Military, Families, Veterans, Remembered by Millions during Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes Program

One of the many cards distributed. Thank you to the Green Bay Packers for  providing the picture and Camera Corner Connection Point in creating these cards for our community to sign for military members and Veterans.

One of the many cards distributed. Thank you to the Green Bay Packers for providing the picture and Camera Corner Connecting Point in creating these cards for our community to sign for military members and Veterans.

The American public remembered members of the U.S. military, their families and veterans by sending in more than 1.2 million cards during the sixth annual Holiday Mail for Heroes program, a joint initiative of the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes.

The holiday cards bearing messages of thanks and gratitude were distributed all over the world, on military bases and in military hospitals, veteran’s hospitals and to military families in the U.S. and abroad. All across the country, people from all walks of life sent in cards, remembering the men and women who serve their country.

This year, nine National Football League teams supported the program by helping host card-signing events at games and celebrities such as Trace Adkins supported the campaign. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate held card signings on Capitol Hill. The first families of Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Georgia visited military and veterans’ hospitals to distribute cards.

“We thank all the generous people who collectively sent in more than a million cards this year,” said Sherri Brown, senior vice president, Service to the Armed Forces at the Red Cross. “The cards went to people all over the world, to places far and near, including ships at sea. These expressions of thanks and cheer make the holidays a little brighter for those who have sacrificed so much for our country.”

The cards went to a special post office box operated by Pitney Bowes, who screened, packaged and shipped the cards at no charge to Red Cross offices around the world. Red Cross and Pitney Bowes volunteers helped screen, sort and deliver the holiday greetings to the military, veterans and their families.

Holiday Mail for Heroes began in December 2007, when WalterReedArmyMedicalCenter in Washington, D.C. approached the Red Cross to assist in distributing thousands of holiday cards to hospitalized servicemen and women.  In response to this request, the Red Cross partnered with Pitney Bowes to turn the project into a larger opportunity that could reach members of the military at other medical facilities in this country and abroad.

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 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 about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


Bringing Comfort & Care at a Time When Needed Most!

Blankets are more than just fabric & thread! The home-made blankets and quilts the American Red Cross receives from generous quilting clubs, church groups and youth organizations provide comfort and care during a time when a person needs it most.

Thank you to Maple Grove Countryside 4-H Club for giving of your time, talent and support to give comfort to those in need.

 Submitted by:  Stephanie Peterman, 4-H Leader

On Thursday, January 10th youth members of the Maple Grove Countryside 4-H Club of Shawano County met at the Pulaski High School to cut and tie a total of 10 fleece blankets.  Older youth did most all of the cutting of the ties while the younger members started tying the blankets.  This community service activity became one of the many community service projects that the 4-H club does throughout the year.



The American Red Cross Disaster team assisted a family impacted by carbon monoxide poisoning on Sunday in Sheboygan.  Do you know what to do if this happened to your family?

Fire CO 2 FactSheet


Firefighters from five departments battled this blaze at a house in Duvall on Sunday night. / Warren Bluhm/Door County Advocate

Local American Red Cross disaster workers have responded to  seven home and apartment fires in the past six days. If this pace continues, we will exceed our local 171 disasters from last fiscal year. When requested, a team of Red Cross responders coordinate assistance in the form of food, shelter, and emotional support due to fire damage to their homes. All disaster assistance is free and is a gift from the American people to the American people.

“We’re deeply saddened for those affected,” said Steve Hansen, Chapter Executive. “As we continue to provide support to those affected, we also encourage others to take action to minimize the risk of a home fire.”

The Red Cross recommends two easy steps to help protect your home and loved ones from a fire: get a smoke alarm and create a fire escape plan.

  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including bedrooms.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year.
  • Have a plan in place can help you escape, including at least two ways to escape from every room of your home and a meeting spot at a safe distance from your home.
  • Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice it at least twice a year.

Red Cross responders on the scene were members of the Chapter’s Disaster Action Team, a group of specially trained volunteers who respond to the scene of a local disaster when called upon at any time of the day or night. Each team member donates their time and talent to help others and the group is always looking for additional recruits. Training is free and the rewards of helping others are great.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit

To make a financial donation to your local Red Cross to help people affected by house fires and other disasters here in the United States and around the world, people can click, call or text – visit  call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. All donations can be designated to support local disasters so you are really helping your communities get back on their feet.

