Resolve To Help Someone With Tax Deductible Donation To American Red Cross

The new year is a time for making resolutions, and the American Red Cross is urging people to resolve to help someone by making a tax-deductible donation to the Red Cross before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Many people make charitable contributions at the end of the year as part of their holiday tradition, and the Red Cross depends on these donations to provide hope, help and compassion. Nationally, donations in December account for about 20 percent of all non-disaster contributions from the public to the Red Cross.

“As 2011 draws to a close, we are asking everyone to remember those who need help and contribute to the Red Cross,” said Steve Hansen, the local Chapter Executive. “This end-of-year generosity will allow us to help a disaster victim, a member of the military, a hospital patient, someone learning to swim.”

The Red Cross is urging people to give something that means something before the New Year, donating at, giving by check or by phone.

A Red Cross national poll found that 57 percent of those surveyed planned to donate to charity during the holiday season, and more than half of them (54 percent) plan to give at least $50.

Hundreds of thousands of people needed help from the Red Cross in 2011, their lives forever changed by disasters like tornadoes, floods, wildfires and hurricanes in the U.S., and earthquakes and other disasters around the world. In the U.S., the Red Cross launched 137 domestic disaster relief operations in 46 states and territories to help people affected by fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. In addition, major international disasters included theJapan earthquake and tsunami response and the continuing work following the 2010Haiti earthquake.

In addition, people can still go to the American Red Cross Holiday Gift Catalog and buy a symbolic gift. These also are tax-deductible contributions to the overall Red Cross mission.

The catalog include donations for items such as a military comfort kit filled with a phone card, robe, shower shoes, toiletries and an MP3 music gift card for those who have been wounded.

Disaster-related items include blankets to wrap around a woman standing in her yard this winter after her house has burned to the ground; hot meals to make sure no one goes hungry when a disaster strikes; or a toothbrush, soap and other essential personal care supplies for a child sheltered from a storm.

For those with global interests, the Holiday Gift Catalog contains a number of gifts to bring Red Cross services to people in crisis overseas. These include emergency water containers to help families collect and store clean water, tarps to provide temporary shelter and shovels to dig ditches when floods threaten.

What better way to finish 2011with early action on a resolution to lend a helping hand? Help someone in need and resolve to contribute to the Red Cross before the end of the year.

 The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter serves 20 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters. To learn more about local Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Chapter headquarters at 920-231-3590 or visit Find us on,, the local blog is and Chapter photos are at 

 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

Keeping the blood-lines open

Family of late De Pere mayor honors his memory with donations to Red Cross

Written by Todd McMahon The De Pere Journal

Family of the late Vic De Cleene gathered Dec. 22 at Pilgrim Congregational Church of Green Bay in Ashwaubenon for an American Red Cross Holiday Blood Drive. The attendees, many of whom donated blood in memory of avid donor De Cleene, included, seated from left, Stacie Kramer, JoAnn Werner and Delila Longhofer; and standing from left, Debbie Johnson, Bob Arvey, Vonnie Voight, Miranda Werner, J.J. Werner and Buddy Werner. / Todd McMahon/The De Pere Journal

The spirit of giving was alive and well at the height of the holiday season late last week.

That much was evident just down the street from Bay Park Square Mall and neighboring shopping centers in Ashwaubenon. While last-minute shoppers hunted for open parking spots and tried to avoid brushing shoulders in the crowded stores, several residents opted for the non-hassle climate at Pilgrim Congregational Church of Green Bay.

Among them were nine family members of the late Vic De Cleene.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” JoAnn Werner said after she donated a pint of blood at the American Red Cross Holiday Blood Drive on Thursday. “And, in some ways, Dad is still giving blood because he’s doing it through us.”

De Cleene, a longtime De Pere resident who died of leukemia last summer, was as well known for his myriad acts of service for others, as he was serving his hometown as a longtime Common Council member and even a stint as mayor.

“He just wanted to always do things for people,” said Vonnie Voight, the youngest of De Cleene’s seven children. “He just was all about whatever he could do for other people. That’s what his life was all about.”

The final 30-plus years of De Cleene’s fulfilling 90 years of life included donating blood on a regular basis to the Red Cross.

