Fox 11 Interview with Disaster Volunteer, Hope Koestner

Click here to check out the interview with Hope on Fox 11. If you are interesting in volunteering for the Red Cross, please call Jody Weyers at 920-227-4287 to get started!

Text version of story:
Red Cross volunteer Hope Koestner will soon be in Georgia, offering flood victims exactly what her name implies: hope. Last week, severe weather caused flooding in and around Atlanta. The storms damaged nearly two-thousand homes and killed nine people.

This is not Koestner’s first disaster mission, it’s actually her sixth. In 2008, Koestner traveled to Louisiana for Hurricane Gustav, a tornado in Georgia and flooding and a tornado in Iowa. She also assisted victims of Hurricane Wilma in 2005. While each trip is different, Koestner said the experiences with the people are similar.

“You laugh with them. You try to cheer them up. You cry with them,” Koestner said. “Everything they feel you feel. It’s like stepping from our world into a different world.”

Koestner plans to put her nursing skills to good use, but she will also be assisting with people’s basic needs, like food and housing.

“You don’t realize just how important those basic needs are until you don’t have them anymore,” said Jody Weyers from the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross in Green Bay.

Koestner said in some ways volunteers like her have the easy job.

“We’re just doing something that we’re blessed enough to be able to do,” Koestner said. “The true heroes are the people that we leave behind, the spouses, the children, the people that have to keep things going on a daily basis while we’re gone. They’re the ones that are making the big sacrifice.”

Koestner’s husband Kevin said it’s easy to support what she’s doing.

“She enjoys doing it. The people that she’s helping really appreciate it and it gives her a good sense of accomplishment so yeah you can’t help but support that,” Kevin Koestner said.

Hope Koestner said her volunteer work has taught her a very valuable lesson she wants to share with everyone in the community.

“You may think your life is wonderful and that things can’t go wrong. Anything can happen anytime,” Koestner said. “And if you spend two hours with some of these affected people after the disasters, it changes your whole life.”

By volunteering, Koestner hopes to change other people’s lives as well. Koestner is leaving Wednesday morning from Austin Straubel International airport. She plans to be in Georgia for two weeks.

American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter Sends Local Volunteer to help with Devastating Floods In Georgia

Red Cross volunteer Hope Koestner speaks with Alfred Hyams at a Red Cross shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Red Cross volunteer Hope Koestner speaks with Alfred Hyams at a Red Cross shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Green Bay, WI –The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter has dispatched Disaster Volunteer, Hope Koestner, LPN of Green Bay, WI to Atlanta, GA to assist with the 2009 Georgia Floods.

Your browser may not support display of this image. Koestner will be flying out Wednesday, September 30 at 7:00am to Atlanta, GA. She will be assisting in the area of Health Services. Koestner will be using her skills as a licensed health care professional to assess  people’s health affected by the floods. If someone needs additional medical assistance that the shelter can not provide then they would be taken to a medical facility to get the care they need.

This is Koestner’s sixth national relief operation. She assisted in 2005 for Hurricane Wilma, in 2008 she assisted for a tornado in Georgia, flooding and a tornado in Iowa and her last assignment was for Hurricane Gustav.

On September 21st, the State of Georgia was hit by severe weather systems which lead to flooding in many of the counties located in Metro Atlanta as well as several counties in the northern part of the state. The severe flooding had an immediate impact and resulted in numerous power outages, road closures, uninhabitable homes and school district closings. In addition, nine fatalities have been linked to the flooding since September 21st.

American Red Cross Response Efforts:

More than 600 Red Cross volunteers are providing stability and hope for families in this time of chaos.  Through mobile outreach into flood-affected areas, Red Cross caseworkers are connecting one-on-one with people in need and providing financial assistance for food, clothing, shelter, and health-related concerns.  Red Cross Emergency Vehicles are providing mobile feeding and distributing clean-up supplies in flood-ravaged neighborhoods.

As of September 28, the Red Cross has sheltered nearly 500 people (1,643 overnight stays), served 12,715 meals and 11,495 snacks, and distributed 2,045 clean-up and comfort kits. Volunteers are also helping with emergency medical needs and providing emotional support and counseling to those traumatized by the events surrounding them.  The Red Cross is working with its local partners to connect those in need with the available community resources.

