Celebrating People in Action

What do we call people that, with willing hearts, give to their community week after week, year after year, expecting nothing in return?  We call them volunteers.

 At the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter more than 450 volunteers know the satisfaction of helping others. In the words of Winston Churchill “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.”

 Red Cross volunteers save the day. They provide a place to stay and emotional support when their neighbors are faced with a home fire or other disaster. They teach lifesaving safety courses such as first aid, CPR, babysitting and care giving. Volunteers connect military families, work at blood drives, and, in general, take the actions needed to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

April 18-24 is National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize the selfless gifts of time, money and blood the Red Cross has received from the citizens of Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Menominee (WI), Menominee (MI), Oconto and Shawano. Thank you. Without your gifts we could not fulfill the Red Cross mission.

 National Volunteer Week is also a time to invite you to join us. If you are not a volunteer, give the Red Cross a try. Red Crossers are people who are trained to perform extraordinary acts in the face of emergencies. Right now we especially need people in the following two volunteer areas:

 Transportation Driver

       Transport individuals 60 and over and those with disabilities in the Green Bay metro area to medical, nutrition, employment and social appointments

  •         Must be at least 18 years of age
  •         Have a good driving record
  •         5-hour morning or afternoon shifts available
  •         Car or van available to drive
  •          Flexible schedule

 Health and Safety Instructor

  •        First Aid and CPR/AED
  •        Babysitter’s Training
  •        Flexible Schedule

 

To volunteer, contact Jody Weyers, Volunteer and Communications Director at 920-227-4287 or weyersj@arclakeland.org

Volunteer Spotlight: Cora Decker

You don’t have to know things like how to spell defibrillator to volunteer at the Lakeland Chapter’s reception desk but if you are lucky enough to have called on a Monday morning, Cora Decker will do her best to answer your question.

Every Monday Cora answers phones and greets those who visit the Lakeland Chapter. She puts great care into her volunteer work which is representative of a lifetime of caring.

Cora was born right here in Green Bay but has traveled all over the world. She was married for 49 years. Her husband worked on the railroad and she cared for their son, Tim at home.

In 1950, at the age of 22, Cora was stricken with polio and though it damaged one of her legs it didn’t keep her down. Thankful that she had her life and that her husband and son were spared from the dreaded disease she needed to give something back.

Over the span of ten years, Cora fostered 36 babies all while her leg was in a brace from the polio. By the time they adopted their daughter, Melissa, she had fostered more babies then she had years of life.

“We loved babies. For ten years I had a 2:00 am feeding. I had a deal with the foster department if they took one baby in the morning they brought another one in the afternoon. My bed was never cold,” Cora laughs.

When Cora’s husband retired they moved to Las Vegas where he was a dealer at the Imperial Palace.  While in Las Vegas, Cora fell and needed to go back to using a walker and a wheelchair. All the years of pressure wore her other leg out.

After 11 years in Vegas, her husband passed away and she went to Japan to live with her son, a colonel in the army, and his family. While there she volunteered for the Red Cross at the high school on base handling phones.

In 2001, Cora returned to Green Bay with her son and his wife. She found she was needed at the Red Cross Lakeland Chapter. Even with 450 volunteers the chapter always needs more caring individuals like Cora to keep it going.

Cora now has 5 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. She lives with her son Tim and his wife. Tim is head TSA officer at the airport. Her daughter, Melissa, lives in California and is an Assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles.  Melissa, her husband and their adopted son visit Cora often.

Cora uses the Lakeland Chapter transportation services to get to the reception desk every Monday. The Lakeland Chapter provides a unique service to its community with its transportation services, which is only possible because of volunteer drivers. The transportation services are provided to those 60 and over and to individuals with disabilities allowing them to lead a fulfilling self-sufficient lifestyle. Without the service Cora wouldn’t be able to help the Red Cross by volunteering every Monday.

Cora cares about the people who she works with at the Red Cross. She works to help the people that she encounters and if she can’t get the answer for them, she knows who can.  There is so much more to her story and if you are lucky enough to catch her on a Monday that isn’t too busy, ask her a question. Maybe she will share more of her story with you. She often goes above the call of duty even when it’s to spell defibrillator.