“He was very religious about it,” Werner, 63, said of her father.

“He gave every 58 days (the standard wait time between donations) faithfully,” Voight, 52, added. “He was very good. So, it’s not too late for me.”

Thanks to the selfless example she remembers being set by De Cleene when she was growing up in De Pere, Voight started giving blood when she entered college at age 18. Her occasional visits to local Red Cross blood drives has produced a donation of 3 gallons of blood.

“Not as good as my dad,” Voight said with a knowing smile.

De Cleene came within a pint of donating 24 gallons of blood. He was scheduled to give another pint of blood the same week he was diagnosed with leukemia.

“Just a mover and a shaker, he was always moving around and doing stuff,” Werner said. “He got bruises on his arms, and the doctor noticed it and said, ‘Let’s check that out.’

“(Everything happened) very quick. He found out June 24, and he died July 7.”

De Cleene worked as a mason contractor and later as a building inspector for the state of Wisconsin.

He also dabbled in politics. He had two long runs as a De Pere alderman, from 1964 to ’76 and then in professional retirement from 1987 to ’95.

De Cleene expanded his public service when he became interim mayor for the city after Nancy Nusbaum was elected Brown County executive in September 1995. De Cleene completed Nusbaum’s term into the following year, but he didn’t run for election, passing the torch to the current mayor, Mike Walsh.

De Cleene didn’t slow down after he stepped away from the political arena.

De Cleene, the 1994 recipient of St. Norbert College’s Civis Princeps Silver Knight Award for community service, was heavily involved in the De Pere Men’s Club and initiated the Brown County MS Walk in honor of daughter Vicki.

He also volunteered as a driver for the Meals on Wheels program and with the American Red Cross’ transportation program.

Vonnie Voight of De Pere donates a pint of blood as phlebotomist Christie Johnson from American Red Cross checks on her Dec. 22 during the Holiday Blood Drive at Pilgrim Congregational Church of Green Bay in Ashwaubenon. Voight is the youngest of the late Vic De Cleene’s seven children. / Todd McMahon/The De Pere Journal

“He was such a good role model and such a good person that it made your life better; it made us better people,” said Voight, speaking for her siblings.

Werner fondly recalls how her father proudly displayed his badges of honor for the blood donations. He would put stickers he received for every gallon of blood that was donated on a Red Cross license-plate frame on his vehicle.

“We always knew how many gallons it was,” said Werner, adding of De Cleene’s final count of nearly 24 gallons. “That’s amazing. It really is. We thought it was cool when he got eight — that was pretty cool.”

Werner, Voight and three other family members — two of Werner’s children and a niece of De Cleene — rolled up their sleeves to give blood at last week’s holiday drive. Other family members comprised what Werner called “a cheering section.”

According to American Red Cross data, the agency must collect 22,000 donations each weekday and 15,000 each weekend to ensure blood is available for patients.

De Cleene’s family has vowed to keep donating in memory of its perpetually giving patriarch, who incidentally received platelet transfusions as he was treated for the leukemia.

“Just to know that there are so many people in need,” said Werner, a retired teacher who lives in Casco.

“I was talking to my grandson (one night last week), and I said lots of people get in accidents and they need blood and what if it wasn’t there, you’d feel terrible if there was something you could’ve done that you didn’t do,” Werner added. “They don’t know you, and you don’t know them, but it’s still a neat thing to help.”

Voight, a De Pere resident, returned to her teaching job Thursday morning in Howard with the satisfaction of doing another ounce, er, pint of goodness.

“I was a slacker (with the donations) for a while, and I knew he was doing it,” Voight said. “Now, I feel like I have to step up to the plate because he’s not here, so I’m taking this over for him. I used to shovel for him, and now I’ll just give blood for him.”


American Red Cross Had 137 Big U.S. Relief Operations in 46 States in Disaster-Filled 2011

At home and across the globe, Red Cross relief efforts large part of the scene.

WASHINGTON, Monday, December 19, 2011 — The American Red Cross helped hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were forever changed by disasters in 2011, from tornadoes, floods, wildfires and hurricanes in the U.S. to earthquakes and other disasters around the world.

