coveted Fundraising Mirror Ball Trophy.  This year’s dancers will be revealed during a private kickoff party Tuesday, October 1st.  Presented by Festival Foods, the kickoff party will be held at The Marq on French Road in De Pere.

“This event continues to grow and create a buzz in the community,” says Chapter Executive Steve Hansen.  “The star dancers do a tremendous job not only on the dance floor but more importantly raising funds to help support local Red Cross efforts.”

Betina Driver, and her husband and dancer partner Donald Driver, showing off their matching mirrorball trophies.

Betina Driver, and her husband and dancer partner Donald Driver, showing off their matching mirrorball trophies.

Dancing with Our Stars is now in its sixth year and it is has been a sold-out event each year.  Not only do those in attendance support local efforts, so can those not attending as the star dancers receive votes in the form of donations to the Red Cross.  One dollar equals one vote.  All funds raised support disaster prevention, preparation and relief, the life-saving training of first aid, CPR/AED classes, collection and testing of blood and blood products, support to military members serving around the globe, the transportation program and international programs.

Last year’s event raised nearly $370,000 for the local Red Cross.  Betina Driver, wife of former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, took home the Fundraising Mirror Ball Trophy after raising $158,000.

Dancing with our Stars 2014 will take place Saturday, February 15th at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay. Information about tickets will be available at a later date. More event information can be found on the following Red Cross platforms:

Website: http://redcross.org/newisconsin

Dancing with our Stars blog: http://redcrossdwosblog.org

Facebook: http://facebook.com/NEWRedCross

Twitter: @NEWRedCross (#DWOS to join the conversation!)

The Schneider National Foundation, Arketype, Associated Bank, Bay Industries, Festival Foods, Green Bay Packaging, Inc., Green Bay Packers,  Jack’s Maintenance, WBAY-TV, WIXX and the Green Bay Press-Gazette are proud sponsors of Dancing with our Stars 2014.

Red Cross Issues Safety Tips For 4th of July Holiday

Safely enjoy the beach, the fireworks and the backyard barbecue!

It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, a backyard barbecue, maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever people have planned, the American Red Cross wants them to enjoy their holiday and has steps they can follow to be safe with a few safety tips for everyone.

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FIREWORKS SAFETY
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, they should follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

GRILLING SAFETY Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

BEACH SAFETY If time in, on or around water is in your future, a few safety tips include:

  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach, within the designated swimming area.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.
  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect the neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.
  • Additional water safety tips are available at redcross.org/watersafetytips

SUN PROTECTION Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. Protect the feet – the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:

  • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross first aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. The app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.

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.

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

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The American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Chapter celebrated its volunteers June 25, 2013 with its Annual Celebration of Support event held at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay. Special thank you to our major sponsor, The Grainger Foundation and supporting sponsor of Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance. Two hundred and seventy 

Kathryn Bracho, anchor Action 2 News This Morning, kicking things off.

Kathryn Bracho, anchor Action 2 News This Morning, kicking things off.

volunteers attended the event. WBAY-TV anchor Action 2 News This Morning, Kathryn Bracho served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening.

The night began with welcoming words from incoming 2013/2014 Board Chair, Mike Gallagher of Schreiber Foods. Following Gallagher was Greg Novinska, CEO, Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region with an update on blood services.

One-a-Week Club Awards were presented to businesses and clubs who committed to at least 52 donations of blood per year, or one per week during the previous year, followed by dinner.

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

Germaine Reed, of Denmark, Ed McHugh Worker of the Year award for front-line volunteers with exceptional reliability to the blood program.

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

Woodside Senior Communities, Hilary Lesperance Award for outstanding support in the Blood Services Program.

Philip Everhart, of Marinette and Scott Vanidestine of Green Bay, Kerrie Forester Emergency Services Award for commitment and dedication to Disaster Services and members of the Disaster Response Team.

(l-r) Scott Vanidestine, Emergency Services Award, Judy Gregory, Disaster Director, Deb Harrington, Behind-the-Scenes Award, and Nancy Mirhashemi, Volunteer of the Year.

(l-r) Scott Vanidestine, Emergency Services Award, Judy Gregory, Disaster Director, Deb Harrington, Behind-the-Scenes Award, and Nancy Mirhashemi, Volunteer of the Year.

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

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

Todd Bierowski, of Depere, Mrs. Crane (Mary) Murphy Award, presented to a member of the Board of Directors for exceptional contribution and advancement of the American Red Cross.

Debra Harrington, of Green Bay & Leon Wollersheim, of New Holstein,  Behind-the-Scenes Award presented to a volunteer who assists with essential office work at one of our office locations in development, facilities, reception and other behind-the-scenes jobs.

Jennifer Pederson, of Green Bay, Rookies of the Year, presented to a volunteer for exceptional level of service and has started within the past year.

Nancy Mirhashemi, of Green Bay, Volunteer of the Year Award, presented to the individual who has demonstrated long-term commitment to multiple programs of the American Red Cross.

Kate Burgess, of Depere, and CEO of fulfillnet, Clara Barton Award, the highest award of the night, presented to an individual who exemplifies the qualities of American Red Cross pioneer Clara Barton.

(l-r) Shawn Kiser, Special Events, Kate Burgess, Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director, Mike Gallagher, Board Chair.

