Tornados Deliver Harsh Message To Shawano County

By Marilyn Janke, America Red Cross volunteer

The meteorologist said they were small tornados but the families impacted by them saw them as big ones!

Three tornados touched down in Shawano shawanotornado3County on Wednesday, June 14th leaving numerous outbuildings flattened and one mobile home completely destroyed. The Red Cross responded within hours to set up a reception area for those who might need the respite, sent out people to contact those affected from the storm and alleviated the worry of a resident facing storm damage caused by water cascading into her living room.

On a local farm, the farmer’s adult son was in one of the sheds, when the tornado swooped down with little warning but with its usual roar. All he could do, was grab a chair, surround himself with bales of hay and if the story holds true, lit a cigarette and waited for his demise. He calmly faced the inevitable that turned out to be only the loss of a large shed and not his life. The experience kept everything in perspective.

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Interestingly, a small pencil size piece of wood was hammered into a tree without splintering. It was one of those pictures that one hears about but never quite believes.

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The long time farmer is now a believer in weird happenings like this. The squawking of peacocks from the side field indicated that their birds were still strutting their stuff. On further inspection it appeared that they were minus a couple of the feathered friends. Strong winds hit and they just flew the coop.

The mobile home did not fare well and was totally destroyed leaving the resident without her home.  The anxiety, grief and uncertainty appeared to be etched in her face. With the support of family and friends, she was literally picking up the pieces. Neither her horse was touched nor was his stable damaged. However, within feet of that was the flattened home. She was carefully going through the debris to find anything that might be usable in the future. The Red Cross provided the chance for her to garner comfort, an idea of what to do next and reassurances that this was in so many ways fixable.

shawanotornado5.jpgThe quiet comfort she gave to this tornado victim was both needed and priceless. While the storm covered a path that left people in the wrong place at the wrong time, the Red Cross was definitely there at just the right time.

 

If you would like to join the dynamic team of disaster responders, please visit redcross.org/volunteer to begin your journey.

Shawano County Twister Photos

Tomah VA Partners with Red Cross to Fish

fish1Story & photos by: Ben Seiler, American Red Cross – Wisconsin Region

Tomah, Wisconsin, June 10, 2017 – Hot temps and humid weather did not keep the residents of the Tomah VA Medical center from getting out and casting a few lines.

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Veteran Jim Hendricks poses with his catch of the day.  Jim had been sporting pan fish all day until he reeled in his 15 in. Large Mouth Bass.

 

As part of a new program, The Red Cross Service to Armed Forces division is now sending volunteers to the Tomah VA. Every other Saturday, volunteers escort residents a quarter mile down to the fish pond, with only one intent, to fish.

Although fishing has been around for 27 years at the location, “A lot of our guys are in wheel chairs, and need to be pushed out which drives the need for additional volunteers,” said Amy Olson, Recreation Therapy Assistant in the Med. Center.

Helping the Veterans get out of the ward, and do something that brings back childhood memories paves way for better treatment and overall a greater welfare for the men, women, and families that have served out country.

Tomah VA SAF Fishing Excursion Photos

Red Cross Continued Response to Deadly Severe Weather In Northern Wisconsin

Trained Red Cross members remain onsite in Chetek and Conrath, Wisconsin providing as needed services to affected residents.  Significant home and business damage in both of these regions will require continued support and assistance.

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Red Cross volunteer assists with residents reuniting with their pet.

The American Red Cross continues to collaborate with emergency management agencies and community leaders to provide any disaster related relief available which includes: shelter, food/water, mental health, medical assistance, and coordination of pet care assistance through the Barron County Humane Society and a significant donation by Pet Supplies Plus. Trained staff will remain onsite in both locations until all of the needs of the residents are met and normal life routines have resumed.

Kyle Kriegel, American Red Cross local chapter executive shares, “Our hearts and prayers go out to all those impacted by the tornadoes. The Red Cross family is by your side and will be available to assist you during this difficult time.”

For families that still need assistance, Red Cross teams are available in the following locations:

RED CROSS ASSISTANCE CENTERS
Barron County Reception Center                                        St. Peters Catholic Church
Mosaic Telecom                                                                      1618 20th Street
401 S. 1st Street                                                                       Cameron, WI 54822
Cameron, WI 54822

34723992355_fb002a3eee_oDONATION & VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE
It takes time and money to store, sort, clean and distribute donated items, which diverts limited time and resources away from helping those most affected. In contrast, financial donations can be accessed quickly and put to use right away to directly help and support those affected; with a financial donation, individuals can buy what they need and want.

