Then & Now! Reflections during March is National Red Cross Month

By Patty Flowers
Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross – Wisconsin Region

I recently read a book titled The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough.  The Johnstown Flood is still considered to be one of the worst disasters in our nation’s history and it was the first big disaster that sixty-seven year old Clara Barton responded to with all the might of the American Red Cross she had established just eight years earlier.  As I read about her arrival with 50 doctors and nurses, I realized how shocked she must have been by the sheer size of this disaster.  She had been to several other smaller disasters across the country but this one was truly her first major disaster.

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@RedCross TBT: Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 1889 – #RedCross sets up mass shelters for the first time to feed & house those affected by Johnstown flood. (via Twitter)

Reading how they quickly established medical tents, shelters, kitchens, and even built two-story hotels for the homeless from local lumber; I was overwhelmed by the comparisons I can make to today’s Red Cross.  Clara declared the Red Cross was there to stay in Johnstown until they were no longer needed which is the same as our call to action today.  She spent more than $500,000 on blankets, food and other supplies with money she had raised from the American people – imagine how much money that was in 1889!  She executed a house-to-house search to find the people who needed help and we do the same today in 2017. 

So much is different from 1889 to 2017 but the fundamental principles of the American Red Cross live on.  I am so proud to be following in that little five foot tall woman’s footsteps doing things on a much smaller scale than her.  Thank you, Clara Barton, for caring for all; for standing up for everyone’s right to have emergency aid; and for working so hard to bring hope to so many!  I promise we will continue to do your good work!

 

Cut out Clara with Leadership Team.March 2017

The Wisconsin leadership team shows off their “Clara Barton” cut outs.

 

How did you celebrate March is Red Cross Month? What are your reflections with how far the Red Cross has come since the 1880’s to now? Share your stories with us!

Drum roll, please… welcome Alexandra Heyn – Southeast Wisconsin’s new Disaster Program Manager!

Alex Heyn HeadshotAlthough we’ve dubbed her “the newbie”, she’s really no stranger to the Red Cross… Alexandra (Alex) has supported the Red Cross as a Lifeguard and First-Aid/CPR/AED Instructor, Disaster Preparedness and Response volunteer, and most recently as a Volunteer Scheduler for blood services here in Milwaukee. In her new role of Disaster Program Manager, she will be overseeing disaster services in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.

Alex earned her B.A. of Communications with an emphasis in Community Education and Mediation from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She is an AmeriCorps alumni, Lion’s Club Member, has extensive experience designing special events, fundraising, leading volunteer engagement, and enjoys problem solving and connecting community members to meaningful service.  In her free time she can be found in our local waterways and nature trails kayaking, birdwatching, and biking.

Red Cross blood drive held in honor of volunteer’s 101st birthday

Join the American Red Cross in helping to save lives on Monday, March 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church in Green Bay. The day is sure to deliver something special for Red Cross volunteer, Blanche Baudhuin, as she celebrates her 101st birthday.

Blanche has been a volunteer for the Red Cross for over 40 years. She volunteers about 24 hours a month staffing the registration desk at the Red Cross Green Bay Blood Donation Center. Her zest for helping to save lives continues because she believes in the good work being done at the Red Cross. “I look forward to coming into work to see the donors,” said Blanche. “If I had to stay home I don’t know what I would do.”

Last year Blanche celebrated her 100th birthday with the Red Cross family and friends. She challenged the community to roll up their sleeves and donate 100 pints of blood for patients in need. Causing quite the excitement across the state, donors traveled from miles away to celebrate her birthday and donate blood in her honor. Her birthday wish came true and 114 pints of blood were collected.

This year Blanche is planning to celebrate her birthday with another Red Cross blood drive.  Donors can help make her birthday wish come true by helping to save lives by collecting 101 donations on March 13.

Festival Foods and Thrivent Financial will join the celebration this year by donating refreshments for the birthday blood drive.

“We are honored to be able to help Blanche purchase refreshments for blood donors who help her reach her goal,” said Brian Stenzel, Festival Foods Director of Community Involvement. “We applaud her 40-plus years as a Red Cross volunteer and we encourage everyone to make Blanche’s 101st birthday the best ever by coming out to give blood on March 13.”

The Red Cross will have a party at the drive in celebration of her birthday.

“Our Church and Thrivent Member Doris Emmel was delighted to help with the Blanche’s birthday blood drive by utilizing one of her Thrivent Action Teams.  It’s about Christians helping others,” said Guy McCauley, Financial Associate, at Thrivent Financial.

The Red Cross is inspired by Blanche’s support to the Red Cross and for helping to save lives.  The joy is ours telling her story and encouraging others to volunteer and follow in her footsteps.

Blood Drive in honor of Blanche Baudhuin
Monday, March 13, 2017
11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Faith Lutheran Church
2235 S. Webster Ave., Green Bay, WI 54301

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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, visitredcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.