Northeast Wisconsin Board Member Spotlight – Mary Walch

Get to know our board members from the American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Chapter. We thank Mary for sharing her story, and we are proud to have her part of our leadership team.

Mary WalchCurrent Location: Green Bay, WI

Career History: I have worked in the banking industry for 25 years in the areas of Retail Management, Consumer, Mortgage and Business Lending, and Private Banking.

Volunteer History: I started volunteering right out of high school. My first experience volunteering was working in a program called REINS, a therapeutic riding program for individuals with special needs. I immediately felt a connection with the individuals I was working with and was humbled by the experience. I continued to work volunteering into my life from helping a couple hours at a run, joining planning committees for large events benefiting non-profits, and board positions for non-profits.

Board Member Since: Fall 2012

Responsibilities/Duties as a Board Member: We are truly a fundraising board from spreading the word of the Red Cross and all the good that the organization does to the connections we have helping raise funds for the Red Cross. I am also on the Annual Heroes Golf Tournament and Dancing with Our Stars planning committees.

How did you become involved with the Red Cross? My first experience was in my early 20’s. I had an interest in helping others and took disaster training courses. I thought it would be interesting and was looking to get involved in ways to make a difference. While I never had the opportunity volunteer for a disaster, I was moved by what I learned about the Red Cross and the teams of volunteers that leave their families to help others.

What motivates you as a volunteer and board member? Seeing how my efforts impact people. When part of a planning committee for an event, seeing the attendees get enjoyment out of being there and raising money is a rush.

Mary and her son Craig on a skydiving adventure.

What do you hope to accomplish by being a board member? Meeting new friends and helping others in need. Being part of a team/group with likeminded goals of helping others and making a difference.

Where do you feel the Red Cross can grow while a board member? Through growing fundraising events and recruiting others – whether as board members, volunteers, or financial supporters. And sharing the history/story of the Red Cross and how the Red Cross impacts all our lives.

How does Northeast Wisconsin benefit by the services offered by the Red Cross? I think everyone sometime in their lives will benefit from the Red Cross. Whether through natural disaster, medical needs, or safety education, the Red Cross touches all our lives.

 

 

Elton Peterson – Heart of Gold Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

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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

National Volunteer Week!

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This National Volunteer Week, April 6 – 12, the American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Chapter is celebrating its volunteers and the work they do in the community to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

One thousand volunteers serve within the 20 counties of the Northeast Wisconsin and our upper Michigan border communities. Nationally, the Red Cross has nearly 400,000 volunteers, which represent more than 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce.

“Our volunteers respond to house fires, teach lifesaving skills, support our military members in the community and much more,” said Jody Weyers, Director Volunteers and Communications. “They help us fulfill our lifesaving mission every day, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for their service.”

Across the organization, the Red Cross has an average of 14 volunteers for every one employee. According to the Independent Sector, the 2012 value of volunteer time is $22.14 per hour, further evidence of the tremendous value and impact volunteers hold for nonprofits such as the Red Cross.

Last fiscal year, Red Cross volunteers provided food, shelter, comfort and hope to thousands who faced home fires, tornadoes, winter storms and other emergency situations. They trained 49,003 people in lifesaving skills and provided emergency services to families of military members serving around the globe. In addition, we presented 50,000 holiday cards to Veterans and active duty members along with supporting multiple Veteran programs.

They also helped collect 33,872 units of blood which helps support 46 Wisconsin hospitals. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day from volunteer blood donors to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

We also provided 63,893 rides in 2013 to those 60 and over or with a disability get to needed medical, nutritional or employment opportunities in the Brown County area.

Join US_Page_1The Red Cross invites the public to sign up to volunteer and be a part of the lifesaving work it does. The Red Cross is looking for diverse volunteers of all ages and skill levels.

People can go to:  www.redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. Those interested in hosting a blood drive or scheduling an appointment to give blood can visit redcrossblood.org.

Red Cross Recognizes Everyday Heroes During Red Cross Month

March is Red Cross Month - Volunter datMarch is Red Cross Month and the American Red Cross would like to recognize the nation’s Everyday Heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.

“Our local heroes are our volunteers, our blood donors, people who take our classes or those who make a financial contribution to help us, help others, throughout our communities” said Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director.  “During Red Cross Month, we thank them and encourage everyone to discover their inner hero!” 

For more than 70 years, all of our country’s presidents, including President Barack Obama, have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.

Here in Wisconsin, we respond to more than a 1,000 disasters (mostly residential fires) and we must be ready to respond 24/7/365. In addition to helping someone down the street, we send trained responders to hurricane, tornado and wildfire responses across the country. We teach kids to adults lifesaving skills, we roll-up our sleeves to donate blood, we even provide 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families – in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world.