Each disaster is unique and so are the needs of its victims. Financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. Even a small financial donation can go further than you might think. For instance, $2 can provide a snack to a child who just lost his or her home and $10 can provide a hot meal to that same child.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Red Cross depends on the generous support of the American public to fulfill its crucial mission. Help people affected by disasters like floods, wildfires and countless other crises by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. These gifts enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Make a donation today by visiting https://www.redcross.org/ donate/donation, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.

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Damages from the Chetek tornado

 

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.

Home Fires Remain #1 Disaster in WI

It’s been a busy few days and weeks for the American Red Cross, both here in Wisconsin and across the country.  There have been a number of ongoing response and recovery efforts. Your partnership and support makes it possible for us to help the families and individual affected by each of these events.

The Red Cross continues to provide disaster relief to people across the country in California, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.  Flooding, tornadoes and strong storms tore have kept Red Cross workers and volunteers busy.  Three Wisconsin disaster workers deployed to Butte, Yuba and Sutter counties in California working with state and volunteer partners to provide comfort and care to shelter over 2,200 residents.  Another 4 disaster workers from Wisconsin were deployed to the tornado-ravaged areas of Mississippi in response to the string of severe storms that ripped through the South on January 21-22.

Home fires, however, remain the single most prevalent and most destructive disaster the Red Cross responds to. This year has gotten off to a very busy start for Wisconsin disaster teams.  Since January 1, the Red Cross has responded to 131 fires across the state.  wisconsin-home-firesAs you can see on the map shown, these fires have happened in communities big and small – with responses in 43 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.  Comparing against the same period last year, 20% more families have needed our help in 2017 as the Red Cross has provided comfort and assistance to 699 people, 213 of them children.

In each of these incidents, trained Red Cross Disaster Responders were on the scene, providing immediate support for affected families and individuals – such as food and clothing – while ensuring that they have the resources they need to get back on their feet. Generous support from those in the community allow the Red Cross to be there providing hope and comfort during these challenging times for all those affected.

Continuous support also ensures that communities are stronger and more resilient to home fires. To help prevent injuries and loss of life from home fires, the Red Cross launched a nationwide Home Fire Campaign in 2014. Together with local fire departments and community groups, they visit neighborhoods at high risk for home fires, educating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installing smoke alarms. There is still much work to do, but since the campaign began, 159 lives have been saved nationwide through these efforts.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Home Fire Campaign, protecting your loved ones and home from a fire, or how the Red Cross is making a difference in your community, visit www.redcross.com. Or if you would like to help people affected by disasters by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief please donate here. two-rivers-house-fire-2-11-14

Platelet Donations Needed

Platelets are tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding. For millions of Americans, they are essential to surviving and fighting cancer, chronic diseases, and traumatic injuries. Every 30 seconds someone in the U.S. needs platelets. And because platelets must be used within five days, new donors are needed every day. That’s why we need you.  That’s why 4-year-old Graden Hansen from Bloomer, WI needs you.
bloodblog1In September, 2016, Graden was diagnosed with acute lymphblastic leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow and has had to depend on blood and platelet transfusions to help him fight the disease.

The American Red Cross recently issued an emergency alert for platelet and blood donors.

“Right now we are at an emergency alert level,” explained Communications Manager for the American Red Cross Sue Thesenga. “During November and December, the Red Cross collected 37,000 units less than we expected, so we’re trying to make up that shortfall.”

Every 30 seconds someone in the United States needs platelets, and because platelets must be used within five days, new donors are needed every day. That is why the American Red Cross began collecting platelets on Jan. 7 at the Chippewa Valley Blood Donation Center, 3485 E. Hamilton Ave.bloodblog

“Most people don’t realize, but cancer patients or people with life threatening illnesses that have bleeding involved, really need platelets,” Thesenga said. “It’s really important to have a staple supply of platelets available at hospitals because they only have a shelf life of 5 days, so we it’s really important to have so we can meet patient demand.”

During a platelet donation, blood is collected by a device that separates platelets, along with some plasma, from whole blood and returns the remaining blood components back to the donor. The entire process takes about two to three hours to ensure a full donation. Donors are encouraged to relax during the donation, and the Red Cross center has videos, television and wireless internet available.

Donors are able to donate platelets every seven days, up to 24 times a year. In comparison, people donating whole blood are eligible to donate every 56 days, up to six times a year.

To donate or to find out more information about donating platelets in Eau Claire, download the new American Red Cross donor app, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org.