Volunteer Spotlight: Dick Neuses

From the smile on his face you will believe he just got back from that trip in Ixtapa, Mexico or maybe he was just showing his grandkids how to slide down a snowy hill on a snow shovel. Dick Neuses is a jovial jokester that makes volunteer work seem like volunteer fun.

At the Red Cross, Dick helps with special events and he drives 2-3 times a week for transportation services. The Lakeland Chapter provides a unique service to its community with its transportation services, which is only possible because of volunteer drivers. The transportation services are provided to those 60 and over and to individuals with disabilities, allowing them to lead a fulfilling self-sufficient lifestyle.

Dick says the way the transportation group is structured is amazing. He finds the people at the Red Cross make it very easy to volunteer. “I like the people I work with and the people I serve.”

He must enjoy being involved in area organizations because he can be found helping out at many of them. Dick serves as a communion distributor and on the Parish Council and Finance Committee at SS Peter & Paul Parish in Green Bay. He volunteers at Bellin Health Events and the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. He was also associated with the Lions Club and the Green Bay Engineering Club.

Dick met his wife, Marie, on the 7 am bus (#30, Jackson/Downer to Capitol) in Milwaukee. He went to school for mechanical engineering and she was attending beauty school. You can tell that he is a lucky man by the smile on his face but she must be pretty lucky too because he is a great cook and a ballroom dancer.

Jody (Middle) Jennifer & Dick staffing the margarita at the 2009 Brown County Golf Outing

She was from Eagle River and he was from Manitowoc but they raised their family in Denmark. They live in Green Bay now. Dick worked in construction doing everything from heavy equipment operator to business owner.

He’s retired now but he says has flunked out of retirement four times. He still does construction/engineering consultation or finds a summer project. “I get the itch,” says Dick. “Every summer when the sun comes out, it gets greener and I start thinking about the work.”

Volunteer Director, Jody Weyers, recruited Dick to volunteer for the Red Cross after meeting him at the gym.  “It took a few coffee clutches, to finally get him in the door, but I knew driving would be good fit with Dick’s personality and humor,” said Weyers. “We are now working on Marie, to help drive.”

“Life’s been pretty good to me and it feels good to give a little something back,” says Dick.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Coleman

Welcoming Everyone with Open Arms

Bev and Jim

When Jim Coleman comes to the center to volunteer or to donate blood the staff and volunteers can always expect giant hugs and laughs from the 51-gallon blood donor. “As long as I can keep people smiling, it will keep my life worthwhile,” said Coleman.

April 19, Jim will be celebrating his 80th birthday, but you would never know this vibrant, energetic gentleman is hitting the 8-0 milestone. He says staying active and helping others contributes to his youthfulness.

This Green Bay native began his involvement with the Red Cross back in the 80’s while he worked at Northern Paper Mill. They needed volunteers to help at their company blood drives and Jim agreed to help. Before long Jim was volunteering at other community blood drives in the Green Bay area.

Jim Coleman all smiles and highly decorated with his gallon blood drop pins back in 2000

After retirement, Jim played an active role as a member of the High Gallon Advisory Committee (a volunteer blood leadership group) and volunteered where ever he was needed at the community blood drives.

Jim is a staple at Super Donor Days (a 2-day blood drive prior to the 4th of July holiday) for the past 15 years. He is in charge of the volunteers who help as donor room aide. It is their job to make sure the donors have an enjoyable and comfortable experience while donating. Jim is the ringleader in bringing a smile and a laugh to the donors and volunteers.

This jokester also has a softer side. After losing his wife of over 49 years back in 2000, Jim never really thought about meeting someone else. Then in 2004, a trip to one of his local dining spots changed his life. That is where he met Bev, who was a hostess at the restaurant where he frequented. His poetry and fun nature wooed her over and she says, “He is the best thing that has ever happen to me.”

In his free time he likes to play golf and spend time with his family when he can. His two great-grandsons, two granddaughters, daughter and son-in-law bring a smile to his face. When Jim is around the smiles are contagious.

Jim’s says it best in his poetry:

“Today while working at a Red Cross Blood Drive

I realized how great it is to be alive.

The blood they donated helps so many

And what they give does not cost a penny.