‘Not all heroes wear capes and volunteering is a great way to be someone’s hero,” gleamed Weyers. “It’s easy, become a Red Cross volunteer, work on a preparedness plan for their household, give blood, or take a Red Cross class.”

A number of activities planned for Red Cross Month, includes:

March 4th – Blood Drive, Bellin Hospital, 744 S. Webster Avenue, Green Bay, 6:30a.m.- 12:15 p.m.

March 6thWe open our newest Nurse Assistant Training location in La Crosse. This brings our statewide total to six training locations with courses happening almost monthly. State Farm, Walmart and the Waupaca Community Foundation are funding student scholarships.  www.redcross.org/WINAT.

March 6th – Blood Drive – American Red Cross, 2032 Erie Avenue, Sheboygan 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

March 13th – Blood Drive – American Red Cross, 2032 Erie Avenue, Sheboygan 11:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

March 14th – Blood Drive – Bay Area Medical Center, 3100 Shore Drive, Marinette 10:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.

March 16thMembers of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Red Cross Club, Student Veterans Association and Americorps/Vet Corps will coordinate a King Veteran Home resident’s bingo and bowling outing.

 March 20th – Blood Drive – American Red Cross, 2032 Erie Avenue, Sheboygan, 11:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

Facebook-Cover-Photo-event-pageMarch 27th – Dine Out For Disaster Relief – Bring your hunger to participating restaurants where a percentage of your sales will be donated to support disaster relief and life-saving preparedness programs locally.  www.redcross.org/dineoutwisconsin is presented by Society Insurance.

March 27th - Blood Drive – University of Wisconsin-Marinette Activities Room, 750 W. Bay Shore Street, Marinette, Wisconsin 9:00a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

March 31st – UWGB Red Cross Awareness Concert with Rob Anthony playing at the UWGB Common Grounds from 5:30p.m. – 7:30p.m. 

ALL MONTH LONG:

  • Flags will fly over the Fond du Lac bridge.
  • Residents in Sheboygan County can receive FREE life-saving training thanks to a United Way partnership to make our families safer!
  • All Health & Safety classes can be found at http://www.redcross.org/takeaclass
  • US Bank ATM’s have a “donate” option for the Red Cross.
  • When filing your Wisconsin State Taxes, you can use the donation “check off” to give directly to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Every dollar stays in Wisconsin.
  • Donate the gift of life – give blood! Our Green Bay Blood Donation Center at 2131 Deckner Avenue collects blood four to five days a week and includes evening and weekend hours. Walk-ins welcome or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.
  • To learn more about volunteering go to www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact Jody Weyers at 920-227-4287 or jody.weyers@redcross.org.

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!

A Look Back in Photos

Thursday, November 14, was our Fall Celebration of Support event to recognize volunteers and supporters of the American Red Cross in Northeast Wisconsin.

Please enjoy our “Year in Pictures” video that we shared at the banquet showcasing our Red Cross workers  and the services we provided throughout the year.

Do you want to join our ranks? Please go to: www.redcross.org/newisconsin to sign-up to volunteer.

 

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

Steve Hansen, Regional Chief Operating Officer, welcoming our 100 volunteers and supports.

Steve Hansen, Regional Chief Operating Officer, welcoming our 100 volunteers and supporters.

The American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin honored volunteers and community partners November 14, 2013 with its Annual Celebration of Support event held at The Waters in Oshkosh. Special thank you to our event sponsor Festival Foods. One hundred volunteers and supporters attended the event. WBAY-TV Action 2 News Reporter, Emily Matesic served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening.

The night began with welcoming words from Steve Hansen, Regional Chief Operating Officer followed by dinner.

After dinner we began our program, with the renaming of our Emergency Services Award after long-time volunteer Victor Fousek, of Coloma, who passed away in July. We continued with the Volunteer Recognition Awards presented to individuals and groups for their exceptional volunteer work and support.

(l-r) Steve Hansen, COO, James Fousek, Edith Fousek with our 2013 Victor Fousek Emergency Services Award Recipients Sharon Holt and Michelle Vogeltanz, Nick Cluppert, Disaster Director

(l-r) Steve Hansen, COO, James Fousek, Edith Fousek with our 2013 Victor Fousek Emergency Services Award Recipients Sharon Holt and Michelle Vogeltanz, Nick Cluppert, Disaster Director

Sharon Holt, of Combined Locks and Michelle Vogeltanz of Appleton, Victor Fousek Emergency Services Award for commitment and dedication to Disaster Services and members of the Disaster Response Team.

Clifford Hunke, of Oshkosh, Community Services Award, was presented for his exceptional work and dedication in the program area of First Aid Station Teams (FAST) which makes dozens of community events safer.