Preliminary damage assessment reports indicate that 1,939 homes (459 destroyed; 517 with major damage) have been affected by flooding in 20 counties.

Help people affected by disasters like the current floods by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

Be Red Cross Ready: Fire Prevention & Safety Checklist

The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.


Steps You Can Take Now

❏ Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.

❏ Never smoke in bed.

❏ Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.

❏ Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Cooking Safely

❏ Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

❏ Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.

❏ Keep anything that can catch fire—like pot holders, towels, plastic and clothing— away from the stove.

❏ Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.

Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills

❏ Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.

❏ If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.

❏ Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.


Smoke Alarms

❏ Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

❏ Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.

❏ Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button.

❏ Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.

❏ Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.

❏ Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
Fire Escape Planning

❏ Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home.

❏ Make sure everyone knows where to meet outside in case of fire.

❏ Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

❏ Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.


Follow Your Escape Plan!

Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.

❏ If closed doors or handles are warm, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.

❏ Crawl low under smoke.

❏ Go to your outside meeting place and then call for help.

❏ If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.

Use Caution with Fire Extinguishers

❏ Use a portable fire extinguisher ONLY if you have been trained by the fire department and in the following conditions:

• The fire is confined to a small area, and is not growing.

• The room is not filled with smoke.

• Everyone has exited the building.

• The fire department has been called.

❏ Remember the word PASS when using a fire extinguisher.

Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

American Red Cross Responds to Three Fires in Shawano County over the Weekend

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter responded to two home fires over the weekend and provided 40-50 emergency personnel with food and beverages.

The first fire occurred on Friday, September 18 around 9:00pm in the city of Shawano. Red Cross disaster volunteers assisted the family of two adults and two children with lodging, monetary assistance for clothing, food and infant supplies. We also provided the family with comfort kits (which include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, facial tissue, deodorant, razors, shaving cream and lotion) and homemade quilts.

On Saturday, September 19, around 9:15am, we received a call to respond to a home fire in Shawano County, near the town of Black Creek. Volunteers assisted the family of three adults with lodging, monetary assistance for clothing and food. We also provided the family with comfort kits and quilts.

Around 10:30 am we received a call to help with feeding for the 40-50 fire emergency personnel from the Navarino Fire Department.  We provided sandwiches, water, Gatorade and snacks at the Navarino Fire Department. Emergency personnel from the station where on the scene of the home fire near Black Creek and where responding to a grass fire near Hwy 156 and McDonald Rd in Shawano County.

In total, five Red Cross Disaster Volunteers assisted with the three incidences.

Red Cross disaster assistance is free and is made possible by community donations. You can help individuals of this disaster and others by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter’s local disaster relief fund. For information call the Lakeland Chapter at 920-468-8535 or visit

5th Annual American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter Door County Golf Classic Raises $21,000 to Support Local Services

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter held its 5th Annual Door County Golf Classic on Monday, August 31 at Horseshoe Bay Golf Club in Egg Harbor. We were much honored to have American Transmission Company (ATC) as the major sponsor of the event.

“American Transmission Co. is pleased and proud to support the American Red Cross,” said David D. Hovde, Senior Local Relations Representative. “ATC recognizes how important the work of the Red Cross is to people across the street and across the country. Because of the Red Cross, people in need are able to receive care, comfort and much-needed assistance in their time of need. We’re glad we can help to make that happen.”

Joining us this year were 29 teams.  The event featured 18 holes of golf and concluded with dinner, program and auction.

“I was very pleased to see Northeast Wisconsin step up and sponsor teams, our auction items, and participate during this current economical time,” said Eric Witczak, Senior Vice President, Retail Banking Manager, Nicolet Bank and Event Chair.  “I am really looking forward to next years outing with a goal of $30,000 in net income.”

Taking first placing for the lowest gross score was the team of Nicolet Title, including Rich Nelson, Tom Komp, Tim Nelson and Scott Lade. First place for the lowest net score was Door County Memorial with team members Bob Scieszinski, Dan Boes, Jerry Worrick and Jake Schulz.