Throughout the year, the American Red Cross supported the people of Japan and Haiti, while launching 137 domestic disaster relief operations in 46 states and territories to help people affected by fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes across the United States. In addition, major international disasters included theJapanearthquake and tsunami response and the continuing work following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

“The number of lives affected by large disasters in the past year is simply staggering,” said Charley Shimanski, Senior Vice President for Red Cross Disaster Services. “Devastating tornadoes, flooding and wildfires wiped out entire neighborhoods. Through it all, the Red Cross, our partners, and communities nationwide responded, offering people shelter, food and comfort.”

In the United States, the Red Cross opened 1,019 shelters and provided more than 130,000 overnight stays. 27,622 trained disaster workers served more than 6.7 million meals and snacks and distributed more than 2.6 million relief items. Health and mental health workers provided more than 133,000 consultations and Red Cross workers opened 16,752 cases to help people get on the road to recovery.

 Tornadoes, flooding and wildfires ripped across the country

 State after state faced the powerful force of tornadoes in 2011. Devastating winds plowed through many neighborhoods, leaving destruction in their wake. Through it all, the Red Cross was on the scene, providing a safe place to stay, food to eat and supplies to help with the clean-up. The Red Cross helped people affected by large-scale tornadoes in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin in 2011.

A large part of the country – almost 20 states – was impacted by flooding in 2011. The Red Cross launched 27 relief operations related to flooding in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont.

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused the need for relief operations in more than a dozen states.

Thousands of disaster workers were deployed and more than 250 Red Cross feeding trucks were sent into neighborhoods to distribute meals and clean-up supplies. In New York and New Jersey alone, the Red Cross provided almost 34,000 overnight stays in shelters and distributed more than 840,000 meals and snacks.

Wildfires consumed almost four million acres across the state of Texas, and destroyed thousands of acres in New Mexico, Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma. Again, the Red Cross stepped in to help in the fire-ravaged neighborhoods, providing a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional support for those forced to leave their homes, as well as firefighters and first responders

Japan earthquake, tsunami changed people’s lives forever

In March, a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan, claiming more than 15,000 lives, as well as damaging and destroying buildings, roads and nuclear power plants. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless and lives were changed forever.

The Japanese Red Cross responded immediately, distributing food, emergency kits, blankets and supplies. Their medical teams provided health services, while other volunteers provided emotional support and social assistance.  More than 80,000 volunteers assisted in operating shelters, helped with clean-up efforts and provided care for the elderly.

Through the generosity of the American people and their donations, the American Red Cross continues to support recovery efforts through the Japanese Red Cross. These include improving living conditions in evacuation centers and temporary homes by providing appliance packages for families and winterizing structures against the cold. American Red Cross funds are also supporting the Japanese Red Cross in building a temporary hospital and rebuilding a Red Cross nursing school dedicated to training specialists in disaster medical care. Additional American Red Cross support will improve the disaster response capacity of the Japanese Red Cross.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to assist people affected by disasters. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation today by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local 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

Dadaab calling; Somali refugees link up with their families.

Following an influx of refugees fleeing Somalia indo Dadaab camp, the Kenya Red Cross Society working with the ICRC stepped up its services to help restore family links. Newly arrived refugees are alllowed a two minute phone call to give news about themselves to their relatives.

This short video highlights this project, which has so far assisted more than 7000 refugees get in touch with their relatives, in the first month of its inception.


Funding Supports Education Initiatives and Disaster Response Programs

State Farm has awarded grants totaling $55,000 to the American Red Cross in Wisconsin for 2011 and 2012 to promote safety education and awareness programs, disaster preparedness and disaster response initiatives in the Scenic Bluffs, Western, North Central and Northeast Wisconsin. State Farm has a longstanding relationship with the Red Cross in Wisconsin and nationally.

Much of the grant funding will go to support core Red Cross missions of community disaster education and disaster response teams and to sponsor local Red Cross community events. The State Farm grants also will help make the following possible:

Fire Prevention Awareness Project

Red Cross volunteers and State Farm agents will reach-out to homeowners to provide fire safety and prevention information and remind residents that home fires are one disaster that can be prevented. They will canvass communities, talking with people about ways to heat and cook safely, the value of smoke alarms and the need to create an emergency kit and practice a household fire escape plan. Fire safety and prevention door hangers will be provided to all homes that the volunteers visit and left for neighbors who are not at home.