The seven fires this week alone have been in:

  • Green Bay, Brown County
  • Peshtigo, Marinette County
  • Oshkosh, Winnebago County
  • Duvall, Kewaunee County
  • Cato, Manitowoc County
  • Luxemburg, Kewaunee County
  • Maple Creek, Outagamie County

Real Stories:Real People – How the Red Cross started our journey with triumph over tragedy

By Sheri Sorenson: 

In the early morning hours of October 9, 2010 our home as we knew it was gone to a devastating fire. Our oldest son was home and a friend of his was over. We were at our camper an hour away with our daughter and our middle son worked nights so he was at work. The smoke alarms sounded and in less than a half an hour our house was gone due to a timer in our landscape lights that was sitting next to our garage. Luckily Cody and his friend escaped without injury but he had no shoes or jacket as it was all destroyed.

Luckily the Red Cross sent a lovely older couple to the scene. We had to travel to get back so they gave Cody and his friend blankets and water and stood by them until we got back. When we arrived they met us and hugged us and told us they were there to help. They gave us blankets and reassured us we would be okay. We really had no place to go as it was 4 AM so they set us up in a motel for the next 3 days (including our dog) and called the motel to see if they served breakfast that morning and gave us gift cards to start to replace all of our lost things.

I truly appreciate all the Red Cross did for us. I guess until a tragedy hits home you don’t realize just how important they are in your community. They helped make a devasting situation somewhat bearable and helped us with lists of what we needed to do and checked up on us in the days to follow. We gave a presentation last year at the Dancing With the Stars fundraiser in Green Bay as a thank you and a testimonial of the great things the Red Cross stands for.

Hopefully you will never need their assistance but if you do rest assured that they will be there for you too. In April of 2011 we moved back to our lot with a brand new home built on it. It was an awful struggle to replace and rebuild our life, but the Red Cross started us in the right direction on that journey. Thank you!

To read additional “real stories” click HERE!

Door County Community Shares their Time & Talents to Raise Funds for Sandy Relief

On Friday evening January 18 the Third Avenue Playhouse in downtown Sturgeon Bay hosted a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy relief. This concert was put together by musician Jeanne Kuhn’s and friends.

In-between acts Red Cross volunteers from Door County and had been deployed to New York and New Jersey shared their experiences with the audience. Everyone that performed, ran the lights and sound system donated their time for this fund raiser. $1,000 was raised for Sandy disaster relief efforts.

Door County Photos: Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert by Len Villano &emdash; 20130118_Sandy Benefit_0006
Rudy Senarighi a American Red Cross voleenteer who traveled to the east coast to help the storm victims. Rudy talked about finding candy bars at a gas station and buying them for the kids left homeless by the storm. Hurricane Sandy Relief Benefit Concert at the Third Avenue Playhouse, Friday, January 18, 2013 in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, WI. Photo by Len Villano. Small Forest ( Jeanne Kuhns, Patrick Palmer, Marybeth Mattson), Seth and Mark Raddatz, Lynn Gudmundsen, David Hatch, Nick Hoover , Jess Holland, Jay Whitney, and James Valq

To view additional photos from the concert click HERE.

Burrrrr….. Mother Nature is Letting us Know it IS still Winter!

Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes

Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions around how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.

Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

To Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Future Protection

  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
  • Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.
Click HERE to read about additional safety tips to keep you and your family safe!

Local Volunteers to Distribute Home Fire Safety Tips

Red Cross and Firefighters from Fond Du Lac working together at 2012 MLK day event.

American Red Cross staff and volunteers, fire department, Girl Scouts, Fresh Start representatives will honor the service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by canvassing neighborhoods to provide tips on fire safety and prevention, and to remind residents that home fires are one disaster that can be prevented.

During the MLK National Day of Service volunteers will be talking with people who are at home about ways to heat and cook safely, the value of smoke alarms and the need to create and practice a household fire escape plan. Fire safety and prevention door hangers in English and in Spanish will be provided to all homes volunteers visit, and left for neighbors who are not at home.

Anyone can be affected by a fire, regardless of background or geographic location, so when a volunteer rings your doorbell to encourage you to take the simple steps necessary to protect your family and home from fire, please listen up.

Community Outreach Teams include:

Saturday, January 19th Meetings at 9:00a.m. for briefing & canvassing instructions

Fond du Lac/North Fond du Lac: Red Cross office, 272 N. Main Street

Appleton: Fire Station 1, 700 Drew Street

Grand Chute: Fire Station, 2250 W. Grand Chute Boulevard

Neenah/Menasha: Fire Station 40, 1326 Cold Springs Road

Sheboygan: Fire Station 3, 1326 N. 25th Street

Monday, January 21st

Iola: Red Cross office in Waupaca, 9:00a.m. For the second consecutive year a team of Fresh Start staff/volunteers will canvass Iola and then Scandinavia if time permits.


Iron Mountain Michigan area: We have partnered with many local school districts to send information home in the children’s Friday folders.  School districts that have received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fire prevention door hangers include Iron Mountain, Woodland Elementary, Niagara, Norway, North Dickinson.  About 2,000 door hangers were distributed.

Green Bay School District: Is also sending fire prevention information home with the children.

Manitowoc: Has already been canvassed thanks to a local school group.

Home fires are the most common disaster that the Red Cross responds to—the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter responded to 171 local disasters last year with the national average being 90% are residential fires. And, according to the National Fire Protection Association, fires claim nine lives every day in the U.S. Make sure you and your loved ones are not part of these statistics.

With many people have the day-off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we are urging residents to take time with their families to create awareness. This includes practicing escape routes, establishing your meeting place, building a kit and making an overall plan should an emergency strike.

Lifesaving fire safety and prevention information is also available on the American Red Cross public website,

For additional information and to become involved in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service please contact Lisa Stanchfield, Community Disaster Education leader, at 920-904-0820 or at

Blue Monkey, Basketballs &, Teddy Bears…

By Barbara Behling, American Red Cross, Communications Officer

Mary Preston, from Kohls, presents Disaster Action Team member, Vicki Jenks with blankets a few years ago at an event.

Mary Preston, from Kohls, presents Disaster Action Team member, Vicki Jenks with blankets a few years ago at an event.

On Monday, January 14th, the day started like any other for one Montello family. The father is up early and driven to work. His wife is home with a 4-year old and a younger pair of twins. What is then captured on the mother’s 911 call is harrowing as the house has started on fire.

She swiftly gathered the children in an up-stairs bedroom. The 911 dispatcher  (audio provided by Channel 3000) keeps her calm, instructs her to close the door, hug the floor as much as you can and open the window. Nothing was beneath them so she was not able to jump safely. You can hear the kids crying, the oldest even asked “are going to die?” She reassures them. Beep. Beep. Beep. The phone went silent.

Due to the fast-acting dispatcher and Montello and Princeton Fire Departments the children and the mom were rescued. After a few days in the hospital, they were all released.

The American Red Cross Disaster Team in Marquette County has been working with the family to help provide their basic needs. Not just a plan to move forward, we’ve provided glasses, medications, financial assistance and when the kids were handed Teddy Bears and Mickey Mouse dolls, their faces lit-up.

You see all their possessions except the diapers on their bottoms were lost. The kids even had great fun in selecting their own blankets. The parents were presented with hand-made quilts from the Coloma Quilting Club and the kids were giddy with their Kohl’s blankets one with a blue monkey, one with basketballs and yes, the other with Teddy Bears.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and our disaster workers, we make, building new, memories possible.

Click HERE to read the Portage Daily Registers account of this heroic story.

Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert

TAPSandyfinal_350Friday, January 18, 2013  7:30 pm

Scheduled to appear:

Lynn Gudmundsen & David Hatch
Jess Holland & Nick Hoover
Jeanne Kuhns, Marybeth Mattson & Patrick Palmer
Mark & Seth Raddatz
Jay Whitney
James Valcq
& Special Guests

Tickets: $15

All proceeds will go to the Red Cross. To purchase tickets using a credit card over the phone call the Box Office at 920-743-1760.