Green Bay Packers Honor Red Cross Volunteers Statewide

Editorial note: Please contact your local American Red Cross office regarding local participation. Check out our blog for pre and post event video and photos at

photo courtesy

The American Red Cross is proud to be the Green Bay Packers Honored Charity at the August 6, 2011 Packers Family Night practice. Volunteers and staff from around the state will be traveling to Lambeau Field as the Packers have donated 1,000 tickets and commemorative t-shirts for the evening.

The Red Cross was chosen as a the honored charity for their life-saving work around the clock, not only here in Wisconsin, yet around the country. Each local Chapter ensures they have a trained core of volunteers whom respond to nearly 70,000 disasters a year. While most are local residential fires, many volunteers make them selves available for up-to three week deployments to serve along-side Red Crossers from around the country at any large scale disaster. Since March 31, 2011, the American Red Cross has supported:

  • 46 large relief operations in 29 states (including Wisconsin)
  • 13,300 workers deployed to help those affected
  • 283 shelters opened
  • 3.2 million meals and snacks served
  • 1.5 million relief items distributed
  • 75,000 mental health and health consultations provided
  • $51 million is the estimated cost to the Red Cross to respond to the spring disasters

Volunteers are the heart and sole of the organization. For 40 recently deployed volunteers, they will serve as on-field ambassadors as the team leaves the tunnel and enter Lambeau Field for the first time this season.

With three to six major hurricanes predicted this year in the Atlantic Ocean, the Red Cross is pre-positioning relief supplies like cots, blankets, and ready-to-eat meals in key hurricane prone areas to quicken relief responses should a tropical storm threaten. 

For more information about the American Red Cross please visit your local Chapter or the Northeast Wisconsin Region blog at Local Chapter Executives will all be available for local interviews. 

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 national blog at

Gail McGovern: Latest Visit to Haiti

Editor’s note: On July 21 and 22, American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern traveled to Port-au-Prince, her fifth visit to Haiti since last year’s devastating earthquake. Here are some observations from the trip.

Every time I make a trip to Haiti, it looks a little bit better. On this visit, I’ve sensed a real feeling of optimism. There’s a returning sense of normalcy, less rubble, and signs of rebuilding. I also saw fewer people in the camps, and the numbers bear it out. People are moving from under tarps, into homes and getting on with their lives.

What the American Red Cross is doing in Haiti is very much in the spirit of building back better.

On Friday I attended a meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission. President Martelly was at that meeting, and shared with us the details of his 100-day plan. Among other things, it focuses on systematic ways to move people out of six camps and into neighborhoods. The plan seems reasonable and feasible, and I was certainly impressed with the presentation.

The American Red Cross and our partners in the Red Cross network have decided to allocate funds to relocate about 900 families from one of the makeshift camps, as part of the 100-day plan. We’ll do this through a combination of new home construction, repair of damaged homes and economic support to renters.

What the American Red Cross is doing in Haiti is very much in the spirit of building back better. The global Red Cross network has also committed to helping 30,000 families transition out of camps and into safer homes. That work is well underway, and more than 12,000 families have been helped. Semi-permanent houses are going up and there are smiles on the faces of recipients. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

The next step in our housing strategy is more ambitious. We’re planning on repairing and potentially building permanent homes. In fact, one of our stops on this trip was at a housing exposition in Port-au-Prince. President Martelly and Bill Clinton – who’s co-chair of the recovery commission – attended the expo as well. About 60 different construction companies were there showing their designs. We’re putting together a request for proposals to evaluate which options are best for us.

Building permanent communities will be harder, and will take longer. It will involve not just the homes themselves, but a whole series of interconnected services, from water and sanitation to roads. We’re talking about a massive urban renewal program that’s going to take years to complete. Our hope to create sustainable change in Haiti.

When I look at the Haitians, I see people who are hopeful, optimistic and resilient. They’re industrious and entrepreneurial. But Haiti is a challenging place too. It’s going to be complex to get all this done in an equitable way. Despite the challenges, I truly do have a feeling of optimism.


