Rookie of the Year Award: Jennifer Pederson


Jody Weyers & Jennifer Pederson with her Rookie of the Year award!

The rookie of the year is awarded to Jennifer Pederson who has started in the past year for her exceptional work and dedication. She hit the ground running after being recruited by some of her friends to get involved with the UW-Green Bay Red Cross club.

She has attended every monthly meeting, assisted with setting up and staffing a Holiday Mail for Heroes card signing event on campus, assisted with recruitment of volunteers and promotion of campus blood drives, worked with a group to promote and organize our annual Red Cross Awareness Concert, supported chapter fundraising events such as Project Leap and Dancing with Our Stars. We are proud to have her as our Red Cross President for the next school year!


(L-R: Jennifer Pederson, Mike Gallagher, & Jody Weyers)

For her dedication, leadership and commitment, we honor Jennifer Pederson with the Rookie of the Year Award.

Scott Vanidestine Receives the 2013’s Kerrie Forster Emergency Services Award

Scott Vanidestine, our second honoree seems to have been a DAT member forever. He actually started in 2007 but kind of stayed in the background working on projects. Now things have changed in his work life—retired and he is with us big time.  He is on a daytime team from 6am-6pm for 2 weeks in every month. He graciously covers shifts for other team members, attends meetings all over our region, and drives people being deployed to and from the airport and helps out wherever he can.

He presents a very caring attitude when working with our clients. He helps them see that this fire is a major bump in their lives but Red Cross is there to help them over that bump and into the future.


(L-R: Scott Vanidestine, Judy Irwin Gregory, Debra Harrington, & Nancy Stolz Mirhashemi)

Congratulations, Scott! Thank you for your time & dedication.

Congrats Phil Everhart on the 2013’s Kerrie Forster Emergency Services Award!

Phil EverhartPhil Everhart, one of the recipients for the Kerrie Forster Emergency Services Award, has been part of the Disaster Action Team since 2009. He responds to the emergency calls, works with other community agencies in helping our clients, found a location in Menominee for our shelter supplies, maintains the inventory and does presentations in the community about Red Cross Disaster Services. Matter of fact for over 1 year now he has responded to ALL calls in his 2 counties: Marinette WI and Menominee MI.

Thank you for your outstanding response and commitment in assisting those affected by disaster.

Thank You Goldwing Road Riders Association

By Lisa Stanchfield, Program Services Specialist

Check Presentation - 1

The Goldwing Road Riders Association made a check presentation to the American Red Cross for the brat fries they held May 3rd & 4th and June 28th & 29th in Fond du Lac.

Every year they pick a different organization to  donate the proceeds to from their brat fry sales. The association picked the Red Cross this year because we helped one of their members that was affected by a fire last fall,  and they wanted to return the favor.

They presented the American Red Cross with a check for $900.00  to continue our mission in helping others with disaster relief.

In Memory: Vic Fousek, Disaster Volunteer

By Nick Cluppert, Disaster Services Director

On Saturday, July 6, 2013 we lost a great friend, volunteer, leader and Hero of the Red Cross when Victor (Vic) Fousek passed away at the age of 74.

Vic has been a volunteer with Red Cross since 2003, and had given Red Cross many hours of his time volunteering with the Disaster Action Team responding to fires and other disasters in the Waushara County and surrounding area.

Vic also gave his time to deploy nationally on about 11 national deployments.  His first deployment was to Hurricane Dennis in July of 2005 where he went to Alabama and assisted those affected through working in the Feeding activity.  Vic also deployed to Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Wilma in 2005, MN/WI Flooding in 2007, the 2008 Wisconsin floods, Hurricane Ike in 2008, ND/Western MN Floods in February 2011, North Dakota Floods in June 2011, and Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Vik - 1Vic enjoyed driving the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) as you can see in the photo of him in his Green Bay Packers shirts when he deployed to North Dakota for flooding.

Locally Vic was a leader with the Waushara County Disaster Action Team where he responded to fires throughout the county.  It was just the day before Vic passed away that he responded to an apartment fire in Wautoma where Red Cross assisted those that were displaced because of the fire.  Vicki Jenks, a fellow Disaster Action Team volunteer, had Vic as one of her mentors when she first started out as a Red Cross disaster volunteer.