(l-r) Shawn Kiser, Special Events, Kate Burgess, Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director, Mike Gallagher, Board Chair.

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

Click HERE to see pictures of all the award recipients.

Celebrate Summer with the American Red Cross

At least 425 blood donations needed at 27th Annual Super Donor Days scheduled just before Independence Day

 

Summer is a time for the days that never end. It’s time for diving in and grilling out. It’s time to share life and create memories and stories. These are the stories we live for, and this summer, they’re in season.

Create your own memories and help others create theirs by joining the American Red Cross at the 27th Annual Super Donor Days on July 2-3 at Shopko Hall, sponsored by WFRV-TV and WIXX-FM. All presenting donors can enjoy Glass Nickel pizza in the refreshment area, live entertainment courtesy of PMI Entertainment Group and a free Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. Donors will also be automatically entered to win a $3,000 American Express gift card! Free childcare and parking are also available. Check out photos from last year’s event here!

27th Annual Super Donor Days blood drive

Tuesday, July 2 from 12 to 7 p.m. and Wednesday, July 3 from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Shopko Hall, 1901 Oneida St., Green Bay, Wis.

“Super Donor Days is not your typical blood drive. It’s a party with a purpose and we hope community  members join us for a Green Bay-area tradition by lending an arm and donating blood this summer,” said Greg Novinska, CEO of the Red Cross Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region. “We invite local residents to come spend an hour with us just before Independence Day to help ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in Wisconsin and across the country.”

Each day the Red Cross needs 17,000 blood donations to meet the needs of patients across the country, and with schools out and families on vacations, it can be difficult to meet these needs during the summer months. The Badger-Hawkeye & N.E.W. Region strives to collect at least 425 pints at Shopko Hall July 2-3.

During the summer months of June, July and August, on average, about two fewer donors give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what hospital patients need. If at least two more donors gave blood at every Red Cross blood drive this summer – above what’s expected – we would be better assured of having enough lifesaving blood products available for patients in need.
How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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 @NEWRedCross

American Red Cross Survey Finds People Unclear about How to Stay Safe in the Water

Most families plan to swim in areas without lifeguards this summer, but
lack basic water safety knowledge

(June 13, 2013) — Even though nearly two-thirds of families with small children plan on swimming in areas without lifeguards this summer, many people don’t know the right thing to do in water emergencies or how to keep their loved ones safe in the water, according to a new American Red Cross poll.

“People tend to spend more time in and around the water during the summer, so now is a great to review water safety precautions so you know what to do to stay safe,” said Patty Flowers, Regional Chapter Executive.

The Red Cross poll found 63 percent of families with children plan on swimming in an area without a lifeguard this summer. However, nearly half of those polled had never taken swimming lessons, with African-Americans (32 percent) less likely to have received formal training.

Nearly half of Americans say they have had an experience where they were afraid they would drown, according to the findings. Hispanics reported a higher percentage (66%) of having such an experience over Whites (46%). Overall, four in 10 (41%) say they know someone who was in danger of drowning, which is an increase of 16 percentage points from a similar 2009 Red Cross survey.

Two thirds (67%) of those asked mistakenly believe that putting inflatable arm bands, or “water wings,” on children is enough to keep them safe when an adult is not nearby. These are not lifesaving devices, and children and weak/inexperienced swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets while remaining under constant adult supervision.

The survey findings show that people mistakenly believe some steps such as having a swimming buddy or flotation device will keep them safe. For example, while the Red Cross recommends that people always swim with a buddy in designated swimming areas supervised by lifeguards, buddies alone are not enough to keep swimmers safe.

Another concerning finding in the 2013 Red Cross survey was that most of those polled were unsure of the right steps to take when someone appears to be in distress in the water: More than nine in 10 (93%) people were unable to identify the correct order of actions to take to help a swimmer who may be in danger of drowning.

“The correct steps to take when you see a swimmer who needs help is to shout for help, reach or throw the person a rescue or flotation device and tell them to grab it; then call 9-1-1 if needed,” Flowers said. “People think that if a person isn’t calling out for help that they must be ok. However, they are likely using all their energy to just try to stay above water.”

“People think they should enter the water to save someone, but often this endangers the life of the rescuer,” she added.

 Other signs of a swimmer in trouble include:

  • Treading water and waving an arm
  • Doggie paddling with no forward progress
  • Hanging onto a safety line
  • Floating on their back and waving their arms
  • Arms extended side or front, pressing down for support, but making no forward progress
  • Positioned vertically in the water, but not kicking legs
  • Underwater for more than 30 seconds
  • Floating at surface, face-down, for more than 30 seconds

Red Cross swimming lessons help people develop skills and water safety behaviors that help people be more comfortable and safe when they are in, on and around the water. The Red Cross encourages all household members to enroll in age-appropriate water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs. To find classes for your family, contact your local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross swimming programs.

An infographic highlighting survey results has been developed. People can find additional water safety information at redcross.org/watersafetytips.

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Survey details: Telephone survey of 1,011 U.S. Adults 18 years and older on April 11-14, 2013 conducted in ORC International’s CARAVAN® survey using a landline-cell dual-frame sampling design.  Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For comparison, this report includes findings from a 2009 Water Safety Poll–Telephone survey of  1,002 U.S. Adults 18 years and older on March 20-23, 2009 conducted by ORC International’s CARAVAN®. Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95% confidence level.

 

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 blog.redcross.org.

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