Community Preparedness Education

The Red Cross will create bookmarks customized with educational messages that schools, libraries and State Farm agents can distribute to students to help them learn about such important topics as fire prevention, Halloween safety, emergency preparedness (Get Informed. Make a Plan. Build a Kit) and winter driving safety. The first bookmarkers, Halloween Safety, were distributed to nearly 25,000 children.

Disaster Clean-up Kits

In times of need, the Red Cross provides individuals and families affected by disasters with Disaster Clean-up Kits to help people begin restoring their damaged properties. The kits, which are provided at no charge, contain cleaning supplies such as brooms, a mop, squeegee, rubber gloves, work gloves, disinfectants and more. Red Cross volunteers and staff distribute clean-up kits at central pick-up locations and go door-to-door through affected areas

UWGB community donates for blood drive

By Tanisha Richter  News Writer, Fourth Estate: Published: Monday, December 5, 2011

The UW-Green Bay Student-Athlete Advisory Committee collaborated with the American Red Cross to hold a pre-Thanksgiving blood drive Nov. 21.

The drive, which took place in the Phoenix Rooms, was one of several drives that take place on campus throughout the school year, according to Dave Liethen, donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross.

The November blood drive collected around 50 pints of blood, five units short of the goal for the day, Liethen said.

The 50 pints could potentially save up to 150 lives.

“There’s a continuous need,” said Amy Henniges, director of Counseling and Health Services. “The demand always seems to exceed the supply.”

Otis Jones, freshman pharmacy program student, donates blood at the American Cross blood drive in the Phoenix Rooms Nov. 21. Photo by Sadie Wilson/Fourth Estate

According to Christine Vandenhouten, assistant professor of nursing, individuals whose blood has no antigens, type O-negative, are in particular demand because their blood is compatible with all different blood types.

Blood type O is the most often requested by hospitals, according to the American Red Cross website.

“For many patients who are recipients of blood products, including blood cells or plasma, would probably die without these products,” Vandenhouten said. “When someone donates blood, whole blood is extracted and then blood donation centers are able to separate the component parts so one unit of blood could perhaps benefit many people.”

Donated blood is needed for a variety of different medical cases, including victims of trauma, cancer patients and sickle cell anemia patients, according to the American Red Cross website. However, in some instances, people are able to plan in advance to help conserve the use of other blood donations.

“In the case of trauma where you have massive blood loss, certainly individuals in that situation need more blood than an individual who receives blood in advance of surgery, possibly having their own blood or a family member who’s compatible donate their blood,” Vandenhouten said.

Advancements in medical technologies have also allowed for the conservation of donations.

“There’s minimal blood loss in most surgical procedures today,” Vandenhouten said. “When surgeons anticipate a lot of blood loss, they actually can use a device called a cell saver, where they extract the individual’s blood and collect it. By doing that, they reduce the need for donated blood, but obviously that’s only going to work in the event that somebody anticipates the need.”

Blood donation centers typically try to keep the donations local whenever possible, Vandenhouten said. However, it is possible for donations to travel across the country.

“It can go back to this area in Wisconsin, Iowa, upper Michigan and northern Illinois,” Liethen said. “If those hospitals’ needs are met, then it can essentially go anywhere in the country.”

While blood donations in this area have been at a steady rate, the approaching end of year may put a halt in further donations, Liethen said.

“Any day the weather can change, and instead of getting rain it could be freezing rain, or sleet or snow, and that tends to lead to a few more accidents,” Liethen said. “In addition, we know it’s getting close to finals. Students are studying and focusing on those things rather than donating. People in general are getting busy with holiday activities rather than donating blood.”

While the distractions of the holiday season may be hard to avoid, Liethen stressed the importance of remembering the impact donating blood can have.

“People take trips to the grocery store, or maybe they want to get together with friends, or they travel for the holidays to go back home,” Liethen said. “Everybody plans those things out but nobody plans to need a blood transfusion—but, if you live to the age of 72 or older, chances are you’re going to need blood at least once in your life. We need to make sure the blood is not only collected, but tested, and it’s waiting there at the hospitals for doctors to transfuse.”