She stated, “When I first joined the Tri-County DAT in October of 2007 I tagged along on 3 or 4 fires with Vic and Edith.  What I most noted about Vic was how genuinely kind, considerate and CALM he was in every situation.  He always found the best in people while honoring all the “ins and outs” of client casework.”

Vic also dedicated his time and efforts to help raise money for the Red Cross, by putting out canisters in his local community to help support local disaster relief in his community.

vic 2

Vic & a number of the other Tri-County DAT volunteers at a recent meeting. He is in the second row on the right.

He helped with donations of some of his woodwork for the HEROES Benefit Musicals put on in Wild Rose for the silent auction.  Vic was involved with the Musicals fundraiser for the Red Cross for six straight years.

Vic also was involved with the Lions Club, and as part of that helped to organize blood drives for the Red Cross in the Coloma area.

Through his work with Blood Services Vic has helped save lives and as a disaster volunteer has helped people start to rebuild their lives after losing almost everything.  Vic is a special Hero in all of our hearts and will be truly missed by all of his Red Cross family and friends.

The Importance of Nurses within the Red Cross

The American Red Cross has a long history of nurses working in multiple capacities within the organization.  Drawing blood, teaching classes, disaster relief work are all areas nurses have supported the organization over time. Here is an article on just one more program, were the talents and compassion of nurses are utilized.

Red Cross condolence program volunteers help families in need By Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN

They witness firsthand the pain, suffering and despair of those who have lost everything, including their loved ones.

They are the volunteer American Red Cross nurses throughout the U.S. who visit next of kin after fatal single or mass casualties. As members of the organization’s condolence program, they may travel across country and spend weeks or months helping families in need.

Rita Grady, RN

“The greatest service that we offer is our ability to listen and hear what family members have to say,” said Red Cross Health Service Manager Rita M. Grady, RN, BN, BVE, MSHCA, who traveled from California to the New York/New Jersey region during Superstorm Sandy. “They realize that their story is being heard, and the more they tell, the better they may feel.”

Along with a nurse, a Red Cross case worker, a mental health professional and/or a chaplain are part of the integrated care team in the condolence program.

They help families in the worst of times, often in the midst of death and destruction. Some nurses have accompanied family members to identify the remains of loved ones after 9/11, and others offered family support at a Buffalo, N.Y., airplane crash site in 2009.

“Despite the extremely difficult realities, we let them know that people of the U.S. care, and that they are not alone,” Grady said.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article.

Red Cross Issues Safety Tips For 4th of July Holiday

Safely enjoy the beach, the fireworks and the backyard barbecue!

It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, a backyard barbecue, maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever people have planned, the American Red Cross wants them to enjoy their holiday and has steps they can follow to be safe with a few safety tips for everyone.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, they should follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

GRILLING SAFETY Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

BEACH SAFETY If time in, on or around water is in your future, a few safety tips include:

  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach, within the designated swimming area.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.
  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect the neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.
  • Additional water safety tips are available at

SUN PROTECTION Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. Protect the feet – the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:

  • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross first aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. The app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.

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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

And the Clara Barton Award goes to…

Kate Burgess

kate burgess

(L-R: Shawn Kiser, Kate Burgess, Jody Weyers, and Mike Gallagher)

The Clara Barton Award is the highest honor possible. In 1881, Clara Barton was the driving force to create the American National Red Cross.

Clara was honored during her lifetime and is still honored as one of the great women of America. She was a true pioneer. She was devoted to a humanitarian mission and spurred on by her personal involvement on the front lines of the Civil War. She risked her life to assist the battered, bruised, shot and deceased on the front lines; she was forever coined “the angel of the battlefields”. Thus set in motion, one of today’s worldwide operations of today’s international Red Cross.  Her determination, perseverance and leadership are the cornerstone of today’s Red Cross. In her honor, the American Red Cross has designated the Clara Barton Award as the highest honor a volunteer can receive.

Much like Clara Barton, Kate feels a special connection to the military as her family has served our country in everything from World Wars to current conflicts. That connection with the military, as well as the HOPE the American Red Cross represents, is the driving force behind her commitment to the organization.

