Green Bay Blood Donors Help Save Lives Every Day

 Written by Kelcie C. McCrae

 World Blood Donor Day honors those who give while asking for more

Nearly 3,000 people around the world owe George Gantz and Bob Heiser thanks.

Dave Liethen, Donor Recruitment, (right) with George Gantz

For more than 50 years, this duo has donated roughly 125 gallons of blood and platelets combined at the American Red Cross in Green Bay. Each gallon could save as many as 23 lives, according to calculations by the Red Cross.

“It makes me feel good that I can be out there helping people and saving lives,” Heiser said. “I’m just doing my part for humanity.”

Today is World Blood Donor Day, which is aimed at honoring people who donate blood to help save lives. It also helps raise awareness about the importance of a stable supply of blood products for hospitals and patients, as well as to encourage more people to donate regularly.

World Blood Donor Day began in 2004 as an effort to promote voluntary blood donation.

“It’s a worldwide thing,” said Bobbi Snethen, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross. “But it really hits home when people donate locally.”

The Red Cross is especially thankful for donors like Gantz and Heiser, who give platelets. Platelets are an irregularly shaped body found in blood. They have a sticky surface that helps form clots to stop bleeding. People undergoing chemotherapy, organ and bone marrow transplants as well as victims of traumatic injuries have a weakened immune system, making them more likely to receive this type of donation.

Gantz and Heiser “encompass the spirit in what we do. We wouldn’t survive without guys like these,” Snethen said.

Heiser, 61, is a former employee of the Red Cross, an active volunteer at the center on Thursdays, and he is blind.

“Even though I don’t have vision, it doesn’t affect an area of volunteering that I really enjoy doing,” Heiser said. “It’s one of the best resources that we can give back to humanity.”

Bob answering phones at the front desk.

In 1975, when Heiser began working at the Red Cross in the transportation department, his boss made it clear that he would be giving blood.

Gantz, 73, had a similar demand from his employer in 1957 when he worked for Red Owl foods, a grocery store chain in the Green Bay area.

“There is such a need for it,” Gantz said. “Everybody knows someone with cancer or someone who has died from it. They need platelets, and I give it to them.”

Every other week, Gantz and Heiser travel together to the blood donation center in Green Bay to take part in their routine.

“They’re amazing gentleman,” said Jody Weyers, volunteer and communications director for the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross. “They’re outgoing, and times when they may be going through personal things, you would never know that because they’re willing to give, and are very upbeat.”

Gantz doesn’t expect to change his routine.

“As long as the good Lord gives me the health, I’m gonna keep giving,” he said. and follow her on Twitter @PGKelcieMcCrae.


Celebrate World Blood Donor Day by Giving Blood

June 14, 2011 is World Blood Donor Day – a day set aside to celebrate those who donate blood to help save lives without expecting anything in return. It is also a day to raise awareness about how a safe and stable supply of blood products is vital for hospitals and patients.

This year, World Blood Donor Day is focused on the need for more people all over the world to help save lives by volunteering to donate blood regularly. The slogan “More blood. More life.” was chosen to reinforce the important contribution that people everywhere can make by donating blood.

The American Red Cross reminds people that a safe and secure supply of blood products are universal necessities. Blood can be used for trauma victims, surgery and transplant patients, premature babies, when there are complications during childbirth, and for patients receiving treatment for cancer or other diseases.  For more information about World Blood Donor Day, visit

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information.

How to Help (and Not Hurt) When You Donate or Volunteer

Posted on National Red Cross Blog on June 7th, 2011 by Gloria Huang

This post is cross-posted from the UPS Blog. As a long-time partner of the American Red Cross and a member of the Annual Disaster Giving Program, UPS provides both financial support of our disaster response mission, and shipping assistance to get relief supplies where they are needed, when they are needed. One of our partners at the UPS Foundation, Joe Ruiz, wrote this blog post which identifies the challenges NGOs face with unsolicited donations of goods.

July 12, 2010 – American Red Cross Disaster Field Supply Center in Hattiesburg, MS. Red Cross volunteer Raymond Miller works with UPS volunteers Mellonese Lee, Vicki Bridges, Tom Scott, Trent Ward and John Williams to load pallets with cots that will be pre-positioned along the Gulf Coast.

I just returned from the annual meeting of the National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) in Kansas City, just hours from Joplin, Missouri. The outpouring of support from the public has been unbelievable. But based on feedback I heard from first responders at the meeting, unsolicited donations of water, clothes and other items have significantly challenged relief efforts. One relief organization told me they have thousands of cases of water in their warehouse. The AP highlighted this issue in a story about junk donations creating problems for relief agencies helping tornado victims in Alabama.

In my role with The UPS Foundation, I receive hundreds of calls asking for UPS to ship unsolicited goods. The challenge is that these donations don’t meet the needs of the relief agencies that are helping victims. UPS does not transport collected items from unsolicited donors for relief efforts. Instead, we’ve established in-kind agreements with relief organizations like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, CARE, UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the Aidmatrix Network. Our goal is provide logistics support to deliver the right items to the right place at the right time.

