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.

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.

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.

Gasoline Prices Impacting Transportation Service

Guest Blog Post: Steve Maricque, Executive Director, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter

The steady increase in gasoline prices has impacted the lives of many in our community.  This impact is no different on our Transportation service here at the American Red Cross. Our service provides rides to medical appointments, the grocery store or employment for individuals over 60 or with a disability to enable those individuals to maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle.

Typically in a month, we will spend $8,000 on gasoline.  The increased gasoline price has raised that expense 25% to now $10,000 a month.  The Transportation service is primarily funded through state funds that are passed down to the local level and managed through Brown County via the Aging and Disability Resource Center.  This is where the majority of funds are provided to support the service.  Additional funding is provided by the United Way of Brown County, individual donors and a minimal rider fee. 

This overall funding and our investment several years ago in an automated transportation scheduling and routing software and staffing changes has enabled us to manage the increasing cost of gasoline and maintain our fee of $2.00 a ride at this time.

It has been almost 5 years since we last raised our rider fee 50 cents to its current level.  We understand the need to maintain a low cost transportation option for those on fixed incomes.  If gasoline prices continue to rise, we will engage our current funding partners to request additional assistance along with asking for help from our community donors.

We will continue to do everything we can to maintain our service at its current fee level to meet the transportation needs of our clients. 

Your support and help is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Steven J. Maricque

Gas prices affect GB ride program

WFRV News:  Click HERE to see video of story. Story Created: Mar 1, 2011 at 9:08 PM CST

http://www.wfrv.com/v/?i=117211693

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Gas prices are taking a toll on local businesses and non-profits, reporter Heather Sawaski investigates how a local Red Cross program is coping with the rising costs.

More than 5 years after heart surgery, 80-year-old Dorothy Hovde is taking advantage of the Red Cross Transportation Program to get to to her exercise class at St. Mary’s Hospital.

“It’s convenient for me, I don’t drive and my children and grandchildren that do drive are at work at this time of the day,” Hovde said.

For $2 a trip, the elderly and people with disabilities in the Green Bay area can get rides to and from medical appointments and work, but the climbing gas prices are proving to be more than just a bump in the road.

“Typically we spend about $8,000 a month on gasoline, so we’ve seen a 25 percent increase, we’re now in the $10,000 range,” said Steve Maricque, Red Cross Executive Director, Lakeland Chapter.

The program is funded by state grants and local donors, and gives rides to more than 5,500 people a month. Rising costs have already forced the Red Cross to put a similar program in Door County on hold. There have also been staffing and scheduling cuts to save money.

“We’re able to, so far, manage with the increase in gas prices,” said Maricque. “But if they continue to rise, we’d have to look at other measures in terms of what we would need to do.”

The organization is looking into increasing fares as a last resort, because most of the riders are on fixed incomes, but doesn’t want to leave people like Dorothy Hovde stranded.

The last time the Red Cross had to raise prices was five years ago. Prices went up 50 cents.

Heather Sawaski reports.

Volunteer Spotlight: Tom & Cathy Harrison – Sharing the Love of it All

By Dawn Miller, Red Cross Volunteer

You can tell by looking at Tom and Cathy Harrison that they are not only best friends, but soul mates and they have that same kind of devotion to the volunteer work that they do at the Red Cross.

“My wife got me started in community service and working with the Red Cross,” Tom explained. “We have been doing things together and volunteering is a natural fit for us. She is fun to work and play with.”  

Tom and Cathy volunteer in many ways at the Red Cross. They both drive for the Lakeland Chapter Transportation Services once a week. During Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Wilma, they became trained in disaster work and went down to Florida to help on their first national assignment. They are also on call locally week every five to six weeks from 6pm to 6am Monday to Friday and 24/7 on the weekend. They help out with special events and provide volunteers for three to four blood drives a year.

“The Red Cross gives us ways to give back for the beautiful life we have been given.  When you see a crisis on TV and say, ‘wish I could help’, the Red Cross gives us the training and opportunity to really help people,” Cathy said and added. “We are just ordinary people but through the Red Cross we can help make things better for people in our community.  Helping by collecting blood, by serving cookies to donors, driving people to doctor appointment, or giving a fire victim a hug and a warm quilt can really make a difference in people’s lives.”

She went on to point out that giving back is important, “We make time for the Red Cross because we have had a great life and have been very blessed.”

