We Are Looking for Volunteers to join our Service to the Armed Forces Program

At times of emergency, Service to Armed Forces (SAF) provides the communication link between armed forces personnel wherever they may be and their family members at home. Our Red Cross worldwide emergency communications network operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. By calling 877-272-7337 we can help you or your family with emergency messages regarding the death or serious illness of a family member, the birth of a child, or other family emergencies.

The American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces can provide a service member and their commander with fast, reliable information to help make decisions regarding emergency leave. The SAF collaborates with the military aid societies in providing financial assistance when an urgent personal or family crisis arises.

Hundreds of Red Cross chapters brief departing service members and their families regarding available support services and explain how the Red Cross may assist them during the deployment. Both active duty and community based military can count on the Red Cross to provide emergency communications that link them with their families back home, access to financial assistance, counseling and assistance to veterans.

Learn more about our SAF services by watching this short video.

Want to to join this team? Contact John Kost, Services to Armed Forces Director
at 920-733-4481 or john.kost@redcross.org

Volunteers Needed: Green Bay Packers Training Camp Blood & Bone Marrow Drive

We Are All ONE

This post comes to us from Barbara Behling, who was deployed shortly after we heard about the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin

Dilys Rana, Barbara Behling and Naomi Berkowitz at Oak Creek vigil. The Red Cross had several emotional health professionals assisting people with the grief throughout the week.

Oak Creek, WI…On Sunday, August 5th a single gunman entered the Sikh Temple and fired rounds killing six at a sacred place of worship. The perpetrator was stopped by brave first responders. We may never know the single answer of ‘why’ this senseless tragedy happened at a sacred place of worship but what we have learned about the Sikh community is their resolve, and peacefulness is stronger than any bullet.

Almost immediately, the call for American Red Cross assistance was received. We activated numerous trained personnel to work with the affected communities. For the first responders, including SWAT, FBI, ATF along with local teams of police, sheriffs, and local officials have worked around the clock. It’s been several days since the shooting and we are still providing snacks, food, water, coffee and a moment of respite as crews continue to work tirelessly. They will solve the criminal investigation questions.

We also worked hand-in-hand with the families themselves. They were shaken, distraught, seeking answers and given the opportunity to enjoy silence amongst hundreds. Our mental health professionals were at their side, lending an ear, a shoulder, a tissue. I listened and watched Harans Farwaha share how his ‘young bride’ of 57 years was within 10 to 15-feet of the shooter. “Had he turned right instead of left, she would be gone today,” he explains as water wells-up in his eyes, tears stream from hers.

The Sikh Community believes in peace. Not once have we heard about hate or revenge. They simply want to heal and practice peace.

Tuesday evening was the Oak Creek community’s annual and pre-scheduled National Night Out. Thousands of families attended, gathered emergency planning information, shared their streets and interacted with the Sikh community. A candle-light vigil was also incorporated into the evening. The Sikh community shared their immigration story which brought them to the United States in 1912. With a strong work ethic, they built the railroads, farmed the land, became business owners and lived the American dream. They explained their three golden rules to remember their source, earn a living honestly and share with those less fortunate.

The U.S. Ambassador to India shared how this is ‘humanities night-out’ and “we all share a sense of deep sorrow and grief. India is a land of expressive diversity & nothing expresses it like the

Sikh community. Courage, commitment, giving, valor and patriotism are words we are defined by. This is a time of renewal and faith to the human family.”

Throughout the evening, you felt the international, language and custom barriers breaking down. This was not a day to reclaim what we lost but a day to reflect and embrace. It was stated, “we are not separated – just on different continents looking for each other.”

We are fortunate to have trained staff and volunteers from all cultures, background and education. This evening included a multi-lingual Red Cross volunteer who speaks English, Hindi and Punjabi – the traditional Sikh language. Although many in the community spoke English, several of the elders did not. It was through use of words, the traditional greeting (folding of hands with a slight bow) and the use of their fear none – frighten none mantra we all explored cultural differences together. Their doors will be open and ours are open as well.

Through this tragedy, we have all learned through actions, words and compassion. We, at the American Red Cross, are simply honored to help during this difficult time.