The friendship we share plus the smiles on each face

Shows me how wonderful it is to be part of the human race.”

– Jim Coleman

Volunteer Spotlight: Marcia Janezic

Marcia at the Packers Tailgate Tour in Marinette to benefit the Red Cross

Six years ago Marcia Janezic was asked to join the Marinette Menominee Board by a friend and board member who knew the board needed someone with her marketing background. Also serving on the fundraising committee seemed like a natural fit to her. Those who work with her recognize her passion.

“Marcia is always thinking outside the box,” says Debbie Haduch, Marinette/Menominee Area Director. “She’s thinking of ways we can express ourselves more and what steps we need to take to get to where we need to be.”

Marcia is Assistant Vice President of Marketing at Stephenson National Bank & Trust. She says her employer is very supportive of employee community involvement, which makes it easier for her to contribute time. Previously Marcia was the Director of Marketing and Development for Goodwill Industries.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Alma College in lower Michigan. She’s lived in the Detroit area twice along with Connecticut, Atlanta, and Milwaukee.

“Parenting is the toughest and most rewarding challenge ever,” says Marcia. She lives in Menominee with her 11-year old son. She says it was easier to volunteer when he was younger but his activities mean she is needed as chauffeur and as his cheerleader.

Marcia still manages to find time to be a kid with her son but also be a great role model in her community service. “My parents were great role models for “giving back to the community” and so I was involved in various service organizations while growing up,” says Marcia

When I moved back to the area, it was natural for me to get involved.  It’s easier in a smaller community to see the needs others have and discover ways you can volunteer,” says Marica.

Marcia serves the community as M&M Community Foundation Marketing Committee Chair, Leadership Academy Steering Committee and Blesch School volunteer.

When she finds some free time she might be waiting in line for a roller coaster with her son.  She also enjoys skiing, kayaking, sailing, reading, gardening, hiking and biking. Whether it’s for work or play, Marcia brings her passion for life.

Board Spotlight: Mike Gallagher

Mike Gallagher brings energy to his position on the Lakeland Chapter Board with a genuine interest in helping the American Red Cross. He is an active supporter through his help on the finance committee and with the Annual Door County Golf Event.

Eric Witczak, Vice Chair of Lakeland Chapter Board, suggested Mike for the Board and when he was looking for a good person for the Finance Committee he came up with Mike’s name again. “I don’t think I asked him. I think I volunteered him and he obliged,” says Eric.

“I suggested Mike because he seemed like a go-getter, one that doesn’t just sit back and watch others,” says Eric. “Mike gets involved, gets results and is always looking for ways to make the organization even better.”

In the past, Mike has demonstrated his commitment to community through participation in organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America and spending several years as co-chair of Schreiber’s community impact team.

Mike thinks helping those in need keeps him focused. “It makes you take a step back to realize there is more than oneself or the company you work for and to think about the community and make sure we are taking care of those in need.”

Mike says it’s a privilege to be part of some of the decision-making processes and to raise money for an organization as selfless as the Red Cross. He really enjoys working on projects and fundraisers that make a big impact because they help people when they need it.  “Due to the relatively small board, members can feel like they are making a tangible impact on an organization that benefits the community.”

“I have two nice kids and a wonderful wife,” says Mike. Mike and his wife, Melissa, have two boys who are 4 and 8. The family enjoys traveling and spending time together. Along with participating in the Boy Scouts, Mike also enjoys being an assistant coach depending on what his boys are involved in that season.

Mike w/ his team from the Red Cross Door County Golf Outing

Mike was raised in Green Bay down the street from his current employer. He didn’t grow up hearing much about his neighbor, Schreiber Foods, the world’s largest customer brand dairy company but it is a place that he can say he is proud to be. Its 100% employee-owned and helping neighbors in need is one of their core beliefs though they don’t always seek out recognition for their support. “People do the right thing because it’s in everyone’s best interest,” says Mike.

Mike is currently training for a half marathon and looking forward to the challenge of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. For those who may scoff at the idea of running, Mike says it’s really not that hard. “Its doing it incrementally that’s important. You start out with a mile or two miles and before you know it you’re running 11 or 12. You can run hard or at a moderate pace.”