She’s helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years to support local Red Cross services. In February of 2012, she took home the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy at Dancing with Our Stars. In doing so, she set a then-fundraising record, bringing in more than $47,000. For four months she pounded the pavement, finding creative ways to steward her family, friends and business associates. All the while she preached the mission of the Red Cross.

Her ability to lead is evident when looking at the list of “star dancers” for Dancing with Our Stars 2013. She helped recruit several of them; bringing a new group of people to learn the mission and support the Red Cross. Those recruits included Betina and Donald Driver. She helped convince the Drivers to take part in the event and was instrumental in planning the “Drive the Red Party”, an event for Betina’s fundraising campaign, which brought in more than $140,000. Other star dancers often reach out to her for fundraising ideas and she is always willing to offer advice and support.

Another example of her leadership happened after Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast last year, causing massive devastation. Her business, fulfillnet, works with several companies located in the affected areas. Instead of purchasing traditional gifts for those associates, fulfillnet practiced its Responsible Citizenship value by donating $3,000 to the Red Cross for Sandy relief efforts.

As Clara said, “It is not the in the past that the glories or benefits of the Red Cross lie, but in the possibilities it has created for the future.”

Congratulations, Kate!

Board Member Spotlight – Mike Gallagher

By Erin Thayse, American Red Cross Volunteer

Today,  Mike Gallagher begins his term as the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin Chapter Board Chair at the start of our new fiscal year.  We sat down with Mike to learn a little bit more about him to share with our volunteers and donors. 


Current Location:  Schreiber Foods, Inc.  Director of Yogurt Strategy

Career History: Have been with Schreiber since 2001, prior to that was VP of supply chain for WG&R Furniture for 4 years and 2 years as a consulting engineer for HNTB Corporation in Chicago

Volunteer History: Have served in volunteer roles with the Boy Scouts of America, Schreiber Community Impact Team, Pop Warner Football, and coaching local baseball and soccer teams

American Red Cross

Board Member Since: 2008

Board Chair Since: Term starts July ‘13

Responsibilities/Duties as a Board Chair: As board chair I believe the chief responsibility is engaging fellow board members in the mission and fund raising goals of the Red Cross.  Ensuring that the many skills and interests of these volunteers are leveraged to create value for the people we serve.  The role also offers the opportunity to attend national briefings and share this information with our team.


How did you become Board Chair of the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of the Red Cross?

Having been a member of the organization for the past five years and wanting to continue to add value, it was as simply as saying “yes” when approached by Steve Hansen, our regional COO.

 Since 2008, what has been your most memorable moment since joining the Red Cross board?

There are several, but the most memorable has been serving as the fundraising chair for Staci Kring, A Schreiber co-worker, in the 2012 DWOS event.  Being able to increase the awareness about what the Red Cross does in our community with 800 coworkers was a tremendous experience.  It was even more gratifying to obtain $47,000 in financial support and have many of these partners attend the event and continue their support for the Red Cross beyond the dancing event.

(l-r) Shawn Kiser, Special Events, Kate Burgess, Clara Barton Award winner, Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director, Mike Gallagher, Board Chair.

At our 2013 Spring Celebration of Support event. (l-r) Shawn Kiser, Special Events, Kate Burgess, Jody Weyers, Volunteer Director, Mike Gallagher, Board Chair.

What has been the chapter’s biggest achievement since you have joined the board?

There are several areas where our region shines: raising funds, wildly successful special events, and supporting the community and individuals in times of need.  However, I think one of the biggest achievements we’ve made is in successfully executing the consolidation and restructuring that has occurred over the past two years.  When I speak with a donor, I’ve always been proud to say that more than 90% of the funds donated go directly to the people we serve.  The efforts we’ve just completed will continue to make the Red Cross one of the most efficient and effective charitable organizations in the world.

What do you hope to accomplish by being Board Chair?

At the end of the day, our mission is to serve people in times of need.  As chair,  my focus will be on sharing the mission and working hard to support that mission by engaging people to donate to the American Red Cross.

Have you completed a full marathon yet?

It’s still on the bucket list… I’ve completed several half marathons, but haven’t found the right time to balance work, family, coaching youth sports and this goal.  I’ve also replaced a some of my running time with biking as my knees thank me the next morning 😉