We Will Never Forget!

We all remember where we were on this day 12 years ago. It is a day that will live in our hearts and minds forever. Thoughts of comfort and support go out to the many families that lost loved ones on this tragic day.

To look back, and to never forget, here is a story from Carl Ducharme, of Green Bay, who was deployed to Ground Zero as an American Red Cross volunteer. We thank Carl, and all the volunteers who gave of their heart and soul to help those in need.

Click HERE to read Carl’s story!

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United Way Kick Off Time

UWEach year, the United Way’s community campaign partners corporations and individuals alike to raise funds for local community programs. This fundraiser is so very important because for the American Red Cross it means we can:

  • We provide shelter and hope along with financial support for food, infant supplies & clothing for those who just lost everything in a fire
  • Educate children, elderly and civic groups alike simple-steps to better prepare for an emergency
  • Provide safe, reliable transportation to those 60 and old and/or with a disability get to their needed appointments.

The Brown County United Way kicked off their campaign Thursday, Sept 5 with their 6th Annual Glow Golf Campaign Kickoff event.

Brown County United Way Campaign Chair, Denis Hogan announced a 2013 Community Campaign goal of $4,050,000.

“This is a big goal, but very achievable in a compassionate community like ours,” said Hogan. “I’m honored to be a part of this effort. The funds raised will have a critical impact on program outcomes in Brown County.”

The American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin is proud to kick off our internal campaign on Tuesday, September 10.  Not only does the United Way support the Red Cross, but our employees support the United Way.

We are proud to be a charity partner of the following United Way Agencies: Green Lake County Area United Fund; Ripon United Way; United Way of New London; Waupaca Area United Way; United Way of Dickinson County; Fond du Lac Area United Way; Oshkosh Area United Way; United Way Fox Cities; Winneconne Area United Fund; United Fund of Marion; United Way of Shawano County; Brown County United Way; Manitowoc County United Way; New Holstein Community Chest; Oostburg Area United Fund; United Fund of Marion; United Fund of Kewaunee County; Valders Community Chest; Town of Chilton Community Fund; Greater Random Lake – Adell United Fund; Brillion Community Fund; Cedar Grove Area United Fund; Sheboygan and Plymouth Area United Way; United Fund of Chilton; Town of Chilton Community Fund

How Does One Prepare for Glow Golf??

(l-r) American Red Cross Team: Jody Weyers, Chris Mangless, Cathy Dworak and Mary Swanson

(l-r) American Red Cross Team: Jody Weyers, Chris Mangless, Cathy Dworak and Mary Swanson

By Jody Weyers, Director of Communications

The Brown County United Way kicked off their campaign last night with their 6th Annual Glow Golf Campaign event.  They had a strong turnout of more than 170 attendees and 30 foursomes playing night time golf at Ledgeview Golf Course in Depere.

The American Red Cross, a United Way agency, received the call a couple weeks ago, that we were the winners of the nonprofit drawing that receive a free team.  (THANK YOU UNITED WAY) 

Never having participated in glow golf before, I did send an e-mail to our United Way contact asking some “preparedness” questions:

  • Do we use our own clubs or are there special “glow clubs”? Answer: You use your own clubs.
  • Do we have a special ball and how do we see the course: Answer: Glow sticks lining the fairway and we use a glow ball.
  • Nine hole or 18 scramble:  Answer:  Nine Hole Scramble (thank goodness!)
  • What to wear:  Answer:  Normal golf apparel, our fancy new United Way t-shirt we would receive at registration, or some foursomes dress in a theme.

I am feeling pretty good about the event, I asked my questions, shared them with my foursome and I am ready!

I get to the event, and I find out we are walking the entire nine holes.  If I would have thought about, it is probably not the safest thing to have 30 + teams riding around in the dark on a golf cart.  #fail 1

We are provided glow balls, necklace, and glow stick & flashlight to see your bag/ball and for us to be seen.  Not nearly enough glowing material. #fail 2 not bringing a headlight or some other additional lighting equipment.

Thanks goodness, one of our teammates was familiar with the course, because otherwise, it would have been impossible to know where to go for the next hole.  #fail3 Not getting a map of the course to know where to go.

No matter if it is Glow Golf, or a disaster such as a tornado, hurricane or fire, the key message is about being prepared!

I know next time I will be ready. I already started to assembly my kit!

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  1. My United Way t-shirt to show my support.
  2. More glow sticks!
  3. Plenty of glow balls.
  4. Flashlight.
  5. Money – to buy raffles tickets to support the United Way.
  6. First aid kit.
  7. Toilet Paper and hand sanitizer — it is REALLY hard to see where the port-0-potties are on the course.
  8. Make sure to down-load the Red Cross First Aid app (just in case)…we are golfing in the dark after all, and not everyone yells FOOOORE!.

