American Red Cross Responds to Deadly Midwest Tornadoes

 Editorial note: Call (202) 303-5551 to speak with an American Red Cross spokesperson.

An emergency vehicle drives through a severely damaged neighborhood in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (Charlie Riedel/AP Photo)

Just hours after a series of devastating tornadoes swept through the Midwest last night, the American Red Cross opened shelters in Missouri and Minnesota to help those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.   

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those who lost loved ones or have suffered through these deadly storms,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “The Red Cross already has people on the ground to help in these communities, and we have more on the way today.”

The American Red Cross opened a shelter in hard-hit Joplin,Missouri, shortly after the tornado struck on Sunday. That shelter, located at Missouri Southern State University, had approximately 110 people on Sunday night and can hold up to 1,000 people. The Red Cross is working with local officials inJoplinto arrange transportation to help get people to shelters and if necessary, identify additional shelter locations.

The Red Cross also opened a shelter in Minneapolis, where 200 people spent the night following the tornadoes there.

Currently, hundreds of relief supplies are being moved from Red Cross warehouses toJoplinand other affected areas. These supplies include comfort kits, tarps, coolers, rakes and other cleanup supplies. The Red Cross is also sending in additional staff, concentrating particularly on trained health and mental health workers.

Red Cross emergency response vehicles are already responding inMissouri, helping to transport supplies to the shelter. More vehicles are headed to the area today. In addition, a Red Cross emergency communications vehicle is being sent in due to damage sustained on area infrastructure.

The Red Cross encourages people to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website to let loved ones know they are safe by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). From a smart phone, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell and click on the “List Yourself as Safe and Well” or “Search for Friends and Family” link.

People in the affected areas can list themselves as “safe and well” on the Safe and Well site. Friends and family outside the disaster area can then search for messages from their loved ones by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address. Safe and Well also enables disaster survivors to update their Facebook and Twitter status through the website.

As the Red Cross responds in the Midwest, it continues its relief operations across the South in response to April’s tornadoes and the continued flooding along theMississippi River. This spring, more than half of the country has been affected by damaging weather, disrupting people’s lives fromNorth Dakotato the East Coast. Since March 31, Red Cross disaster workers have provided thousands of overnight stays in shelters, distributed thousands of cleanup and comfort kits and served more than 1.8 million meals and snacks.

The Red Cross is able to respond quickly when emergencies happen with the help of corporations who are members of the organization’s Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). ADGP members pledge donations on an ongoing basis to allow the Red Cross to pre-position supplies and be ready to take immediate action when disasters occur.

Members of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program are 3M, Altria, Aon, Cisco Foundation, ConAgra Foods, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kraft Foods, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target, The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, UPS and Walmart.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and wildfires, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; people can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

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

Bay Harbor Elementary School in Little Suamico collect “Cans for Japan.”

The 396 students from Bay Harbor Elementary School in Little Suamico collected “Cans for Japan.”  Sadoff Iron & Metal Company was their recycling partner and matched the students’ collections.  Together they gave $1,000 for disaster relief for the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami! 

Students learned about the importance of recycling while they collected 200 pounds of cans – 7200 cans!  Meghan Van Iten organized the collection.  Kyle Seick is the principal.  Jason Lasky, one of the owners of Sadoff, was on hand at the check presentation.  Sadoff also gave $1,000 to the BayHarborSchoolfor technology. 

In photo: Bay Harbor Elementary School.  (l-r) Mauree Childress, Meghan Van Iten, Jason Lasky, Kyle Seick

Fond du Lac High School Percussion Concert

Dr. Vicki Jenks, board member of the East Central Chapter of the American Red Cross, welcomed the audience at the 5th annual percussion ensemble performance held on Wednesday, May 18, 2011.  

Looking on were volunteer Elizabeth Stanchfield and Lisa Stanchfield, program services coordinator for the Red Cross Fond du Lac office.

