4th Annual Disaster Training Conference

Last week, the Wisconsin Region conducted our 4th  annual Disaster Training Conference. Though the conference was held on the shores of Green Lake, attendees paid little attention to beautiful autumn scenery outside. The 183  attendees, Red Cross volunteers and staff from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, enjoyed four days of learning, sharing and networking.

The broad range of classes provided opportunities for brand new volunteers and seasoned veterans. The newest volunteer had been with the Red Cross for only two days and several in attendance had more than 20-years of service. Classes were offered to provide instruction on delivering the Red Cross mission, supervision & leadership along with diversity & inclusion. Workshops built upon classroom instruction and provided hands-on opportunities to set-up a shelter, conduct damage assessment and manage a disaster relief operation.

On Wednesday night, Red Cross volunteers partnered with the Berlin Fire Department to make homes in Berlin safer. They visited homes and provided smoke alarms testing, free smoke alarm installation, home evacuation planning and fire safety tips. 25 homes were visited and 69 smoke alarms were installed.  Community outreach like this is happening around the state and more than 10,000 smoke alarms will installed this year alone!

By all reports, the Disaster Training Conference was a wonderful success! It was wonderful to see so many Red Crossers come together to learn and celebrate together. Plans for next year’s conference are already underway. We hope to see you there!

 

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Greenfield’s Life-Saver Receives National Award

At only 11 years-old, Abram Suminski of Greenfield, Wisconsin, is a official recipient of the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit for selfless and humane action in saving a life. This is the highest award given by the Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains life by using skills and knowledge learned in the American Red Cross Preparedness, Health and Safety Services courses.

When Abram Suminski was learning first aid basics in an American Red Cross Babysitter’s training course, I doubt he knew how quickly he’d be putting them to use in a real-life situation. Good thing he was prepared though when his younger brother, Logan, was in need. Shortly after, the brothers were playing in their grandmother’s basement when Logan started to choke on a piece a candy. Abram saw his brother turning purple and jumped into action to perform abdominal thrusts. His quick actions dislodged the piece of candy from Logan’s throat, saving his life!

Abram’s instructor from the Babysitter’s training course heard of his life-saving story, and she, along with the Greenfield Rec. Department (where the training took place), nominated Abram for the Red Cross Certificate of Merit, which is signed by the President Barack Obama, who is the Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross!

abram-suminski

Abram Suminski holding his award with the help of his younger brother, Logan.

On Tuesday night at the Greenfield Common Council Meeting, Abram received the Red Cross Certificate of Merit. The Mayor of Greenfield, Michael J. Neitzke, and local Red Cross CEO, Patty Flowers, had the honor of presenting the award to Abram. In attendance, were some very special guests including Abram’s family, the vice principle of his school, his Red Cross instructor and the Greenfield Fire Department.

If you’re thinking about signing up for a Red Cross training course, don’t hesitate – be prepared! Information about the Red Cross Babysitting course, First Aid, CPR/AED and other training courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.

To see live action watch the Fox 6 news clip!

 

Red Cross offers shelter from the fire

Kenosha resident, Katryane Jenkins, has spent four nights at an overnight shelter provided by the American Red Cross at Bradford High School.  Katryane, along with over 60 people at the 20-unit apartment building she was living in, was displaced after an apartment fire resulted in utilities being shut off until Monday morning.

Client-article

Katrayne Jenkins (center front) receives the help she needs at the Red Cross Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC).

Katryane, a full time student and mother to two young daughters, ages nine and two, is no stranger to the services that are provided from the Red Cross.  In the last five years, she has experienced two fires – each with a distressing impact on her life.

Four years ago, the duplex Katryane was living in caught fire. Unable to return to her home, she looked to the Red Cross to help her get back on her feet. The Red Cross provided her with a warm place to stay at a local hotel, money for food, resources to get clothes, as well as money to help with a security deposit on a new home. She says she’s thankful for that help.

Building

The 20-unit apartment building where Katrayne lived.

Having had this experience, Katryane felt more prepared to handle a similar situation years later. When she heard the smoke alarms in her building sound – her heart beating faster with every chirp of the alarm – she knew she needed to stay calm and move quickly. As the smell of smoke quickly filled the apartment, she already knew where to find the closest fire exits, and had practice getting out of the home quickly.

Katryane was also able to emotionally prepare herself – deal with the feelings of sadness and anger – because she knew what it felt like to lose her belongings.  While others may find it difficult to handle emotions, Katryane says that her experience has helped her have compassion for her fellow residents involved in the recent fire.  She also knows the importance of providing support to others.  “We’ve been there to lean on each other for support,” Katryane says.

marc - volunteers

Red Cross volunteers staff the MARC

During this time, Katryane is using other resources provided by the Red Cross, such as the meals and snacks, as well as comfort kits containing personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies, and other personal hygiene items. She finds it important to use the mental health services and talk to someone when she’s feeling down.  On Thursday, March 10, she visited the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that was set up at the Kenosha Transit Center to learn about additional resources available to aid her recovery. At the MARC, representatives from government, non-profit, and faith-based organizations were on hand to offer assistance. These representatives, along with the Red Cross, worked with Katryane to find her and her family a permanent residence.