Thank you to my team mates for your support and for the many laughs. I am happy to report, we came in third place and no injuries. Success!!

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Are Your Kids Ready to Walk to School?

By: PaKou Lee, Red Cross PR/Social Media Volunteer

It’s back to school week! I’m super excited to have my nieces and nephews back at school again. They grow up so quickly; sometimes I forget what grade they are in. I swear they were just babies not too long ago! They attend school not too far from where we live so usually it is a 3-minute car ride or nice walk to school. During the cool and warm weather it is all about walking.

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Look at that smirk on Kace’s face. He didn’t want to take a picture.

I enjoy my walks with them, especially after school. I start our talks with my typical questions of asking how school went, what they ate for lunch and if they have any homework or reading to do. Last year, I think I asked way too much because my nephew, Kace, now 7, refuses to tell me what he eats for lunch. He would whine, “Why do you always ask us what we ate for lunch?”

Then of course, right after that, he would hand me his blue Skylander backpack so he can run off to be the first one home. And me being the worried aunt that I am, I always shout, “Wait for me! You better not cross the street yet!” or “Stay to your right. Watch out for the people on the bikes!”

Knowing me so well, Kace likes to test his limits with me.  He would pretend he is about to cross the street and shout “I’m going to cross the street, Auntie PaKou.” This boy wants to give me a panic attack! Again, knowing me so well, he knows not to cross without me. As a reminder, I tell Kace, my nieces, Nevaeh and Cienna, to look for cars both ways, stay a foot back from the curb, and wait for an adult to cross the street. I’m sure I’ve established these safety tips into their carefree minds but sometimes kids forget!

Today, Nevaeh asked if she could walk with her friends to school instead of getting a ride. She has been asking all week so their dad, Pheng, my brother agreed. And of course, I stand at the porch with their baby sister, Khloe, on my hip reminding Nevaeh that she is the older one so she needs to watch after Kace and Cienna, don’t talk to strangers and for the little ones to listen to her. A part of me wanted to walk with them to make sure they were safe, but I told myself I trust them to make the best decision.

Nevaeh & Cienna crossing the street to school.

Nevaeh & Cienna crossing the street to school.

I’ve shared just some of the basic walking tips, but here are more tips you can utilize and share with other children:

  • Stay Alert: Don’t get distracted by your phone or music player. Put your electronics away and focus on the sidewalk and road, especially when crossing the street.
  • Walk with a Buddy: Don’t walk alone. Always walk with someone you know or with an adult. Don’t talk to strangers. If a stranger approaches you, find a trusted adult or go to a safe spot. Never follow or go into a stranger’s car.
  • Listen to the Cross Guards:  Look for the pedestrian signs and wait until the cross guard signals the okay to cross the street.
  • Stay Aware of Runners and Bikers: Not only do you have to watch out for cars, but also for runners and bikers. Stay clear of their way. Bikers should ring their bike bells and runner should call out that they are passing you.
  • Be Visible: Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic. Wear bright colors so drivers can spot you easily.

Parents, make sure you practice walking to school with your children so they remember the route that is safe for them. Let’s make this school year an exciting and safe year!

Bikes, Safety and Telephone Poles

by Jon Amel, American Red Cross Volunteer

kid bikingThey say that in the moments before a person experiences an accident, time seems to slow down, and the most important parts of their life flash before their eyes.

I can only speak for myself here, but I’m going to declare that statement to be a load of nonsense. You see, I was involved in an unfortunate biking encounter with a telephone pole as a teenager. I was innocently riding my bike on the sidewalk (Note: don’t ride your bike on the sidewalk,) when I veered onto the grass to clear the way for an oncoming jogger.  After passing him, I looked back to see if I’d given him enough space, and maybe get a friendly wave of thanks. He offered no friendly wave. Jerk.

telephone poleWhat I did see as I turned back around was the telephone pole coming towards me at full speed.

Now I can only assume this is the moment when time was supposed to slow to a crawl, and I was meant to see memories of old birthday parties and Christmas mornings. Didn’t happen. All I saw was thirty feet of splintered, rusty nail-covered misery. And time didn’t slow. That sucker was coming in hot.

I immediately realized I had no chance to stop or veer out of the way. Telephone pole and I were about to get intimate, there was no way around it. So I prepared in the only way I could on such short notice… I uttered an expletive and peed myself a little. Just a little.

I couldn’t have hit that pole more squarely if I’d aimed for it. My front wheel collapsed like the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the back wheel reared up like an angry bull trying to throw a rider. And throw me it did, face first, right into the pole.

bike helmetIt’s reasonable to assume I was dragged away from the scene with a face full of splintered wood, and a skull full of rusty nails, but such was not the case, for I was wise enough to be wearing a well-fitting bike helmet. Bike helmet really stood up and took one for the team, sparing me from that caved-in skull look, which nobody finds appealing, and likely imposes severe limitations to any potential dating opportunities. Always wear a well-fitting helmet.