 The donations received at this year’s event, totaling $176, were given to the Red Cross chapter as part of the Heroes campaign to support disaster relief efforts by the local Red Cross chapter. The percussion student concert, under the direction of Scott Elford, featured solos and ensembles. Elford, percussion instructor at Fond du Lac High School, said he was inspired to do something for the Red Cross because of his former music professor, Vicki Jenks of Wild Rose, who is a member of the Disaster Action Team of East Central Wisconsin.

Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade Spotlight on Lt. Mark Stahnke and Carmen Bierstaker

When local fire departments heard the American Red Cross needed help raising funds they stepped up to support the efforts again. This year increased need has exhausted the disaster response budget so their efforts are much needed. Local firefighters and American Red Cross volunteers have partnered together to ask the community to “invest in the positive” at the Firefighter’s Bucket Brigade for the American  Red Cross on Thursday, May 26, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. These dedicated partners, that support their neighbors in times of disaster, are partnering up to ask their community to be Heroes during this fundraiser.

We always want to know more about our heroes and partners so this year we are spotlighting supporting firefighters and  Red Cross Disaster volunteers. You might only see these partners together during a disaster response or during the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade for the American Red Cross so we are happy they  took the time to answer our questions.

Lt. Mark Stahnke  has been with the Green Bay Fire Dept  as firefighter/paramedic for 18 years and was kind enough to answer our questions. 

When did you know you wanted to be a firefighter? After college, I continued my education and training in the fire and medical field; hoping that some day I would be able to  serve on a department in Wisconsin.

What do most people not know about your job? Time that is spent on public assistance. Helping  people in the community at all hours of the day and night with any problem big or small.

What are you most proud of?  Peoples lives that have been changed with the help of EMS/FIRE.

Why are you volunteering to participate in the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade? Helping with the Bucket Brigade is a chance to help others in there time of need outside the community.

(editorial note: All the funds raised during this fundraiser will stay right here to support programs in Northeast Wisconsin.  It is important to know that the training and support that prepares our volunteers to help their neighbors for local disasters also trains them to be ready to help our neighbors around the world in times of need)

What have you learned about the Red Cross by working with them? The Red Cross is a dedicated and professional organization and has always provide help to the GBFD when help was requested.

Who’s your Hero? And why? I really don’t have a hero.

Carmen Bierstaker of Green Bay, WI has been an American Red Cross volunteer for 4 years and was happy to share a bit about herself and her support.

What inspired you to volunteer for the Disaster Team? Volunteering is very rewarding for me.  To be able to help families when they have just lost their homes, to comfort them, to guide them to take the next step to rebuild their lives. To see and hear the appreciation means alot to me.

What would you tell someone who’s thinking of being an American Red Cross Volunteer? I continue to get the word out to the community with my volunteering, they do not realize what all the Red Cross does.  They are amazed at all of the services we provide: Disaster Services, Transportion & Blood.

What do most people not know about you? Most people do not know that many of the Disaster volunteers work full-time at other jobs and are not paid employees.  I am an accountant and during the summer my boss allows me the flexability to take time off and be available for deployment if needed both locally and nationally

What are you most proud of? I am most proud of the group of Disaster Volunteers that I call my Red Cross family.  It is a great group that I’m proud to be a part of.

Who’s your Hero? And why? My Mom is my hero.  She is the rock of our family and the one that has taught me compassion for others.

Thank you to our heroes for answering our questions and for your service to your community.

To find where to spot on of our heroes, at a Firefighter’s Bucket Brigade location, please visit www.newredcross.org.

Tune in to WBAY on Tuesday, May 24 – Heartbreak to Hope Telethon

With the recent storms across the nation and an unprecedented number of local disasters, the American Red Cross needs financial support. WBAY (ABC) is hosting a “Heartbreak to Hope” telethon to support Red Cross disaster relief efforts. Noon – 10:30 p.m.

Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade Spotlight on Chuck Butler and Jan Traversa

When local fire departments heard the American Red Cross needed help raising funds they stepped up to support the efforts again. This year increased need has exhausted the disaster response budget so their efforts are much needed. Local firefighters and American Red Cross volunteers have partnered together to ask the community to “invest in the positive” at the Firefighter’s Bucket Brigade for the American  Red Cross on Thursday, May 26, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. These dedicated partners, that support their neighbors in times of disaster, are partnering up to ask their community to be Heroes during this fundraiser.

We always want to know more about our heroes and partners so this year we are spotlighting supporting firefighters and  Red Cross Disaster volunteers. You might only see these partners together during a disaster response or during the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade for the American Red Cross so we are happy they  took the time to answer our questions.

Chuck Butler, Deputy Chief, has been with the City of Sheboygan Fire Department for 17 years and was kind enough to answer our questions.

When did you know you wanted to be a firefighter? I decided that I wanted to be a firefighter in about 1984.  I had a college friend who was a volunteer firefighter in his own community.  It seemed like something I would enjoy and would also be a way to help those in need.

What do most people not know about your job? A large part of our job as firefighters is not only reacting to emergency situations, but proactively planning for trends in the emergency business.  This involves community assessments, code development and enforcement, cooperative planning with many other community organizations and also educating the public to help them better avoid emergency situations and how to react to them should they occur.

What are you most proud of?  I am most proud of our department’s commitment to providing a quality service to the public.

Why are you volunteering to participate in the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade? I am participating in the Bucket Brigade campaign as a way to continue to foster relations with the Red Cross to ensure a good working relationship between our organizations and to help the Red Cross raise needed funds for those impacted by world and domestic events. (editorial note: All the funds raised during this fundraiser will stay right here to support programs in Northeast Wisconsin.  It is important to know that the training and support that prepares our volunteers to help their neighbors for local disasters also trains them to be ready to help our neighbors around the world in times of need)

What have you learned about the Red Cross by working with them? I have learned a great deal about the Red Cross since I began working with the organization.  Primarily,  their commitment to providing needed services to many in need on their worst day.

Who’s your Hero? And why? I do not have any particular hero.  I have been affected and inspired by the actions of many people in many different situations throughout my life.

Jan Traversa lives in Pulaski, WI with her husband of 39 years and has been a DAT Team member with the American Red Cross for 10 years. She let us catch up with her for a few questions.

What inspired you to volunteer for the Disaster Team? When 9/11 happened I was in total shock. I just wanted to reach out to each and every one of those devastated people and do something to ease their pain. When I realized I couldn’t just pick up and go there I discovered the Red Cross. Through them I COULD go and help. I joined, took the required classes and in November through Thanksgiving I spent 22 days in New York helping to do just that, ease their pain.

What would you tell someone who’s thinking of being an American Red Cross Volunteer? If you have ever felt the need to help someone in any way at all…join the Red Cross. I have never felt so much satisfaction in my life. If you don’t feel like you can go a long way from home for an extended period of time… that’s okay, there are so many other things that you can do right here at home. The possibilities are endless. Just join.

What impact have you seen in your community because of American Red Cross Services? In my community alone, you can see how much the Red Cross has helped so many. By my living in the community, when disaster strikes I am right there to help and support the housing, clothing and feeding needs of a family who has just experienced a devastating loss. We have our own Red Cross vehicle and volunteer drivers to take our citizens to important appointments and of course the Pulaski Fire Dept who helps support our cause by helping with the Bucket Brigade.

What do most people not know about you? What people might not know about me is…I have a ‘bucket list’ of occupations I wish to do before I retire. I have accomplished many of them but I have several more to try.

What are you most proud of? What I am most proud of is my family. I have 3 beautiful daughters and 5 grand children and they are all truly a blessing. I am most proud that my 11 1/2 year old grand daughter Emily is following in my footsteps by volunteering when and where she can with the Red Cross. She has helped entertain the troops children while awaiting their return, face painted at the Flambeau Leap, passed out candy at the parade, collected money at the Bucket Brigade and this 4th of July will help set up the food tent downtown for Fire Over the Fox. She can’t wait to be 18 and a full fledged member. We all have so much; I want my grandkids to see how important it is to share and give back and to just be there for anyone and everyone who needs a hand.