Mike recommends the same approach to volunteering. “The best way to learn is to give it a try and apply yourself,” says Mike. “Sometimes it’s just getting your foot in the door.”

Any amount of time is noble. “Some months you can give a lot of time other months you can’t. With every organization I’ve worked with they are very understanding that people will give what they can and when they can’t there’s no shame in it.”

Mike says he finds it important to consider the efficiency of an organization and how much money is spent on overhead and administrative costs. “The Red Cross is lean and makes sure as much of the dollars that come in make it out to the community as possible. “

Mike is proud of the efforts of the Red Cross but he also enjoys his support. “If it’s not fun, you have to question why you are doing it. Its easy to get energized about something that benefits the community.”

UWGB Red Cross Club Help Clean-Up Downtown Green Bay

Earth Day is April 22nd, but some volunteers rolled up their sleeves a week early.

They got their hands dirty doing some spring cleaning around downtown Green Bay, picking up trash.

“It’s a good reminder to just take pride in the Earth around us and to do your part to clean up,” Megan Vanhulle of the Red Cross chapter at UW-Green Bay said.

Sam, Kalli, Megan, Jody, Trista, and Jess ready to clean up Downtown Green Bay

Sam picking up her first piece of trash

All Done!! Little windy, but a good day and the UWGB Red Cross Club was glad to help keep our Earth and Community Clean.

Day at the Capitol

The day at the Capitol involved American Red Cross representatives meeting with our State Senators and Representative to inform and promote Red Cross services and initiatives that impact people within our communities.  The primary focus was to educate and ask for their support pertaining to a bill which would include within the high school curriculum the opportunity for students to take CPR and AED education in order to save lives.

 

Left to Right in Photo: Ann Ginter, Kyle Kriegl, Diana Tatili, Tom Mooney, Barbara Behling, Dave Diestler, Amy Diestler, Molly Kelly, Lisa Rebman, Steve Maricque and Cheryl Hancock.

Prepare Now to Stay Safe During a Tornado

According to the National Weather Services, Wisconsin averages 21 tornadoes a year and the Northeast Wisconsin Region of the American Red Cross wants you and your loved ones to stay safe should a tornado hit your area.  

To remind people of the dangers associated with tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding and hail, Governor Doyle has proclaimed April 19-23, 2010 as Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin.

 “At the Red Cross, we hope that this week encourages people to take protective safety measures if a tornado or severe weather should occur.” said Regional Executive Director Steve Hansen. “We recommend that everyone take the following steps to be prepared: Get a plan; Make a kit; Be Informed.”

Prepare a home tornado plan

  • Pick a place where family members could gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
  • If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, bedding, or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.) 

 Stay tuned for storm warnings

  • Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
  • Know what a tornado WATCH and WARNING means:
    • A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible in your area.
    • A tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
  • Tornado WATCHES and WARNINGS are issued by county.

Tornado WATCH is issued

  • Listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.

Tornado WARNING is issued

  • If you are inside, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your area.
  • If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
  • If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety (as above).

After a tornado

  • Watch out for fallen power lines and stay out of the damaged area.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.
  • Do not use candles at any time.

For more information on tornadoes and other preparedness tips, check out the Preparedness section of redcross.org.

The Northeast Wisconsin American Red Cross is a regional grouping of six chapters serving 19 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters throughout the East Central Wisconsin, Fond du Lac County, Lakeland, Manitowoc/Calumet, Neenah-Menasha and Outagamie Chapters. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Northeast region at 920-231-3590 or visit www.newredcross.org

Congratulations to All the Nominees for the 2010 WPS Volunteer Awards

April 13, 2010 the Green Bay Community celebrated volunteerism at the 2010 WPS Volunteer Awards. There were over 150 volunteers nominated for seven different awards. The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter nominated board member, Chris Vanderheyden for the Schneider National Foundation Volunteer Leadership Award and volunteer transportation driver, Bob DeGroot, for the Associated Bank Heart of Golf Lifetime Achievement Award.

We are very proud of you both and all of our volunteers for your time and talents you share with the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter.

Bob and Karen DeGroot

Chris and Kathy Vanderheyden