American author Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) in 1918, dressed in the uniform of an ambulance driver for the International Red Cross during World War I, where he was stationed on the Italian front. On July 8 he was seriously wounded by mortar fire. Despite his wounds, Hemingway carried an Italian soldier to safety, for which he received the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. He sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs, underwent an operation at a distribution center, spent five days at a field hospital, and was transferred to the Red Cross hospital in Milan for a six-month period of recuperation.

Photo: Ermeni Studios; Restoration: Beao

Somalia: malnutrition brings children to the brink of death

Geneva/Nairobi (ICRC) – The nutritional state of children under five years of age in central and southern Somalia is a cause for great alarm.

Levels of malnutrition have reached a new peak and are currently the highest in the world, said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today. In some parts of Somalia, the number of children with severe acute malnutrition has almost doubled since March.

“A dramatic increase in cases of malnutrition can be observed even in the Bay and Lower Shabelle regions, usually described as the country’s breadbaskets, where nearly 11 per cent of children under five suffer from severe acute malnutrition,” said Andrea Heath, the ICRC’s economic-security coordinator for Somalia.

The ICRC assessment includes data from 39 clinics and 18 outpatient therapeutic feeding centres. The facilities are run by the Somali Red Crescent Society with support from the ICRC.

“These deeply disturbing findings show that the population is no longer able to cope with harsh climate conditions, such as the current drought, while at the same time struggling to survive armed conflict and other violence,” said Ms Heath. “The groups hardest hit are rain-fed farmers and pastoralists who have not been able to gain access to alternative pastureland. Significant crop failures, very high livestock losses, increased food prices, recurrent fighting and the absence of humanitarian aid are the main reasons that an already desperate situation has become even worse in many parts of central and southern Somalia.”

As a first step in responding to the crisis, the ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent will expand services in existing outpatient therapeutic feeding centres and health-care facilities. Ten new feeding centres will be opened in Bakool, Gedo and the Afgoye corridor. Additional mobile teams made up of nurses and nutritional specialists will visit people in the areas worst affected. In addition, a new feeding programme supplementing the regular therapeutic feeding will be launched for malnourished children under five and other vulnerable groups, such as pregnant and lactating women.

Since October 2010, the ICRC has distributed emergency supplies to half a million people throughout Somalia and has delivered water to almost a million.

For further information, please contact:
Yves van Loo, ICRC Somalia, tel: +254 272 3963 or +254 736 084 015
Anna Schaaf, ICRC Nairobi, tel: +254 20 2723 963/4 or +254 722 51 27 28
Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17


Treacherous Heat Lingers

A dangerous heat wave is covering a large part of the country, from North Dakota to Texas and is expected to move eastward as the week goes on. The American Red Cross encourages people to take steps to safely endure the soaring temps.

With a heat index making it feel as hot as 110 degrees in some areas, the hot weather has closed down government buildings, damaged crops and caused numerous water main breakages. Weather experts are predicting the excessive heat will move east and cook the country through the end of July.

The extreme temperatures can feel like walking into a wall of heat when venturing outside. Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. To help avoid problems, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes. 

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

Heat stroke is life-threatening. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or you can cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

People should get ready to deal with the heat now. Follow these additional steps to stay safe during the heat:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.  
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
  • Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Ensure they have water and a shady place to rest
Learn more on how to prevent and respond to heat emergencies by taking first aid and CPR training. Contact your local Red Cross or visit to schedule a class.

For more information on what to do during this heat wave, visit the Red Cross web site.

Paying it Forward and Giving Hope to Others!

Eighth grader Bailey Pauze wanted to raise funding for the local Red Cross because the Disaster Action Team of Red Cross volunteers had helped her family due to a house fire.  She said the Red Cross gave her a comfort care kit that had a toothbrush, toothpaste and other personal care items.  The Red Cross gave a place to stay and support.  Bailey said, “The Red Cross gave us hope when we had lost everything.” 