In 2010, UPS transported over 3 million pounds of urgent relief supplies for these agencies, and approximately $2 million in free shipping in response to disasters around the world.

When disaster strikes, compassion and concern often stir people to help. But what’s the best way to truly provide help … and not hurt relief efforts? Here’s what disaster relief agencies shared with me.

Donate Money

Financial contributions are often the best kind of donation to make. There are many relief organizations with considerable experience in areas such as clean-up, mass feeding, mass sheltering, first aid, crisis counseling, child care, home repair and pet care. When the public supports these organizations with financial donations, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster. The NVOAD offers a list of relief organizations involved in preparedness, prevention, response and recovery in the U.S at To learn more about relief organizations involved in international disasters, visit

If Donating Goods, Verify Items Will be Accepted and Used

Before taking action, contact a relief agency to confirm what items are needed. Do not begin collecting, packing or shipping until you have a known recipient who will accept the donation. It often takes a week before first responders can assess local needs after a disaster. The Aidmatrix Network connects donors to the needs of relief agencies who respond to disasters. Agencies post their needs on the site, so donors can match them. When donors match the items in demand, either the agency or UPS will provide priority transportation. Make sure shipments of donated goods are well packed and labeled. Put yourself in the shoes of the person on the receiving end of the shipment and think about making the unpacking, warehousing and distribution as simple as possible. For example, list contents on the outside of the box to make it easier to sort items.

If you are collecting goods, but don’t see a match at the Aidmatrix Network, consider holding a garage sale and donating the proceeds to the agency of your choice.

For Volunteers, Take Advantage of Disaster Assistance Training

Before the next disaster strikes, sign up for training. Volunteers are encouraged to affiliate with an organization involved in disaster response and recovery. Plan to be as self-sufficient as possible. If there is a volunteer center in the area, it is an excellent source of information about opportunities to help after a disaster. Check out

The generosity and kindness of people including our own customers does a lot to help communities heal from tragic consequences of disasters. However it’s important to first coordinate the help with experienced disaster relief organizations so that people in need of help receive it in the most timely and effective manner.

Red Cross Volunteer Gets Ready for Her Ninth National Disaster Assignment

Hope with her team that she worked closely with in Alabama, one month ago.

The American Red Cross has dispatched disaster volunteer, Hope Koestner, LPN, of Green Bay, to Springfield, Massachusetts to assist with the tornadoes that struck the East Coast almost one week ago.

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 tornadoes.

This will be Koestner’s ninth national disaster deployment. She assisted in 2005 for Hurricane Wilma, in 2008 she assisted for a tornado in Georgia, flooding and a tornado in Iowa. 2008 for Hurricane Gustav, 2009 Georgia floods and has only been back a couple of weeks from her deployment to Birmingham, Alabama to assist the people affected by tornadoes and storms.

Learn more about the destruction in Massachusetts by watching this short video.

Across the Country

The statistics below reflect total American Red Cross service deliveries since the beginning of major spring storm response on March 31st. This includes:

Tornadoes in Kentucky, Virginia, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, Massachusetts.

Flooding in Tennessee,Vermont, NewYork, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alaska, Montana, Oklahoma.

Wildfires inTexas

To date, the Red Cross has:

How to Help: The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like wildfires, floods and tornadoes, 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 or call 1-800-RED-CROSS, and 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 or join our blog at


Red Cross CPR Training Saves Lives

Have you called to schedule your CPR/AED Training? If not, what are you waiting for? You could save someone’s life!

Story by Andy Duchow, American Red Cross volunteer

June 1-7, 2011 is CPR/AED Awareness week.  It is a time where the Red Cross focuses on increasing awareness of the importance of CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training for saving lives in our communities. 

The importance of CPR training recently hit home for Holly Bauer, a Red Cross CPR instructor and School Nurse for the Weyawega – Fremont School District.  She recently held a class for district staff.  One of the people in attendance was the school secretary, who went home and told her sister some of the things she had learned. 

That Sunday, the secretary’s sister was in church when her 3 year old grandson started choking.  She remembered how her sister had demonstrated the use of back blows and was able to dislodge the candy her grandson was choking on. 

Each year more than 300,000 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest.  Having someone nearby trained in hands-only CPR could mean the difference between life and death for every one of them.

Hands-only CPR is a potentially life saving technique that uses no mouth to mouth contact.  For more information, please download a quick reference sheet for hands-only CPR here or visit the Red Cross site for training opportunities.

Only 30 minutes of time at one of the Citizen CPR classes offered through your local Red Cross chapter will prepare you with the knowledge and confidence to save lives.

Fond du Lac Fire Department Supports American Red Cross

Accepting a check for $3,119.50 from the proceeds of the Fond du Lac Fire Department Brat Fry is Sherry Holmes of the American Red Cross.  Making the presentation are Fire Chief Peter O’Leary and Engineer Troy Haase, coordinator for this year’s brat fry that was held on April 29.

