Red Cross honors volunteers, tornado relief efforts in Oshkosh ceremony

Written by Charles Greenley of The Northwestern

When Andy Stanislawski arrived in Joplin, Mo., in May, Mother Nature’s fingerprints were everywhere.

A tornado that destroyed 8,000 homes and killed 160 people had just ripped through the city, and proof of the twister’s force was in the trees that were still standing.

“Every day it was unbelievable. Three weeks later people were still looking through their stuff to see if they could salvage something,” Stanislawski said.

Maps were worthless because all the street signs had been ruined, yet from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for nearly every day of his three-week stint volunteering for the American Red Cross, Stanislawski rode the streets of Joplin in an emergency relief vehicle, delivering hot meals to those in need.

For this and many other volunteer efforts for Red Cross, the Waupaca native won the Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for Disaster Services at a ceremony held at The Waters in Oshkosh Tuesday night.

The program, titled “Celebration of Support,” honored local Red Cross volunteers. Plaudits such as the prestigious Clara Barton Honor Award were given out, and corporate partners were recognized.

Joyce Petit of Berlin has seen a lot of carnage in 27 years as a volunteer for Red Cross.

Petit worked at a service center in Joplin, handing out backpacks, phone cards and personal care kits to locals whose homes had suffered significant damage.

As about 100 attendees ate sandwich rolls and grilled peppers before the ceremony began, Petit praised the organization she had served for so long.

“They take care of you so you can take care of the victims,” Petit said.

Instead of tooting his own horn for all the work he’s done for Red Cross, Stanislawski opened up a letter a three-year-old girl from Shamokin, Penn., wrote him.

After she gave thanks to Stanislawski for everything he did to help locals deal with Hurricane Irene this summer, the last line simply said, “You are a hero to me.”

The Perfect Gift

When you donate blood through the American Red Cross, you give the perfect gift – another hug, another laugh, another smile, another chance – to someone in need of blood.

Ask a cancer survivor or a trauma victim to describe the perfect gift, and many would tell you it doesn’t come in a box or wrapped in a bow. It’s a lifesaving blood donation. Blood products are often needed for traumas, heart surgeries, joint-replacement surgeries, organ transplants, premature babies, leukemia, cancer treatments and much more. Since there is no substitute for human blood, these patients rely on volunteer blood donors to provide the blood products they need to survive.

Think outside the box this holiday season. The perfect gift can be given at your nearest Red Cross blood drive or blood donation center. And, unlike the latest fashion trend, video game or golf club, the perfect gift costs nothing but an hour of your time.

For more information or to find a donation opportunity near you, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit

Honoring Our Veterans

Image Courtesy of Social Vibe

Friday, November 11th is Veterans Day. This annual and federal holiday in the United States (Armistice Day or Remembrance Day are celebrated on the same day in other parts of the world) honors those who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces.

An important holiday worldwide, Veterans Day is especially significant throughout the Red Cross because of the organization’s ties, through the Services to Armed Forces (SAF) program, to the United States Military.

– The Red Cross provides pre-deployment briefings on the support systems and resources available to service members and their families while service members are away.

– The Red Cross provides – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – a lifeline between service members and their families by verifying and transmitting emergency messages.

– Additionally, the Red Cross provides military families with access to financial assistance in partnership with military aid organizations as well as referral information and assistance to veterans.

So this Friday, take a few moments to thank those who have bravely and generously served our country through membership in the Armed Forces.

 – Post a thank you message on Facebook or tweet a thank you message on Twitter.

– Participate in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program by making a
holiday card for a service member, veteran, or military family. (Click here <>  for more information about the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.)

 – Donate blood at one of the hundreds of Veterans Day blood drives
going on throughout the country. (Click here <>  to find a Veterans Day blood drive in your area.)

– Donate a monetary gift, in honor a service member, veteran, or military family, through the Red Cross Holiday Giving catalog. Even a small amount ($50 = 1 military comfort kit, $20 = 1 military phone card, and $30 = hygiene kids for 3 homeless veterans) can make a tremendous different in the life of an active duty service member or veteran. (Click here to shop the Red Cross Holiday Giving catalog.)