In April, Bailey contacted the Red Cross because she wanted to “pay it forward” as part of a school project at West De Pere Middle School.  She wanted to help other families who were affected by a fire.  So she put donation boxes in area businesses including:  Luna Coffee, Mr. Gingers, West De Pere Middle School. Assemblage Studio, and Wisconsin Wireless.  Through her efforts, the businesses, and generous people, she presented $335 to the Red Cross Green Bay office.  Bailey said, “Now, other families will also get hope after a fire.” 

To read more about Bailey and her families story click HERE.

American Red Cross Expert’s Advise on Staying Cool in Record-breaking Heat

In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. As temperatures and humidity levels soar in many parts of the country, protecting yourself and others from overheating is critical to avoid a potential heat-related illness. Here are some easy tips for staying safe during heat waves, courtesy of Dr. David Markenson, chair, American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council.


  • Never leave a child or pet in a parked car – even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees.


  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol that dehydrate the body.


  • Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing in layers. Avoid dark colors that absorb the sun’s rays.


  • If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks to hydrate and cool yourself. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.


  • Protect your self from sun exposure even on cloudy or hazy days. In addition to dressing for heat, apply a broad-spectrum (protection against both UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen and reapply as indicated, wear eye protection (wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection) and wear a wide-brimmed hat.


  • Be a good neighbor. Check in on the elderly, young children and pets to make sure they are not suffering from the heat.


Additional heat safety tips are available on Learn how to prevent and treat heat-related illnesses by attending a Red Cross First Aid course. Contact your local Red Cross or visit for details or to register.

Thank you to Westside Tire in Oshkosh for being a Hero to the Red Cross.

In photo: (l-r) Dan Morrill, Chapter Board Member, Travis Duchatschek, Owner, Westside Tire and Steve Hansen, Regional Director

Wanted: Blood Donors

The Red Cross has issued an appeal for blood donors of all types due to a critical blood shortage across our nation.

In May and June, donations were at the lowest level the Red Cross has seen in this timeframe in over a dozen years, while demand for blood products remained steady. Because of that, the Red Cross needs blood donors now more than ever. All types are needed, but especially O negative, which can be used to treat any patient.

We highly encourage all type O negative blood donors who meet the eligibility requirements to double the difference by becoming a double red cell donor.  If eligible, you can give to give two donations at once.

Make a Blood Donation Appointment Today!

Longtime public servant ‘Vic’ De Cleene dies at 90

Written by Doug Schneider Green Bay Press Gazette

In 2002 Vic received the American Red Cross Andrew Janssen Transportation Award for exceptional work in assisting the aging population and those with disabilities by providing quality transportation that helps individuals maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle.

DE PERE — Victor “Vic” De Cleene retired from public office in De Pere in the mid-1990s, but he continued to serve his community for more than a decade as a Red Cross bus driver, Meals on Wheels volunteer and secretary of the De Pere Men’s Club, among his other activities.

De Cleene died Thursday at his home after a brief battle with leukemia. He was 90.

“He was all about making life easier for someone else,” said one of his seven children, Larry De Cleene of De Pere. “He delivered Meals on Wheels to people 20 years his junior.”

De Cleene was a De Pere alderman from 1964 to 1976, and 1987 into 1995. He became acting mayor in September 1995 when Nancy Nusbaum was elected Brown County executive, serving until her term expired in 1996. He would joke with friends and family members that he did not seek a full term because his wife, the former Leona Patzke, told him another campaign would mean “he might as well keep on running.”

He received the Silver Knight Award from St. Norbert College in 1994, and initiated the Multiple Sclerosis Walk in Brown County in 1995 in honor of his daughter, Vicki. Among his community service activities, he was a member of the De Pere Men’s Club from 1987 to the present, and volunteered with Meals on Wheels from 1990 until three weeks before his death.

Visitation for De Cleene will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Ryan Funeral Home, 305 N. 10th St., De Pere. Visitation will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1305 Lourdes Ave., De Pere. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:30 a.m.