Get in the Holiday Mood at the Songs of the Season

Tailgating for a cause: Local company hosts fundraiser on game days

Published : Sunday, 11 Dec 2011, 6:01 PM CST  —–  Beth Jones, FOX 11 News

Click on photo for video of story.

ASHWAUBENON – Brats and chili were doing more than just filling the bellies of hungry tailgaters across the street from Lambeau Field Sunday.

“All the proceeds here go to the local Red Cross for local disaster relief, which we feel is a very good cause,” said Andy Kaye with Recoveron Restoration Services.

Since the season started the company has hosted this fund raising tailgate. The company has been at it for two seasons, raising more than $2,000 last year and looking at more than $3,500 this year.

And the money couldn’t be coming at a better time. Since July, the local Red Cross has provided assistance at 200 fires in Northeast Wisconsin; their “yearly” average is around 250.

One of the most recent, was the Pulaski fire, which destroyed three buildings and damaged two others in the village’s downtown. The Red Cross assisted eleven people displaced in that fire. “It does cost money to help people in our community,” explained Steve Hansen, Red Cross Regional Chapter Executive.  “The American Red Cross is there with food, clothing a roof over someone’s head.”

How much money exactly? Red Cross officials estimate they spend more than $500,000 in disaster relief efforts, with the majority of those funds coming from donations, like the tailgate.

And with the year as busy as it’s been and right in the midst of their peak months, Red Cross officials expect to exceed that budgeted amount this year. “The winter months tend to be our busiest time, two-thirds of our fires we respond to happen between November and February,” Hansen said.

And because of that, officials say making donations and public awareness of the need are particularly important this time of year. Sunday’s tailgate was the final one of the season, but coordinators say you can expect to see them again come pre-season.

Red Cross Offers Tips For Twelve Days of Holiday Safety To Keep The Season Safe, Happy And Bright

Having a busy time getting ready for the holidays? While everyone is shopping, baking, gift wrapping, decorating and going to parties, the American Red Cross has holiday tips to help make the season a safe one.

1. Prepare vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Build an emergency kit and include items such as blankets or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, compass and road maps, shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra clothing, flares, and a tow rope.

2. Drive the sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm. If travel is a must, let someone know the destination, the route being taken to get there, and how long it should take to arrive. If the car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along the predetermined route.

3. Help prevent the spread of the flu. Stay home if sick. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, someone should cough or sneeze into their elbow, not their hands.

4. Follow Santa’s fashion lead – dress in layers. When it’s cold outside, layered lightweight clothing will keep a person warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat.

5. Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed and monitor safe play. Some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.

6. Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If leaving the kitchen even for a short period of time, turn off the stove. This is important because unattended cooking causes nearly 90 percent of all kitchen fires.

7. Be a lifesaver during the holidays. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should take first aid and CPR/AED training. Visit for details and to register.

8. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. Buckle up, slow down, don’t drive impaired. If someone plans on drinking, designate a driver who won’t drink.

9. When the weather outside is frightful, heat the home safely. Never use a stove or oven to heat the home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms.

10. Cut down on heating bills without being a Grinch. Get the furnace cleaned and change the filters. Make sure furniture isn’t blocking the heat vents. Close off any rooms not in use and turn off the heat in those rooms. Turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.

11. Home for the holidays? Travel safely. Check the tire air pressure and make sure the windshield fluid is full. Be well rested and alert. Give full attention to the road – avoid distractions such as cell phones. If someone has car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

12. Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. Get ready now in case someone in the household faces an emergency in 2012.

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

Merrill Middle School Participates in Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign

The Merrill Middle School student council participated in the American Red Cross’s Holiday Mail For Heroes campaign.  They engaged the middle school student body and collected over 400 cards for our troops.  These students created so many beautiful cards.  Those who weren’t as artistic wrote some very thoughtful heartfelt notes on pre-made cards.  The students made these cards during their lunches, free time, and at home. 
With so many misconceptions about today’s youth, this is just one of the many positive things that the public school students are doing. There are many understanding and caring students. I cannot express how proud I am of all of them.