The $21,000 raised from the Door County Golf Outing will go to support services in our eight counties including; families affected by disasters, provide rides for those 60 and over and those with disabilities get to medical, nutritional and employment needs, and continue to provide life-saving training classes for people in our community.


American Red Cross Assists Three Adults Affected by Early Morning Apartment Fire in Green Bay

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter responded to an apartment fire on Cherry St. in Green Bay around 6:30am on Thursday, September 10. The fire displaced a family of three.

Two American Red Cross Disaster workers assisted the family based upon their immediate emergency need with monetary assistance for clothing. We also provided the family with comfort kits (which include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, facial tissue, deodorant, razors, shaving cream and lotion) and a homemade quilt.

Red Cross disaster assistance is free and is made possible by community donations. You can help individuals of this disaster and others by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter’s local disaster relief fund. For information call the Lakeland Chapter at 920-468-8535 or visit

 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 or join our blog at


Red Cross Kicks Off Preparedness Month with Dedication of New Disaster Relief Vehicle

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter kicked off National Preparedness Month with the dedication of our new Disaster Relief Vehicle. 

Steve Maricque, Executive Director, thankng Georgia Pacific for their contribution.

Steve Maricque, Executive Director, thanking Georgia Pacific for their contribution.

The event started with the dedication of our new Disaster Relief Vehicle thanks to the lead gift of Georgia Pacific and other contributors. Kelly Wolff, VP Manufacturing Operations of Georgia Pacific spoke along with Steve Maricque, Executive Director, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter.  A tour was given as well as information on Disaster Preparedness for those in attendance.




Employees of Georgia Pacific with the Disaster Vehicle

Employees of Georgia Pacific with the Disaster Vehicle



Thank you to the following businesses and individuals for your generosity. We especially want to thank Georgia Pacific for their lead gift in acquiring the vehicle.  

Baycare Health Systems Foundation
Broadway Automotive
Consolidated Construction
Cutlass, LLC-
Jess DeLaurelle
DBA Brook Park Apts.
Dr. Loren or Marian S. Hart 
Jerry and Bonnie Franz
Georgia Pacific
Greater Green Bay Community Foundation Inc.
Green Bay Packers
Cathy and Tom Harrison
Hermans Club
Koss Management
Lakewood Super Valu
Bill MacDonald
Maiden Lake Plumbing, Inc
Steven and Janelle Maricque
Harold J. Paye
Rueckl Home Building Center
Schreiber Foods
Larry A. Staszak
Richard H. Stolz
Town of Riverview
Julie A. Yelle

8th Annual Waterfront Festival Charity Ride Raised over $12,000 for Red Cross

The day started off with clouds and rain. Only about eight bikers registered by 10 am,  but then the rumble really started at 10:15. It wasn’t thunder though, it was the rumble of bikes.


Bikers getting ready to ride starting at Applejack's Bar, Marinette.

Bikers getting ready to ride starting at Applejack's Bar, Marinette.

Over 200 bikers participated in the 8th Annual Waterfront Festival Charity Ride to support this year’s beneficiary the Marinette/Menominee Red Cross. The event raised $12,295 to helps support Red Cross programs and services in the community.

 The 126 mile ride started at Applejack’s Bar in Marinette and had stops in Abrams and Little River Country Club, in Marinette, for silent auction, raffles, food and drink before the final stop at the festival grounds.

Participants were happy to support their local Red Cross that is always there for its neighbors in times of need. Many appreciate the support the Red Cross offers the Armed Forces. “There were many participants who served our country, especially during the Vietnam War or right now have family serving over in Iran or Afghanistan,” says Debbie Haduch, Branch Manager of the Marinette/Menominee Red Cross.

The event was fun for all but also a lot of work. Debbie Haduch worked with Coz Costello and Peach Blake as they planned for the event. “These guys are totally awesome to work with,” says Haduch. “They are such givers to the community and they are unstoppable when they do things.

 The Red Cross would like to thank Coz Costello, Karen Costello, Pat (Peach) Blake, Mary Blake, Triple C Riders and the community for their support of this event and of the Red Cross.