The Red Cross Disaster Action Teams (DAT) have a long-standing partnership working to support the emergency response workers by providing food and beverages at the scene of a disaster in addition to the DAT primary purpose of providing assistance to those affected by a disaster. The annual brat fry has been Fire Department’s way to thank the Red Cross for their continuing partnership.

Twenty-One People Assisted from 12-unit Apartment Fire in Neenah on Thursday

Post fire 12-unit building on Harrison St in Neenah, June 2, 2011 Photo/Becky Tiles, American Red Cross

Thursday, June 2, the American Red Cross was called toHarrison St, inNeenahto assist the families affected by an early morning 12-unit apartment fire.

Seven volunteers assisted on scene. To-date we have assisted six families for a total of 21 people. We are waiting to hear from four additional families in the fire to see if they need our assistance.

 We helped the 21 people with their immediate emergency needs of housing, monetary assistance for clothes and food and comfort kits (which include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, facial tissue, deodorant, razors, shaving cream and lotion)

The Northeast Wisconsin Region is a grouping of four chapters serving 20 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Northeast region at 920-231-3590 or visit

Red Cross Responding To Northwest Flooding

Workers continue to help tornado victims in Midwest, South

cenes from Montana flooding 2011 disaster relief operation for the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross is responding as rising rivers force people from their homes in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, and Red Cross workers are preparing for additional flooding in several other northwestern states as rivers threaten to overflow their banks.

More than 200 people spent Tuesday night in Red Cross shelters in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. In Montana, Red Cross teams are assessing damage to homes, and the Red Cross and Southern Baptist Association are working together to provide food and water. Red Cross emergency response vehicles are distributing food throughout the affected neighborhoods. Additional Red Cross workers and equipment are en route to these areas in the Northwest.

Severely impacted is the Crow Nation in southeastern Montana, where 11,000 residents are dealing with flooding from the Little Big Horn River and dry creek beds that have become raging streams. Communities have flooded and roads are under water, leaving some residents stranded. The Red Cross is delivering food and water daily.

“Red Cross workers are helping people all across the country, from Montana to Alabama, and will be there helping in the weeks to come,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “Thousands of people’s lives have been changed by these disasters and we are helping them get back on their feet.”

In addition, a total of 200 people stayed Tuesday night in Red Cross shelters in Joplin,MO, Tuscaloosa,Ala. and Minneapolis, Minn.where deadly tornadoes devastated communities over the past several weeks. As part of these tornado responses, Red Cross workers are delivering meals and snacks as well as comfort and clean-up items, and operating emergency aid stations to provide health and mental health services.

Since March 31, the Red Cross has launched 36 large disaster response operations across 25 states, supported by more than 10,000 trained disaster workers from all 50 states. The Red Cross has served millions of meals and snacks and handed out millions of relief items like toothbrushes, shampoo, tarps, rakes and other clean-up supplies. More than 240 shelters have been opened as part of the relief effort, with the Red Cross providing 22,000 overnight stays. Red Cross health services and mental health services workers have provided more than 54,000 consultations.

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to get help to people affected by disasters. Please consider making a donation today to help to those in need. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter 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 or join our blog at

American Red Cross Deploys Local Volunteer to Joplin, MO

Joyce Petit, pictured here with John Schorse, has volunteered for the Red Cross for 27 years.

Berlin, WI, May 31, 2011 — American Red Cross volunteer Joyce Petit, of Berlin, will be leaving today at 4:00pm for Jopin, MO to help the people impacted by the devastating tornadoes to hit that area just over one week ago.

Joyce is assigned to go out to assist in client casework. As a client casework volunteer she will be working with individuals impacted by the disaster to determine their immediate emergency needs and provide assistances.

“Client Casework is an important activity for Red Cross,” said Nick Cluppert, Emergency Services Manager, EastCentral WI Chapter. “We provide people with assistance and walk them through the steps as they begin their road to recovery. Joyce Petit is a great volunteer and will no doubt bring lots of experience to this activity on her deployment.”

Joyce has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for 27 years and this is her 12th National Disaster Assignment. She has also assisted for the Terrorist attacks of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and Wilma and the 2008 Wisconsin Floods.

Joyce works part-time for Classic Cab, LTD in Berlin,WI.

Since the end of March, the Red Cross has launched 35 large disaster responses across 24 states reeling from the devastation left behind after this spring’s flooding and tornadoes. 

The Red Cross is helping people today and will still be providing assistance in the weeks to come.

Since March 31, American Red Cross has:

  • Served more than 2.3 million meals and snacks.
  • Opened more than 240 shelters and provided 22,000 overnight stays
  • Provided more than 53,000 mental health and health consultations
  • Handed out more than 1.2 million relief items like toothbrushes and shampoo, tarps, coolers, rakes and other clean-up supplies.
  • Deployed more than 10,000 trained disaster relief workers from all 50 states

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help people affected by disasters like these tornadoes and wildfires. You can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter 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 or join our blog at