AnnaClaire Sylvester, of Appleton, 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.

Mike and Sandy Smith, of Neenah and Jeff and Susan Treu, of Waupaca, Rookie of the Year, presented to a volunteer for exceptional level of service who has started within the past year.

Steve Hansen, COO, and Board Member, Lauri Struck and her daughter Stacy Struck, of Jack's Maintenance, awarded the Corporate Benefactor Award.

Steve Hansen, COO, and Board Member, Lauri Struck and her daughter Stacy Struck, of Jack’s Maintenance, awarded the Corporate Benefactor Award.

Jack’s Maintenance, Kimberly Clark Foundation and Menasha Corporation Foundation, Corporate Benefactor Award, for a business with outstanding commitment and dedication to the American Red Cross.

Dan Brown of Neenah, Leadership Award, presented to a member of the board of directors, committee or program volunteer for exceptional leadership, contribution and support for the advancement of the American Red Cross.

Tim Cook of Butte Des Morts, Volunteer of the Year Award, presented to the individual who has demonstrated long-term commitment to the American Red Cross. This individual gives time, talent and knowledge in ways that improve the quality of the programs and services of the organization.

DSC00425Don Merz, of Pickett, Clara Barton Award, the highest award of the night, presented to an individual who exemplifies the qualities of American Red Cross pioneer Clara Barton.

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.

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!

My Experience with Youth Volunteering

By: PaKou Lee, Red Cross PR/Social Media Volunteer

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

Youth volunteering reinforces a feeling of involvement, belonging and acceptance in their community. Youth volunteers also have a tendency to do better in school and have a lesser chance by 50% of engaging in risky and unhealthy behaviors  by volunteering once a week. They gain new life skills, important work ethics, and meet different types of people.

Volunteering is important for me because I enjoy the feeling of giving back to the community. I get to meet great people with amazing backgrounds and learn so much from them. I also come from a huge Hmong family and as an aunt to more than 28 nieces and nephews I do my best to be a great role model for them. I have accomplished the typical expectations: go to school, get good grades, graduate college, and not be married by the age of 18. Although I don’t get to see many of my nieces and nephews, I still want to show them that there are better things in life than just video games and having good grades.

So when the Packer 5K was coming up on July 27th, I knew it’d be the perfect opportunity to bring two of my nieces, Nevaeh, 10 and Cienna, 6 along. The night before the race I explained to them that we were going to pass out water and Gatorade to the runners. The next morning, Cienna was ready by 9a.m. and eager to leave.  I was impressed with her enthusiasm but we didn’t have to leave the house until 5p.m.

When we were setting up the Gatorade station with other Red Cross volunteers, Cienna asked me, “Auntie PaKou, what does volunteer mean?” I was surprised by her question because I thought I had explained to her what we were doing. Then I realized I only told her what we were doing, not the meaning of the word and why we were doing it. I answered her, “Volunteering is about helping people for free and not asking for something back like what we are doing right now. We are going to pass out the Gatorade to the runners.” It was great to see Nevaeh and Cienna excited for the runners. We worked great as a team.

At the end, Nevaeh and I had a friendly “argument” about who passed out more Gatorade. To this day, she still thinks she passed out more than me. The only things that mattered to me were they both had fun, they gave back to the community, and wanted to come back next year to volunteer again.

American Red Cross has many volunteer opportunities for youth from starting a Red Cross club at school to activity guides to spread the Red Cross mission. Click here for more information.

Thanks to the Red Cross for the opportunity. Cienna (L) and Nevaeh (R) look forward to more volunteering!

Have you thought about becoming a Disaster Volunteer??

Volunteer, Chris Worm, from Fond du Lac, giving out water and sandwiches to those in need.

Volunteer, Chris Worm, from Fond du Lac, giving out water and sandwiches to those in need.

You have seen our volunteers out in the community helping for the recent tornadoes to hit Northeast Wisconsin.

Have you ever thought, “I could do that”!  Now is the time to put that thought into action. Learn more about what is involved and how to get started to become a Disaster Action Team Volunteer.

The American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin is offering two Disaster Services: An Overview courses in the Oshkosh and Appleton area. This class is a basic level training that provides an introduction to Disaster Services and the American Red Cross.

The purpose of this course is to provide information about ways participants can help their community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters. Participants will also learn about volunteer opportunities at their local Red Cross chapter.

When:  Monday, August 26, 1:00pm-4:30pm

Where: Oshkosh Red Cross Office, 515 S. Washburn St, Ste 201

When:  Tuesday, August 27, 1:00pm-4:30pm

Where: Appleton Red Cross Office, 1302 E. Wisconsin Ave, Appleton

How to register: Call or e-mail Nick Cluppert at 920-231-3590 or nick.cluppert@redcross.org

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