To view additional photos please click HERE.

We are on What’s Happening Waupaca August Episode

Do you live in the Waupaca area? Check your cable access TV station Win-TV this month. Look for Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director and Nick Cluppert, Disaster Services, talking about the Red Cross, volunteer needs and what it is like to be a disaster volunteer.

Or you can Watch now!  Red Cross is the second segment.

Thank you Win-TV for sharing our message on the need for disaster volunteers and our support in the community.

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health After a Disaster

In light of the recent tragedy of the Sikh Temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin we want to make sure that people are taking care of their own emotional needs.  We are on scene with trained mental health assistance and supporting emergency response teams. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the many people impacted by this disater.

Click HERE for tips for taking care of your own emotional health after such tragedy.

Military Appreciation Cruise hosted by the Fond du Lac Yacht Club

One Month Left……

Second Annual Wisconsin Lions Red Cross Blood Challenge

The American Red Cross is proud to partner with the Wisconsin Lions in serving our communities. To help meet the ongoing need for blood, we invite Lions to participate in an exciting statewide challenge.

This summer, Wisconsin Lions members, along with their friends and family, are encouraged to take part in the Second Annual Wisconsin Lions Red Cross Blood Challenge by donating blood or platelets or volunteering their time with the Red Cross beginning June 1 through August 31, 2012.

Each participant is responsible for reporting donations or volunteerism with the secretary of his or her local Lions, Lioness or Leos Club. The top-performing Wisconsin Lions Districts and Clubs will be recognized for their lifesaving efforts, and all challenge participants will receive a commemorative Red Cross pin!

As part of the Live Life. Give Life. summer promotion, those who present to donate blood or platelets during the Second Annual Wisconsin Lions Red Cross Blood Challenge will also be entered to win a $5,000 prize certificate redeemable at GiftCertificates.com.

At Least 3

Things are always more fun with a buddy, so why not bring 3 the next time you donate blood. Check out www.redcrossblood to find the closest blood drive to you.

Partnering for a Better Community

By Lauren Lindstrom, Communications Intern, American Red Cross

United Way funded agencies are teaming up to allow some Green Bay area
seniors to stay involved in the community.

The Hmong Senior Tsev Povfwm Program is using Red Cross
Transportation Services to get elderly participants to and from the
weekly program. The program, which meets Thursday evenings needs help
getting seniors necessary transportation. Many of the participants
cannot drive and depend on the Red Cross for mobility.

The Tsev Povfwm Program, which means “House of Good Health and Longevity,” began in June 2011. Program Coordinator May Kaying Lor knew she needed a service to provide home bound seniors a way to get
out of the house and interact with others in the community. She worked
with the NEW Curative Rehabilitation Inc. to get the program running
and through them, found partnership with the Red Cross. NEW Curative
Sponsors the Tsev Povfwm program and already uses the Red Cross for
its transportation needs.

“We are very happy with the service,” Lor said. “If we didn’t have the
transportation, I don’t know if we could run this program.”

On program day, Red Cross buses are full, sometimes having to make
more than one trip to accommodate all of the seniors needing transportation. Lor’s husband is one of two volunteers to be certified to drive each Thursday.

Participants stressed the importance of having Red Cross transportation and their appreciation for the services.

“I don’t know how to drive, so this is the only way I can get out into the community.” said Chongong Yang.

The program not only gives participants the chance to socialize, but
also keeps them connected with their culture and heritage. Every week,
the program shows Hmong movies, offers card games and volunteers serve
a traditional meal.

“If we don’t have the transportation, I am just going to be sitting at
home and get depressed,” said Bee Lee. “The bus brings me here so I
can socialize with everybody.”

Program participants keep in touch with Hmong culture with movies, food and native decorations.

In addition to activities in the program center, the Red Cross
provides transportation for field trips including picnics and trips to various scenic Wisconsin locations. Participants are eager to keep the partnership between the two organizations going strong.

“I even wish we had more money so we could come here five days a week
instead of one,” said Mee Lee.

Participants can draw, play cards and watch movies from their native Laos.