Volunteers are ready for your call!!

Whether it’s a national disaster or a family emergency, the American Red Cross is always there to help.

And on Tuesday, May 24, WBAY-TV is asking its viewers to be there for the American Red Cross.

WBAY-TV is devoting the afternoon and night to promote the Red Cross and all it does locally and nationally.

Find out what you can do, how you can donate your time or money, to bolster local Disaster Relief funds and help the thousands of victims here at home, and across the country.

This special coverage begins with Action 2 News at Noon and a special half-hour program at 12:30.

We’ll have live reports every half-hour and throughout Action 2 News at Four, Five, Six, and Ten.

Please help us on this mission to turn HEARTBREAK to HOPE.

To make a donation call:  Call 920-436-9027 (local Green Bay) or 888-769-5511 to donate.

Abrams Firefighter asks Northeast WI to Invest In the Positive

With the recent storms across the nation and an unprecedented number of local disasters, the American Red Cross needs financial support and Rick Race, Assistant Chief and Training Officer with the Abrams Fire Department, is one of many stepping up to help. Last year the local firefighter and the Abrams Fire Department joined the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade to Benefit the American Red Cross as several fire departments asked their neighbors to invest in the positive.

The Abrams Fire Department was the only fire department with a collection site at a gas station and they took advantage of their unique location by pumping gas to increase donations. This year Abrams Fire Department is offering its support again and so is Race.

He will be assisting both  WBAY’s Heartbreak to Hope Telethon on Tuesday, May 24 and The Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade to Benefit the American Red Cross on Thursday, May 26 in an effort to ask the community to come to the aid of the American Red Cross so it can ensure programs that help individuals and families in times of disaster are appropriately funded.

Last year, we asked the Abrams Firefighter a few questions to learn why he supported the important fundraiser. Race has been a volunteer fire fighter in Northeast Wisconsin for 14 years. The first ten were with the Village of Howard Fire Department and now he is with the town of Abrams Fire Department.

When did you know you wanted to be a firefighter?About 14 years ago, after talking to a friend about his experience with the Howard fire department.

What do most people not know about your job? The amount of hours of training it takes to be a volunteer fire fighter.

What are you most proud of? The fact fact that I give back to the community by being there when they need me. Also, the training we do in the local grade school.

Why are you volunteering to participate in the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade? The Red Cross is always there when we call for the victims and for us so its my way of giving back for all they do.

What have you learned about the Red Cross by working with them? That there is a lot more going on behind the scene than anyone knows. Like the amount of time the volunteers put in to help people they don’t even know.

Who’s your Hero? And why? My dad, For teaching me to be a person and helping when needed.

Watch for Rick Race on WBAY’s Heartbreak to Hope Telethon. You will also find Rick Race and our other heroes at  the Firefighters’ Bucket Brigade for the American Red Cross on  May 26, 2011 – 4p.m.-7p.m.  

For more information and a list of Bucket Brigade locations across northeast Wisconsin, please visit http://www.newredcross.org.

Invest in the positive. Indulge in helping others

Disasters and the American Red Cross Bring the World Closer

By Marcie Kobriger, WBAY-TV 2 – Click HERE to see video of story

This most recent rash of severe weather has put an additional strain on an already strapped American Red Cross.

Although it’s hundreds of miles away from any recent tornado touchdowns, the Lakeland Chapter of the Red Cross is anticipating its response to the disasters.

Jody Weyers knows well, in times of disaster the world becomes a little smaller. As volunteer and communications director at the Lakeland Chapter, she’s been fielding phone calls from people ready to answer the call to volunteer and from local people worried about loved ones in areas devastated by recent severe weather.

While the situations in Joplin, Missouri, and Minneapolis are still unfolding, the local chapters are in a holding pattern.

“The American Red Cross is assessing exactly what the situation is, and then from there communication will go out to the chapters throughout the United States and we’ll determine what the needs are,” Weyers said.

With the death toll in Joplin rising, its already been determined a number of mental health workers will be needed on-site.

Two local volunteers who had been deployed to flooding in Louisiana are already on their way.

“Some of us will also be going into the neighborhoods to provide emotional support where the people are,” Shirley Senarighi told us by phone.

The Lakeland Chapter expects to mobilize more volunteers soon and is asking the people of Northeast Wisconsin to give – in order to help people here and those who may be closer than you think.

“People have loved ones all over. You think it’s so far away but it’s really not,” Weyers said.

The Heartbreak to Hope telethon for the American Red Cross starts on WBAY-TV 2 at noon and runs through 10:30 Tuesday, May 24.

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.