Who’s your Hero? And why? My hero would have to be my husband, Jerry. I would not be able to accomplish any of my dreams without his TOTAL support. He and my children have always been there for me no matter what I wanted to do. They did say I couldn’t be gone over Thanksgiving again because the Stove Top Stuffing just didn’t do it but they all manage to pull together and get through it when “Mom’s deploying again.” No matter what, Jerry was there, There were times that I really couldn’t afford to take off a couple weeks to deploy but he always said we would find a way, I would find loving messages in my suit cases wishing me well and assuring me he would take care of everything while I was away. My children are frightened for me while I am gone but they understand how important it is for me to help.

My dream is for my husband to also join the Red Cross so we can deploy together like so many of my teammates but for now he says he will just keep the home fires burning waiting for my return. He is truly the best and I couldn’t do what I love without him.

Thank you to our heroes on the scene and behind the scenes. 

To find where to spot on of our heroes, at a Firefighter’s Bucket Brigade location, please visit www.newredcross.org.

Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade Spotlight on Matt Wiessman and Tricia Schnettler

When local fire departments heard the American Red Cross needed help raising funds they stepped up to support the efforts again during a time when increased need has exhausted the disaster response budget here in Northeast Wisconsin. Local firefighters and American Red Cross volunteers have partnered together to ask the community to “invest in the positive” at the Firefighter’s Bucket Brigade for the American  Red Cross on Thursday, May 26, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. These dedicated partners, that support their neighbors in times of disaster, are partnering up to ask their community to be Heroes during this fundraiser.

We always want to know more about our heroes and partners so this year we are spotlighting supporting firefighters and  Red Cross Disaster volunteers. You might only see these partners together during a disaster response or during the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade for the American Red Cross so we are happy they took the time to answer our questions. Our first two heroes, Matt Weissman and Tricia Schnettler, were inspired by parents to be heroes.

Matt Wiessman, Firefighter at the Village of Howard Fire Department, is our first 2011 firefighter spotlight. Matt has been with the Village of Howard Fire Department for a year and been a firefighter for eight.

When did you know you wanted to be a firefighter? I knew I wanted to be a firefighter since I was little and had my first toy fire truck.  As I got older the influence of my cousin, a firefighter in AZ, instilled the desire in me to continue my dream.

What do most people not know about your job? Often times people think that we just put out the fires and go home.  However there is a lot more behind the scenes than people think; countless hours of training, preparing for different fire scenarios, working with the community, time spent away from our families & supporting other organizations.

What are you most proud of?  I am most proud of being a part of the Howard Fire Department and feeling the camaraderie of the community & fellow firefighters.

Why are you volunteering to participate in the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade? It is such an important event for us as part of the community to give back and help others when they are in need.  I feel the Bucket Brigade is something little I can do to show my support and raise awareness in my area.

What have you learned about the Red Cross by working with them? The Red Cross is an organization that provides so many services for people in need at unexpected times.  At the same time they help make our jobs as firefighters easier by supporting us while we do our job and continue to take care of those family’s external needs.

Who’s your Hero? And why? The Hero in my life would have to be my father. He is a strong minded, multi-talented person who, no matter what, never gives up on the things he wants out of life. He has always said to me, “You can be or do whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it.”

Tricia Schnettler, from Sheboygan Falls,  joined the American Red Cross as a volunteer 6 months ago.

What inspired you to volunteer for the Disaster Team? I was inspired to join the Disaster Team because I have always enjoyed helping people and this gives me the opportunity to do that.

What would you tell someone who’s thinking of being an American Red Cross Volunteer? Volunteering with the Red Cross is an excellent opportunity to give back to our community and help people in need. There is no greater reward in life than knowing that you can make a difference.

What impact have you seen in your community because of American Red Cross Services? I have seen first hand the assistance that the Red Cross provides to people affected by fires, storms, flooding, or whatever disaster may occur. It’s great to know that we have the Red Cross support in our community to help out when it’s needed.