Before retiring, Tom spent 24 years is the Army and was honorably discharged as First Sergeant while Cathy worked at Georgia Pacific. The two have two children, including Paul who lives with his wife, Kris, and their three children in Suamico, WI and Scott who lives in Chicago, IL.

While growing up, both Cathy and Tom learned the importance of giving back to the community. While at Georgia Pacific, Cathy made sure to do just that since she helped organize blood drives at the company for over 30 years.  

“My mom was a blood drive volunteer coordinator so I knew how to organize a drive at work, I asked management if we could try it and they agreed but only if the volunteers took vacation time to work at the blood drive,” Cathy said. “Georgia Pacific provided great cookies and nice refreshments for the drives plus a great area to have the drive. We drew about 100 units at each drive.”.

Since they are both retired they also have time to have fun outside of volunteering. They love to dance including country and ballroom. Cathy even went skydiving on her 47th birthday and they also belong to a Corvette Club.

“We love to travel, any where, any time.  We can be packed for an adventure in no time at all,” Cathy said.  “This past summer we joined eight other Corvettes on a 4000-mile cruise out to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.  It was a great 14 days and we were still talking to each other when we got home, remember a corvette is a very small car.”

It is clear that this couple truly loves one another, as seen by everything that they do together, especially all the volunteer work that they do.

“We have been married 45 years. We have stayed best friends because we started out as friends first and then realized we loved each other,” Cathy said. “He is the most supportive and carrying person I know.  He makes being married to him easy and fun and I would do it again tomorrow.”

Green Bay area businesses cope with raising gas costs

By Caroline Rowland, WFRV News, created Jan 6, 2011,  Click HERE for link to video.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — In Green Bay, gas prices are slightly above the national average at $3.14 per gallon, and the steady rise is talking it’s toll on local businesses.

At Schroeder’s Flowers, the delivery drivers are always on the go. “Its 75 to 150 deliveries on a typical day. The most I’ve ever done in one day was 1,575,” said owner Charles Schroeder.

The company spends between $4,000 and $15,000 dollars a month on gas. When gas prices goes up the store eats the extra costs.

U & I Movers had to add a fuel surcharge to it’s moving costs that ranges between five and 10 percent.

“When you add that to a cost of a move, it’s almost a couple hundred dollars you have to add on to the move,” said owner Scott Isable.

The fuel surcharge is higher now than two years ago, when gas was $4 a gallon, because business was better back then.

“You, a lot of times, eat a big share of the fuel surcharge,” Isable said.

Non profits are some of the hardest hit businesses, especially organizations like The Red Cross who have a fleet of cars that are always on the road.

“Every time that gas goes up, that expense increases for us,” said Steven Maricque, Executive Directer of the Red Cross Lakeland Chapter.

The Lakeland Red Cross Chapter spends $100,000 annually on gas. If gas stays below $3.50 per gallon it’s budget will be fine. But Maricque says things will change if the price continues to rise.

“Then we’re going to have to make some drastic changes as to how we support the program,” Maricque said.

Schroeder’s is also looking to the future and may get away from gas run vehicles.

“I think that’s probably the answer, have more efficient vehicles,” Schroeder said. For now, the flower shop will deal with the extra costs as best as it can.

The rising gas prices are showing no sign of slowing down. Some analysts project the price could reach $3.75 a gallon by spring.

American Red Cross Transportation Service Discontinued in Door County Effective January 1, 2011

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter Transportation Service in Door County will be discontinued as of January 1, 2011. This service began in Door County in 2002.  Since its beginning, our mission has been to meet the transportation needs of elderly and individuals with disabilities by providing safe, reliable and affordable transportation.

The past two years has been very challenging as we have continued to operate our service in Door County.  During this time, the overall transportation environment has changed which has impacted our service.  There are now other transportation options available to Door County residents that can meet the needs going forward.

“The American Red Cross is proud of the transportation service we have provided in Door County since its beginning in early 2002,” said Steve Maricque, Executive Director, Lakeland Chapter. “We appreciate the opportunity to have served many in the community and wish to thank our dedicated volunteer drivers, funding partners and donors for their wonderful support over the years.”

Please note that this announcement impacts only our Transportation Service in Door County.  We will continue to provide Disaster Services, Services to Armed Forces and Health and Safety training.

 About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers