Being Prepared and Ready to Roll

By Nick Cluppert, Disaster Services: Regional Manager, Training & Development

2013-03-159508_24_02_There’s a new resource that is in our region that will be a huge asset when there is a disaster affecting a large number of people with functional needs. Thanks to the J. J. Keller Foundation and other donors we now have a “functional needs” shelter trailer that is housed at the Oshkosh Red Cross Office and loaded up with 60+ functional needs and bariatric cots.

The new cots are easier for someone that may be in a wheelchair to transfer on to, has a back that can raise up if someone can’t lay flat and has rails to prevent someone from rolling off the cot. In addition to the cots that are in the new functional needs shelter trailer each shelter trailer throughout the Eastern Wisconsin Region has at least two functional needs cots in them so there is something that they can start with if there is a need for the functional needs cots in a shelter that is opened up. If there is a greater need then the functional needs shelter trailer can be mobilized to bring in that additional resource to support that shelter.

It is important for us to be prepared and ready to respond, and through donations we are now even more prepared to respond and assist individuals and families in need following a disaster.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoa), Red Cross remembers successes of its Restoring Family Links services

In recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day the American Red Cross is reaching out to Holocaust survivors and their families to inform them of Red Cross services to reconnect families and find documentation.

Since 1990 the American Red Cross has helped over 45,000 families search for information and documentation of their loved ones who went missing during the Holocaust. Miraculously this work has resulted in locating 1,600 individuals and reconnecting them with their families. Watch the video of Saul Dreier, a Coconut Creek resident and Holocaust survivor who was reunited with his cousin through the Red Cross Restoring Family Links services.

Dreier thought he lost his entire family during the World War II murder of millions by the Nazi regime. After almost 70 years of thinking he was alone, he was able to locate his cousin Lucy Weinberg, a resident of Montreal, Canada, in late 2010 after Red Cross caseworkers scoured records from the former Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center and more than 180 Red Cross societies around the world for clues. You can read their story here.

HOLOCAUST AND WAR VICTIMS TRACING So many years after World War II, the pain of being separated from family still affects many. The American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center was closed in November 2012 but through its national Restoring Family Links program, the Red Cross continues to help residents of the United States search for information about loved ones missing since the Holocaust.

The tracing services are free of charge and utilize the worldwide network of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the Magen David Adom in Israel, as well as museums, archives and international organizations to help find information about someone’s loved one.

HOW TO BEGIN YOUR SEARCH If someone is interested in trying to find a loved one, they can contact their local Red Cross chapter. These searches are complex and can take a year or more to find results. Information has been found in more than 79 percent of cases such as documentation outlining deportation to another country, or in some, confirmation of death. Some, like Saul Dreier, have been lucky to find their loved ones and reunite after so many years of separation.

6th Annual HEROES BENEFIT MUSICALES

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We Can Never Say Thank You Enough!

By Betsy A. Wandtke, Major Gift Officer

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Donors, Board Members and Volunteers at Kodiak Jack’s in Oshkosh.

It’s always our pleasure to be able to thank our donors for giving us the ability to serve others.  In the last couple of weeks of RED CROSS MONTH, we had three Donor Appreciation Events.  They were casual gatherings complete with appetizers and volunteer interaction.  Not only were they successful in saying thank you, but were a lot of fun to boot!

Our attending donors were able to meet board members, staff members and most importantly, the volunteers that serve our organization.  The pictures that were shown and explained, were mostly regarding “Superstorm Sandy”.  Our volunteers were also able to discuss what an ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle) was and how versatile they are, along with other mysteries about how the Red Cross gets things done in the field.

The donors and many of the rest of us were riveted to the stories of survival and the ability of those affected to overcome any situation with the help of a “friend”.  The Red Cross volunteers are those “friends” that show up to do whatever needs to be done.  They are worth their weight in gold!!

The donors also asked questions about SAF (Services to the Armed Forces), Blood Services and other aspects of the American Red Cross.  Our board members and staff were there to answer those questions and more.

We would like to thank Big Tomatoes and Los Banditos in Green Bay, Mark’s East Side in Appleton and Kodiak Jack’s in Oshkosh for their hospitality and donations to make these events happen.

We also would like to thank the volunteers, board members and staff members that were fully engaged in this endeavor.  We could not have done it without them!!

Westfield School District Hosts “Hats on for HEROES” for Local American Red Cross

By Vicki Jenks, American Red Cross Disaster Volunteer and Board Member

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(Pictured left to right) Jon Brakebush, Lexi Brakebush, Judy Brakebush, Vicki Jenks, & John Eyerly, Superintendent Westfield School District

On Friday, March 15th, the Westfield School District assisted their local American Red Cross by hosting “Hats on for HEROES”.  A simple fundraiser in which a student pays $1 for the privilege of wearing a hat for the day, “Hats on for HEROES”—a first-time event, was extremely successful. 

All the funds will be utilized locally in Marquette County for Local Disaster Relief and Service to the Armed Forces. 

The most common disasters are RESIDENTIAL FIRES.  Every 9 minutes in the United States, a Red Cross Disaster Worker responds to a fire.  Due to the generosity of the American people, the Red Cross is able to provide temporary shelter, food, clothing, shoes, bedding, linens, and personal hygiene items.  They can also facilitate the replacement of prescription medications and eyewear.  But perhaps the most important gift Disaster Workers provide is INVALUABLE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT. 

Service to Armed Forces is a new addition to the HEROES fundraiser this year.  Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, the Red Cross relays urgent messages containing accurate, factual, complete and verified descriptions of the emergency to service members stationed anywhere in the world, including on ships at sea and at embassies and remote locations.

The Red Cross provides emergency financial assistance, volunteers in area VA Hospitals, and sees that military members arrive home for funerals and births.  This “personal touch”, again, is due to the incredible generosity of citizens like the Westfield students, staff and administration. 

Brakebush Brothers, well known as a philanthropic corporate citizen, stepped up to also become a HERO and facilitated the new Red Cross relationship with the Westfield School District. 

“Down the street, across the country, around the world—the Red Cross is there”, because of students like those who attend the Westfield Schools and generous corporations like Brakebush Brothers.