What do most people not know about you? One thing most people don’t know about me is that my husband and I are sponsors for a little girl in Haiti. It’s a great feeling knowing that we are making a difference in her life.

What are you most proud of? I would have to say that I am most proud of being able to help others. Not only do I volunteer for the Red Cross but I also volunteer for other organizations and events in the area. I have always felt the need to put others first and do whatever I can big or small to help people in need.

Who’s your Hero? And why?I have two heroes in my life and they are my parents. My parents have been the best role models anyone could ever ask for. They taught me to be the person that I am today.

Thank you Matt and Tricia for your time and dedicationAlso … many thanks to the heroes that inspire you to be heroes.

To find where to spot on of our heroes, at a Firefighter’s Bucket Brigade location, please visit www.newredcross.org.

More Red Cross volunteers head south

23 Northeast Wisconsinites currently deployed

Click on the photo to see video of this story.

Flooding of the lower Mississippi River is getting worse, though much of Memphis was spared Tuesday.

Water flooded low-lying areas and submerged some homes.

Officials are cautiously optimistic that levees will hold, preventing widespread damage.

However volunteers, including some from Northeast Wisconsin, are pouring in to assist.

The American Red Cross says it now has 23 people from our area in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.

They’re helping with a previous disaster and the current one.

“People losing loved ones or neighbors that they’ve know for ages,” volunteer Joyce Keyes said. “You know they really get to you and you feel a lot of empathy for their loss.”

Keyes is stationed in North Central Alabama, one of the areas hit hardest by tornados in late April.

“The houses are just totally leveled the trees are stripped and broken,” she explained.

Luckily the area she’s in is not dealing with flooding.

As a mental health professional, her focus is on helping disaster victims deal with their emotional wounds.

Steven Maricque, Executive Director of the the Red Cross’s Lakeland Chapter, says people like Keyes are in demand right now.

Two more mental health workers from the area will leave for the South next week.

But, Maricque says all eyes are on Mississippi.

“It’s a fluid situation that develops day to day based on how that water is moving,” he said. “Do we get additional rainfall that might require more people?”

Maricque says the chapter’s emergency response vehicle is in Memphis with volunteers.

But the situation is taxing resources.

“We support and provide relief for over 75,000 disasters a year in this country, but the neighborhood fires the family fires those don’t stop,” Maricque said.

The Red Cross is hoping donations won’t either.

Agency efforts in the Alabama and Mississippi tornados are expected to cost $30 million, and the total is rising with the river in Tennessee.

 

 

American Red Cross extends CPR certification period

Written by Pete Bach Post-Crescent staff writer

Marsha Schanke (left), of Appleton, participates in a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course Wednesday at the American Red Cross in Appleton. / Post-Crescent photo by Dan Powers

The American Red Cross has extended its CPR certification from one year to two, the biggest change in certification requirements in Red Cross history.

“It’s to encourage more community members to get certified and also to better serve our existing clients,” said Tony Gonzalez, executive director of the Outagamie County Red Cross chapter. “It also includes free digital materials, and because of those changes we’re able to contain costs and reduce costs to our customers.”

The new training format covers the 20-county Northeast Wisconsin Region of the American Red Cross, which includes a wide swath of the Fox Valley and beyond. The region trains about 56,000 people a year in various settings and situations.

Students who sign up for the lifesaving curriculum at the Red Cross include emergency personnel, corporations, health care providers, chiropractic and child caring institutions, industrial organizations, parents of young children and caregivers with responsibility for an elderly parent.

The certification change is sitting well with students.

“They’re very pleased,” said health and safety director Carrie Powell. “The courses are a little shorter. A person can take the complete class in about 6½ hours. Before, it would take them almost nine. It’s not a huge investment of time for the amount of information they walk away with.”

The new training format emphasizes skills and hands-on techniques needed to resuscitate an individual or use an AED — or automatic external defibrillator — to re-establish a healthy heart rhythm.

