Safe & Sound: A family’s prayers answered


By Dawn Miller, American Red Cross Volunteer

“I was asking for safety and security,” said Jama Ali of his morning prayers on Sunday. The young father of two was praying when he heard a sharp noise that made him look out the door of his apartment and down the hall.

The smoke hit his face hard when he opened the door and he ran back in for what was most important, his two sons ages 10 months and 2 years. His wife had already left for work. Once they were safe outside, they went to their car before a neighbor invited them in to warm up.

“You never know what is going to happen,” said Ali. “ I thought I was going to work today but here I am with my sons.” Ali normally would have been at work as a truck driver but instead he found himself wondering what was going to happen next as they moved to a Red Cross warming shelter to find out if his family, along with 23 other displaced families, would return to their apartments.
At the warming shelter Ali, and others, found Red Cross workers wanting to help with their immediate needs. Needs are varied including blankets, help accessing medicine, diapers and baby wipes. They also found warm coffee, snacks and sandwiches to nourish them while they processed what their next steps would be.

They all wanted to hear if they would be able to return to their apartments based on the fire & smoke damage and if the utilities would be on or if they would need alternative overnight accommodations.  “Due to the Packers home game and hotels at capacity there are limited options if friends and family are not a possibility,” stared Steve Hansen, the Chapter Executive.

Ali fed his 10-month old son while the two-year-old explored the gym at West High School where the warming shelter was set up.

Ali was calm at the shelter and while he didn’t know what would happen next, he felt his prayers were answered. “The most important thing is we are safe and sound,” said Ali. “You can get many things in this world but you can’t get back a life.”

The Red Cross provided multiple families with the shoulder-to-lean-on that day along with personal hygiene items to helping them establish a plan of ‘what to do next’.  Financial assistance was provided for basic needs such as food, clothing, infant supplies, shelter, transportation and more.  You can help the Red Cross help families after fires with a financial gift at


Red Cross blood drive held in honor of volunteer’s 100th birthday

Blanche Baudhuin has been volunteering for nearly 40 years

Blanche at almost 99 years old doing the "Lambeau Leap"

Blanche at almost 99 years old doing the “Lambeau Leap”

The American Red Cross is teaming up with Faith Lutheran Church in Green Bay and friends of Blanche Baudhuin in inviting the Green Bay community to give blood in Baudhuin’s honor on March 8. Baudhuin has been volunteering for the Red Cross for nearly 40 years. Donors can help make her birthday wish come true by helping to provide 100 pints of blood to honor her 100th birthday on March 13.

Even though she is nearly 100 years old, Baudhuin volunteers every Thursday, staffing the registration desk at the Red Cross Green Bay Blood Donation Center. To commemorate her 100th birthday, the Red Cross will have a party at the drive. The drive is co-sponsored by the Sunrise Optimist Club.

Donate Blood in Honor of Blanche Baudhuin

Tuesday, March 8

11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Faith Lutheran Church

2235 S. Webster Ave., Green Bay

Blanche surrounded by her Red Cross family for her 98th birthday.

Blanche surrounded by her Red Cross family for her 98th birthday.

To make an appointment to donate, download the Blood Donor App, visit and enter sponsor code birthday or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

How to donate blood

Simply  download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or to obtain more information.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.

Dancing with Our Stars 2016 Fundraiser Raises Awareness for Local Services and $200,000+!

Karen Classon takes home the fundraising mirror ball trophy raising over $87,000. Photo by: Mark Witte

Karen Classon takes home the fundraising mirror ball trophy raising over $87,000. Photo by: Mark Witte/American Red Cross. 

The 8th Annual Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross held on Saturday, February 20 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay featured fantastic fundraising as well as spectacular dancing. Together, with the amazing efforts of our star and professional dancers, sponsors, and with the support of the community, we raised more than $200,000 in net revenue to support Red Cross programs and services in our community.

“Here at the Red Cross, we are truly humbled by the outpouring of community support received through the “Dancing with Our Stars” event,” said Steve Hansen, Chapter Executive. “Saturday night, the entire event concluded with the entertainment and demonstration of dancing skills by our stars, but the real event started more than four months ago, when our dancers made the commitment to raise funds to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross.”

Thank you to our sponsors including: Broadway Automotive; Erie Insurance; Festival Foods; Gagnon Clay Products; Green Bay Packaging; Green Bay Packers; NXC Imaging; Schneider Foundation, Toonen Properties and Wisconsin Public Service Foundation. We also thank our media partners of WBAY-TV2and 101 WIXX for their promotional support.

Our dancers definitely put their best foot forward to entertain and dazzle the crowd. The evening began with dinner and followed with our amazing dance program where each star dancer performed two dances. The night concluded with the awards ceremony.


People’s Choice award for showcase one: Kati Donaho and Rane Cegelski, Foxtrot – “Kill of the Night.” Photo by: Dave Pruszka/American Red Cross. 

Taking away the top honor for the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy was Karen Classon. The owner of SKB Management raised $87,000 to support the local Red Cross.


People’s Choice award for showcase two: Jen Berres-Dart and Michael Witte, Jive – “Shut Up and Dance.” Photo by Mark Witte/American Red Cross. 

The People’s Choice award for showcase one went to Kati Donaho and Rane Cegelski for their Foxtrot to “Kill of the Night.” The People’s Choice award for showcase two went to Jen Berres-Dart and Michael Witte for their Jive to “Shut Up and Dance.”

The Judges’ Choice award went to Anna Allen and Michael Witte for their two performances: the Foxtrot to “Sexy Silk” and a Bolero to “Alone.”

Judges Choice: Anna Allen and Michael Witte for their two performances: Pictured - the Foxtrot to “Sexy Silk” photo by: Dave Pruszka

Judges Choice: Anna Allen and Michael Witte for their two performances: Pictured – the Foxtrot to “Sexy Silk” photo by: Dave Pruszka/American Red Cross. 

Special thanks to Cami Rapson and Tammy Elliott of WBAY-TV 2 for serving as masters of ceremonies and Nikolay Karchev, Jay Morth and Heather Wudstrack for their professional and colorful commentary as judges.

Thank you to all our star dancers for their time, commitment, energy and passion:
Anna Allen – Teacher, Lineville Intermediate School
Jen Berres-Dart – Owner/Instructor, Jenstar Yoga
Karen Classon – SKB Management
Kati Donaho – Business Travel/Group Sales Manager, Hyatt Regency
Lori Dufek – Account Manager, NXC Imaging
Maureen Gagnon – Co-owner, Gagnon Clay Products
Zeb Metzler – Learning & Development Specialist, Innovative Services
Dan Terrio – Learning Facilitator, Humana
Marty Williams – Owner/Dentist, Sierra Dental

Also, thank you to our pro dance partners: Rane Cegelski and Brad McDonald from DanceSport of Green Bay; Bill Beschta; Jamie Blair, Michael Witte and Mina Witte from Simply Ballroom of Green Bay; and Jim Gagnon, Toby Crawford and Terry Irwin from TC Dance Club of Appleton.

Thank you to our committee, volunteers and most of all the community for supporting your local Red Cross.


Sherri Galle-Teske: My Red Cross Story

By Sherri Galle-Teske, Account Executive for the American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross has touched my life and family in so many ways. My earliest memory of learning about the Red Cross was when I was five years old. My grandmother Agnes Patoka (fondly known as Nana) would put me up on her lap and read children’s books when I would come to her house for visits. My favorite books however-were her old photo albums which included many photos of my father as a child. She would reminisce and explain in detail every photo and always explained the “story” behind it.

On one occasion Nana had a photo album that I had never seen before and it contained special pictures of her prior marriage. One picture in particular was of great interest to me. The picture was taken in 1919 when my grandmother was 18 years old. The photo shows my grandmother sitting with two of her friends on a lawn. All of the girls are wearing long white gowns with a white cloth on their heads. On their foreheads the white cloth sported a red cross. She explained to me that she and her friends volunteered at the American Red Cross in Menasha, WI. There was a terrible war going on in Europe and many soldiers and civilians needed their help. After school she and her friends went to the Red Cross and ripped apart long cotton petty skirts (now known as slips) into long strips. The men at the Red Cross office bundled them together in bales and they were sent to the war front to be used as bandages.

That photo is framed and currently hangs on the wall in my Stevens Point office. Nana’s special picture has been in many of my presentations and displays for the Red Cross. The picture travels with me frequently.


Prior to my birth, my father was enlisted in the Navy. He knew his Aunt Francis and Uncle Luther were expecting their first child. While on ship he suddenly received bad news – Uncle Luther was killed in a plane accident. He received the message from the Red Cross. Soon after he received another message – my Aunt Francis had delivered a beautiful baby boy. Would he be the godfather? Naturally my father agreed-he recited the religious oath from the ship’s control room over the radio (somewhere close to the Philippine Islands) – all arranged via the Red Cross!

My Aunt Phyllis Petts of Neenah, WI, spent many years as a Red Cross blood volunteer until her death. I received her Red Cross volunteer pin from my cousins after the funeral.

I guess it was destiny for me to work for the American Red Cross. I am excited to be part of a family tradition that has followed this organization for such a long time. When I refer a blood drive, sell an AED, discuss Services to Armed Forces (SAF), or recommend our volunteer program, I know “someone above” is smiling down at me – and feeling proud.

Sherri Galle-Teske supports the Preparedness, Health and Safety Services in both Wisconsin and Michigan. As February is National Heart Month, it is important to know that Sherri’s support of Preparedness, Health and Safety Services includes helping people obtain AEDs for their home, business, school or organization. AEDs, devices that analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm, are an important element in reducing the number of cardiac arrest deaths. In addition, the Red Cross offers AED program management, maintenance and service. To learn more about AEDs or the Red Cross AED Program, contact Sherri via


Click here to view full-size flyer.