My sincerest thanks to all of our veterans, and happy Veterans Day.

Waupaca one of hardest hit areas during snow storm

WAUPACA, Wis. (WFRV) Reported by: Heather Sawaski – Crews vowed to work through the night Wednesday to try and restore power to everyone in the Waupaca-area. Slowly but surely, the lights were coming back on.

It was all smiles from customers at the Mobile Truck Stop off Highway 10 late Wednesday afternoon. But just minutes earlier, everyone was in the dark. The 24-hour restaurant was without power for more than four hours. But that didn’t mean the owners closed up shop.

“We’ve prided ourselves for the last 37 years of staying open and giving travelers a place to stop and gain their wits,” Manager Steve Klismet explained.

They weren’t able to cook or sell food, but employees manned the gas station next door and handed out snacks and bottled drinks.

“We pulled our service trucks up and shined our lights in the building so we could see what’s going on,” said Klismit. “And people could see there was activity going. So people were pulling in off the road.”

The rest of the city didn’t escape Mother Nature. At one time, WPS reported more than 6,000 Waupaca-area customers without power.

“I like snow but this one is just too wet and heavy to shovel,” commented resident Julie Baron.

The Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the middle school for anyone needing food or a warm place to sleep.

“Just so people know we’re here,” said Red Cross Volunteer Andrew Stanislawski. “They’re welcome to come and we’ll do whatever we can.”

Stanislawski said they’ll be there to help until the first winter mess of the season is cleared.

“We were ready for the long haul but it worked out good for us,” Steve Klismit added.

Daughter of soldier tugs at our hearts

Dad serving in Afghanistan

CLICK on the picture for video of story.

Appleton – Natalie Ross told us she’s not crying about her father serving overseas because she’s “really happy” and she “wants him to help people.”

Natlie’s father is serving in Afghanistan.  He was home on leave, but left again on Sunday.

Natlie and some her friends at Apple Tree Connections Day Care Center in Appleton are making cards as part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.  Through December 9th, The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes, Inc. will collect holiday cards from local school, businesses and events to send to troops overseas.

Are you interested in sending a card?

You can mail it to:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

For a full list of recommended guidelines to participate in the program, click here .



Red Cross pushes for blood before holiday season

Jennifer Blanton, collection specialist, visits with Donald Gilbert of Green Bay as he donates blood during Tuesday’s drive at the Lambeau Field Atrium. The blood drive was hosted by the American Red Cross and the Green Bay Packers. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

Written by Charles Davis Green Bay Press-Gazette

“If he wouldn’t have pushed me, I would have never gave. I just wouldn’t have thought about it,” Judy Landwehr of De Pere said as she lay back in a lounge chair. She said she had not donated blood in about eight years due to low iron levels.

The Green Bay Packers and the American Red Cross partnered on the event, which was held on the Legends Club Level on the fourth floor.

The Landwehrs both have A-positive blood types, which means they could donate to one another if needed.

“We’re good for each other,” Judy Landwehr said with a smile.

Visitors on Tuesday each donated a pint of blood, which can save up to three lives. Organizers said 268 people donated blood, which
could benefit more than 800 people, said Bobbi Snethen, spokeswoman of the regional Red Cross blood services that covers much of Wisconsin, Iowa and Upper Michigan.

“It’s an outstanding turnout. Everyone wants to come to Lambeau Field,” she said while watching a handful of people who drank coffee or ate chocolate chip cookies after donating blood.

There is a greater need for O-negative blood, which can be given to patients with any blood type, she said. The Red Cross also had
increased need for A-negative and B-negative blood types. The Red Cross generally meets local needs first before blood is sent nationwide, Snethen said.

The blood drive was important because donors are typically busier during the holiday season and sometimes don’t come out due to weather concerns, she said. Getting blood drawn takes about 15 minutes.