Students can take courses at the Outagamie chapter office at 1302 E. Wisconsin Ave., participate in a “blended learning” format that offers part of the course online and the skills portion at the chapter office, or in some case undergo training at the job site.

The charge for training ranges from $45 to $70.

Red Cross instructors are employed at the companies where they teach.

Bob Mayer of Appleton, one of the chapter’s volunteer instructors, has plenty of firsthand experience about the value of CPR and other life-saving measures.

Mayer, 53, has a background in the fire service and law enforcement, and served as an emergency medical technician in southern Wisconsin and Arkansas.

“When I worked for the fire department, I rode an ambulance. I can’t honestly say how many times I did CPR and revived someone with a combination of CPR and AED,” he said.

“I’m teaching others how to go out and save a life. And the more people we teach, the more lives we’re going to save,” Mayer said. “To me, it’s a blessing. It’s an opportunity I can touch who knows how many lives.”

Pete Bach: 920-993-1000, ext. 430, or pbach@postcrescent.com

Heroes come in all sizes

(l-r) Morgan (12), Georgia (9) and Bailey (14)

Friday, night June 11, 2009 was a special “Mommies girl’s night” for Pamela Benson-Pauzé and her daughter Georgia, age 9, while her other two daughters, Bailey, age 14, and Morgan, age 12, were both at a friend’s house for an end of school year sleep over. This night filled with facials, laughs and movies ended with Pamela and Georgia falling happily asleep on the couch not knowing the next day their lives would be dramatically changed.

On Saturday morning Pamela was up early putting laundry in the dryer and talking to her Mom on the phone while Georgia was fast asleep. Pamela heard the smoke detector go off, but attributed it to moisture in the duplex as it has gone off several times before. She looked around and smelled a faint smell of smoke coming from the laundry room.

How fast one’s life can change in a minute and a half – that is all it took from smelling smoke to having a black cloud fill their home. Pamela through Georgia out of the house and told her to go to the neighbors, she called 911 and got out of the house herself. There she stood in shock as six fire trucks from De Pere were there in front of what was her home with her three beautiful daughters.

Pamela called her mother back to tell her what had happen and called Bailey and Morgan to tell them to stay where they were. Bailey knew she could not stay away; she had to be there with her Mom and sisters.

“It was really scary,” said Bailey. “There were trucks and police cars still there after I had come home.” With the fire extinguished the family waited outside their home to see if they could find their cat.

“While we waited a lady with the Red Cross came up with bags filled with little things like deodorant, toothpaste, Mickey Mouse stuffed animals,” said Bailey. “I was like wow, and it gave me a little sense of hope that even though most of our stuff was ruined, we could still go on from where we were.”

The Red Cross had set them up with a hotel for a few days, monetary assistance for clothes and groceries and homemade quilts.

“That little bag and those quilts meant so much and having a place to stay to regroup and figure things out, it means a lot having someone do that for us.” said Bailey.

Inside the kitchen after the fire.

Two and ½ years later settled into their new duplex and reflecting back on their experience Bailey wanted to give others hope. “Knowing all I know about the whole experience, I want to give back the kindness that was given to me, and help raise money for other house fire victims,” said Bailey.

That’s exactly what she’s doing. She has started distributing donation boxes at area De Pere businesses who will keep them up for the next month. She is also taking up a collection at her West De Pere Middle School. All the donations Bailey collects will go to the American Red Cross for other fire victims, like her, so they can also have hope.

“All our possessions were smoked damaged and we wouldn’t have them, and even though the possessions were a big thing – it was just amazing that we got each other and to be able to stay together as a family and survive that experience has been really amazing – for every family to feel like that would be amazing,” said Bailey.

Pamela agrees with how important family is. “It’s ok as long as we have each other, we would be happy in a card board box, as long as we are together.”

It is that togetherness and strength that has gotten the Pauzé family through all the challenges and struggles they have had to face. To this day, they continue to keep their “girls night” of food, fun while enjoying each and every moment together.

The American Red Cross was there for the Pauzé family, but Pamela, Bailey, Morgan and Georgia are the real heroes in this story.