Milwaukee Volunteer Tackles the Logistics of Disasters on Month-Long Deployment to Missouri

By Max Seigle, American Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

It’s a role you don’t always see in the headlines when it comes to American Red Cross disaster help. But if you ask volunteer, Phyllis Wiggins, she’ll tell you Logistics is vital to ensure clients get help.


Red Cross volunteers, Phyllis Wiggins and Megan Besset, on deployment in St. Louis, MO.

“We get you the people, places and things you need to be successful on the operation,” Wiggins said in a recent interview with Red Cross Public Affairs.

Wiggins, of Milwaukee, spent a month helping with flood disaster relief in the St. Louis area. She left in late December and served as a Logistics Manager at the Red Cross headquarters in the city.

“If you need a 26-foot truck to load things around, Logistics gets that for you,” Wiggins said.

Requests also included more basic things, like food, bleach, gloves and comfort items for children staying at Red Cross shelters.

“We actually had to go out and make a run for coloring books and crayons,” she said.

Wiggins said Logistics plays a big role in securing locations for shelters and assistance centers during disaster relief. She explained the Red Cross works with community partners to find places, like schools, churches and office buildings. The Red Cross also had its own technology team to equip those facilities. On her deployment to St. Louis, Wiggins said churches, especially, rose to the occasion to offer space. She was also amazed with additional support from corporate donors.

“I’ve been on some operations where people were just begging for help – just trying to dig up that big truck stuff. Here, it was just never an issue,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins recalled one day where a fellow Wisconsin Red Cross volunteer, Megan Besset, was on the phone working to get meals for the mission. What came next was a major delivery, and all of it donated.

“All of a sudden we had food from Popeyes, White Castle, pizza, Italian…” she said.

Wiggins worked about eight to 11 hours a day on her deployment. She was even on the ground New Year’s Eve and Day.

“If you’re doing good as the year rolls over, then the year is going to be good for you,” Wiggins said.

It’s clearly “Mission First” for Wiggins. And serving behind the scenes in Logistics is a role she’s happy to take on with a humble nature.

“It’s more important that people get help, that they feel safe, that they feel take care of,” Wiggins said.

“That is much more important than getting a slap on the back or a Thank You.”

Thank you Phyllis for proudly representing the American Red Cross in Missouri.

This month, the American Red Cross has many volunteer opportunities, including becoming a disaster responder, supporting military troops, and many more. Red Cross volunteers are united by their service and the feeling that in changing others’ lives, their lives are also changed. To learn more, visit or contact the office of Volunteer Resources at


Volunteer of the Month – Rachel Goodrich

rco_blog_img_Goodrich Rachel

Congratulations to Rachel Goodrich, the February 2016 Volunteer of the Month!

Many of us have a great appreciation for our military service members who have so proudly served our country, but how often do we actually reach out to say thank you or lend support to them and their families.  Since July of 2013, Rachel has been doing all this and more, as a Red Cross SAF ‘Services to the Armed Forces’ program volunteer.

Rachel has volunteered in many roles within the Red Cross, but having military service members in her own family, makes the SAF program especially important to her. She has volunteered as a SAF Caseworker, connecting military members with support and communications with their families and during countless SAF Special Events, helping with programs that honor military members, veterans and families. Rachel expresses such gratitude when talking about these volunteering opportunities, “I have met some of the most amazing people by volunteering in this program.  I have gained lifelong memories of moments that I will forever hold and cherish because of volunteering with the Red Cross.”

Taking on an even larger role this year, Rachel coordinated the statewide Red Cross- HMFH ‘Holiday Mail for Heroes’ program.  She not only promoted HMFH with TV and radio stations, she also organized card sorting and distribution events with Federal, State, local governmental and nongovernmental organizations throughout Wisconsin. Rachel’s says her favorite part about volunteering in this program is, “being able to hand deliver Holiday Cards to our active Military Service Members and Veterans, shaking theirs hands (the hugs are the best) and being able to show how much the community supports them.”  The Red Cross SAF relies on the talents of volunteers like Rachel to bring its programs to service members and veterans.  John Kost Regional SAF Manager credits Rachel for her perseverance in organizing an event of this grand proportion stating, “It’s indeed a gift to the organization, to have a volunteer like Rachel, who steps forward to coordinate all aspects of a region wide program and do it with such success.”

Rachel encourages others to get involved with SAF, “The more volunteers we have the more help we can offer our Veterans and their families. It truly is a life changing experience!” Thank you, Rachel for continuing to proudly represent the Red Cross in your community and for giving back to so many military service members with your heartfelt compassion.

To learn more about the important services the Red Cross SAF program provides please visit

Right now, the American Red Cross has many volunteer opportunities, including becoming a disaster responder, supporting military troops, and many more. Red Cross volunteers are united by their service and the feeling that in changing others’ lives, their lives are also changed. To learn more, visit or contact the office of Volunteer Resources at