Today, Katryane is looking to maintain control of her life. While completing her Business Management Degree at Gateway Technical College, she is looking to the future and focusing on settling her family in a new home.

The Red Cross provided multiple families in Kenosha with a shoulder to lean on, and help to 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  redcross.org/donate.

A Work of Heart

*Permission to republish by StateFarm.com. (Originanly published on http://goodneighbors.com/post/126421892122/heart)

A Work of Heart We all know that nursing isn’t easy. But, seeing patients recover and thrive makes it all worth it. Most people may not remember or connect with their doctors or other staff like they do a nurse or Certified Nursing Assistant. Because let’s face it, they are the heart of healthcare. The empathy and care they provide to patients helps encourage strength and recovery. It takes special people to see people at their worst, most difficult time and support them on their course to getting healthy and enjoying a great quality of life. [[MORE]] The job opportunities also provide a great quality of life for those who purse these careers. Christopher Strickland, a 52 year-old father, who was laid off as a cook at a local pub, realized this job path could create stability and help him earn a better income. He was experiencing difficulty finding steady employment and wanted to work in a field where there’s a need. It was happenstance that he came across an ad in the newspaper about the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program and the chance to receive a scholarship to complete the training. He decided to apply and was awarded a State Farm® scholarship to achieve his goals. Christopher quickly realized through his training that nursing was the right fit for this next step in his career journey. His charisma and sense of humor went over famously with the residents at a nursing home where students perform their clinicals. Residents developed meaningful relationships with Christopher, and it helped them feel comfortable being in their most vulnerable state. As Christopher shared excitement for his new opportunity, his son, Ali, took notice that nursing is a field that will always have a need for qualified individuals. Ali, a 23 year-old young man didn’t have a job at the time and wanted to find something that would provide a decent salary. He decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, applied and was awarded a State Farm scholarship to complete his training. NAT Coordinator Tanya Christensen shared, “Nursing has always been a field dominated by women, but more patients are wanting to have a choice as to whether a man or woman takes care of them. In addition, people who are further along in their careers are realizing nursing could be a great next career step since the healthcare sector continues to add jobs and that the unemployment rate is low. With all these reasons, why wouldn’t someone pursue this rewarding career path.” Lucikly, there’s still time to apply for scholarships and participate in training sessions provided by the Red Cross. Day and evening classes are taking place in Green Bay, La Crosse and Waupaca. Check out the Red Cross NAT website for more details!

We all know that nursing isn’t easy. But, seeing patients recover and thrive makes it all worth it. Most people may not remember or connect with their doctors or other staff like they do a nurse or Certified Nursing Assistant. Because let’s face it, they are the heart of healthcare. The empathy and care they provide to patients helps encourage strength and recovery. It takes special people to see people at their worst, most difficult time and support them on their course to getting healthy and enjoying a great quality of life.

The job opportunities also provide a great quality of life for those who purse these careers. Christopher Strickland, a 52 year-old father, who was laid off as a cook at a local pub, realized this job path could create stability and help him earn a better income. He was experiencing difficulty finding steady employment and wanted to work in a field where there’s a need. It was happenstance that he came across an ad in the newspaper about the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program and the chance to receive a scholarship to complete the training. He decided to apply and was awarded a State Farm® scholarship to achieve his goals.

Christopher quickly realized through his training that nursing was the right fit for this next step in his career journey. His charisma and sense of humor went over famously with the residents at a nursing home where students perform their clinicals. Residents developed meaningful relationships with Christopher, and it helped them feel comfortable being in their most vulnerable state.

father and son

As Christopher shared excitement for his new opportunity, his son, Ali, took notice that nursing is a field that will always have a need for qualified individuals. Ali, a 23 year-old young man didn’t have a job at the time and wanted to find something that would provide a decent salary. He decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, applied and was awarded a State Farm scholarship to complete his training.

ali just graduated

NAT Coordinator Tanya Christensen shared, “Nursing has always been a field dominated by women, but more patients are wanting to have a choice as to whether a man or woman takes care of them. In addition, people who are further along in their careers are realizing nursing could be a great next career step since the healthcare sector continues to add jobs and that the unemployment rate is low. With all these reasons, why wouldn’t someone pursue this rewarding career path.”

Lucikly, there’s still time to apply for scholarships and participate in training sessions provided by the Red Cross. Day and evening classes are taking place in Green Bay, La Crosse and Waupaca. Check out the Red Cross NAT website for more details!