The most common blood types are O-positive and A-positive. People are eligible to donate a pint of blood once every eight weeks.

“Which a lot of people forget,” Snethen said. “We call them and remind them.”

The event also featured a raffle with the chance to win Packers collectibles. Visitors also signed holiday cards, donated by Oshkosh-based Miles Kimball Co., as part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program, which sends messages to service members.

Richard Huguet, 69, of De Pere wore a gray Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLV T-shirt. He began donating his A-negative blood this
summer after a nearly 45-year hiatus, he said. “It helps a lot of people out,” he said.

Local Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Encourage Public to Thank American Service Members though Holiday Mail for Heroes Program

Holiday Wishes Deliver “A Touch of Home” to U.S. Military Members, Veterans and Families

For a fifth year, the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes Inc. are teaming up to deliver holiday cheer and greetings to service members, their families and veterans throughout the holiday season.

The Holiday Mail for Heroes program provides Americans the opportunity to send holiday greetings to our men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, many of whom will be far from home over the holidays, our nation’s veterans and their families.

Between now and December 9, the public is invited to send a “touch of home” through holiday cards that contain messages of cheer and appreciation. The Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will then screen cards for hazardous materials, sort and package the cards, and deliver them to military bases and hospitals, veteran’s hospitals and other locations during the holidays.  Pitney Bowes is donating all screening, packaging and shipping to the cause.  The Red Cross will mobilize hundreds of volunteers to sort and box cards for delivery to service men and women, veterans and family members in November and December.   

“All you need is a pen and piece of paper to share your appreciation of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make each day in their service to our country,” said John Kost, the Services to Armed Forces program manager.  “The American Red Cross serves and supports members of the military, veterans, and their families by providing emergency communications, educational resources, comfort and assistance each day. The Holiday Mail for Heroes program continues in the Red Cross tradition of service to those who serve.”

Throughout the state, groups are invited to make holiday cards. If attending the World Champion Green Bay Packers Blood Drive on November 8, 2011 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Legends Club Room at Lambeau Field. We will have preprinted holiday cards, donated by Miles Kimball’s, to sign. Not only can you give the gift of life with a blood donation, you can send a holiday message to a service member.

Additional early commitments to make cards and host events include the UW-Green Bay Red Cross Club, elementary schools and the Pitney Bowes office in Neenah is hosting an employee card signing event. This is the second year Miles Kimball’s, based in Oshkosh, has supported the program with 2,500 and 5,000 cards donated respectively.

Last year, with the help of Pitney Bowes, hundreds of volunteers screened, sorted and packaged cards that were delivered to military bases, veteran and military hospitals across the U.S. and around the world. Locally, thousands of cards were presented to Veterans living in the area, at the King VA Facility in Waupaca, WI and the Oscar G. Johnson VA Hospital and Clinics in Iron Mountain, Michigan.  Plans are being made for additional outreach this December.

“Sending a card is a simple way to show our gratitude for the tremendous sacrifice that our military personnel and their families make every single day on the nation’s behalf,” said Kevin Connolly, Vice President and General Manager of North American Service Delivery, Pitney Bowes Management Services and Vice President, Strategic Transformation for Pitney Bowes. “The holiday season is a perfect time for all Americans to take the opportunity to say ‘thank you.’ We are pleased to join forces with the Red Cross for the fifth year to help make that happen.”

All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes

P.O. Box 5456

Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Cards must be postmarked no later than December 9; cards received after this date will be returned to senders.  For reasons of processing and safety, participants are asked to refrain from sending “care packages,” monetary gifts, using glitter or including any inserts with the cards.

Visit for a full list of recommended guidelines and best practices for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

Additional ways to become involved with the campaign include connecting with fellow card senders through Facebook at and Twitter at using the hashtag #holidaymail.

About Pitney Bowes:

Delivering more than 90 years of innovation, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Long known for making its customers more productive, Pitney Bowes is increasingly helping other companies grow their business through advanced customer communications management. Pitney Bowes is a $5.4 billion company and employs more than 30,000 worldwide. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™.

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