Let’s take a look at some other safety tips…

Use an appropriately sized bike: There should be one to two inches of clearance when you are standing over the top bar of a road bicycle, and three to four inches of clearance between you and the top bar of a mountain bike. Your handlebar should be at the same level as the seat, which should sit level from front to back.

Make sure the bike works: Everyone enjoys those internet videos of people slamming into things while on their bike, and rightfully so. Few things are as entertaining as seeing someone you don’t know say, “Hey, watch this!” only to end up plastered against a brick wall. What is less fun is actually being splattered against a brick wall because your brakes are broken or worn out. You might break something, or have to search for your teeth. Not fun. Make sure your brakes work.

Make sure people can see you: There is a reason you see very few ninjas on bikes. This is because it is a bad idea to wear dark clothing on a bike. You want other people on the road (especially people driving cars) to see you, and black is a bad choice for that particular goal. But don’t think white is going to keep you safe. Science says no to that too. Studies have shown that wearing white while biking doesn’t improve your visibility to motorists. You should be wearing the brightest colors possible. That means neon or fluorescent, and preferably something with a decent amount of reflective surfaces. You should also make sure that there are reflectors on both the front and back of your bike. If you have to ride your bike at night, you should have a light mounted to the front of your bike, and a flashing light mounted to the rear.

Go with the flow of traffic, and obey all traffic laws: Johnny law considers your bike a vehicle, and you a driver, so act like it. This means stopping at stop signs/ stoplights and yielding when appropriate (you always yield to pedestrians. Always)

Stay alert and focused: Put the phone away (unless you are looking at the Red Cross First Aid App) Facebook doesn’t need to know you’re on a bike, and that text can wait. You need to stay alert for things like pedestrians, cars, potholes, dogs, ninjas, clowns and telephone poles. Especially telephone poles. Those things jump out from nowhere.

Stay safe out there, folks and to check out additional safety tips go to: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles

Back to School – Time to SLOW DOWN!

By Jody Weyers, Director of Communications

busIt is back to school today for most students and it is a good reminder for everyone on the roads to remember to SLOW DOWN! In my commute to work, I pass two school zone.  Do you know what the speed limit is in a school zone?   15 MPH!!!  yes, 15!!!

Some students may also be riding the bus for the first time. If they are a first time rider, or a rider for many years, it is always good to go over school bus safety tips with your child and this is a good time for all motorist to brush up on their bus safety tips.

Bus Safety

If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Other safety steps for students include:

  • Board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has instructed you to get on.
  • Only board your bus and never an alternate one.
  • Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.
  • Cross the street at the corner, obeying traffic signals and staying in the crosswalk.
  • Never dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.

Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean:

  • Yellow flashing lights — the bus is getting ready to stop, and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign — the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

For additional safety tip information, go to www.redcross.org

Win An iPad!!! For REAL!!!

To encourage people to make or update a disaster plan during National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross is sponsoring a prize drawing for a new Apple iPad®.

Click HERE for details and additional preparedness information. (iPad® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion.)

contest“Everyone must be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in an emergency,” said Steve Hansen, Chief Operating Officer, Eastern Wisconsin. “No one can predict where or when disasters will strike, but preparedness steps taken today can save lives tomorrow.”

Other Ways to Get Ready

  • The Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools and communities be better prepared.
  • Be Red Cross Ready is an online tutorial that teaches people to be ready for emergencies.
  • Red Cross Ready Rating™ is a free, web-based membership program that measures how ready businesses, organizations and schools are to deal with emergencies and helps them improve their readiness level.
  • The Ready When the Time Comes program trains employees from businesses so they can be used as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes.
  • Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training courses provide participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.
  • People can visit redcross.org for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.

September is National Preparedness Month

By: Jody Weyers, Communications Director

WHOO HOO, YIPPEE, HURRY!!!!

excited_cartoonOk,  maybe you are not that excited about National Preparedness Month,  but we are!!!  The American Red Cross joins in celebrating National Preparedness Month 2013 & we hope you will too.

This focus on a single month by every organization that cares about emergency preparedness allows our separate voices to reinforce each other, creating a better opportunity to be heard by Americans who live with disaster risk.

We know talking about safety, tips, and other preparedness topics can be a little dry, so that is why we are bringing you the “30 days of Safety Tips” 

I have recruited some volunteers and staff to write about their oops, should have, could have, ah ha safety moments, to share with you, so the next time you find yourself in a situation, hopefully our tips will help you remember what not, and what to do so you are prepared.

Our goals for National Preparedness Month for this year include the following:

  1. Increase the number of individuals/families that have taken steps to become more prepared
  2. Strengthen the public’s awareness of preparedness and participation in Red Cross programs
  3. Make people laugh while learning.  🙂

Stay tuned……