“The Volunteer You Would Need” Red Cross Volunteers are There When Disaster Strikes.

Written By: Dawn Miller, American Red Cross – Wisconsin Region

Photos provided by: Megann Hooyman

When the volunteer from the American Red Cross arrived it was like seeing an old friend and that was just what Megann Hooyman and her family of Appleton needed. The moments leading up to it were a blur of smoke and sirens.

Megann’s family, including her husband, Andy, 4-year old daughter, Zoey and the two-year old twins, Rylee and Callie, had arrived home from a holiday event with Santa. It was a festive Saturday morning so it took Megann a few moments to realize something was wrong.

When she opened her door all she saw was black and smoke. The glass from the oven was shattered on the floor and smoke was everywhere. She bent down to Charlie, their basset hound, but he was already gone. In the living room the smoke was so thick she could not see her hand in front of her.

She ran out the front door and yelled for someone to call 9-1-1. Smoke billowed out behind her. When she opened the door it allowed oxygen in to ignite the flames again.

Andy grabbed the fire extinguisher nearby and used it to keep flames down until firefighters arrived. “It was lucky that we had the fire extinguisher and that Andy knew how to use it,” says Megann.

Within moments Megann heard the sirens and the fire department was there. The fire fighters not only got the fire under control but assisted the family’s other dog, Zebby, who suffered bad burns and smoke inhalation. The ambulance assisted Andy who also was treated for smoke inhalation.

The fire damage was extensive and their possessions were destroyed.

Megann says the American Red Cross volunteer appeared out of nowhere. It’s like seeing a familiar face when you see the American Red Cross logo and that red vest. “It was nice to have that one reliable thing you know you can count on for information and support.”

Megann says the volunteer being there made her feel less alone. “I would have felt lost because I wouldn’t have known what to expect.”

He offered honest advice, time to process next steps and he made sure they were ok. He made sure they had housing and asked if they needed community resources like the food or clothing pantry. He gave them a $625 debit card for necessities like shampoo, conditioner and diapers. “It goes pretty fast when you have little ones,” says Megann.

Megann says she is thankful for such a supportive community. In the weeks following the fire, they stayed with family and were offered much support from friends and community who rallied to help keep the holiday season merry.

“You donate, you give back but you never think you are going to be on the receiving end,” says Megann. “But you need these services.”

Megann recently became the newest member of the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team.

“I hope I volunteer but I hope I don’t because it’s not a good situation,” says Megann. That’s why she’s not only being trained in disaster response but also wants to assist in fire safety and prevention education.

Megann is joining the team of compassionate and caring volunteers in red vests so she can be a friend when someone needs it the most. “You see it in school and on t.v. but you never think it will happen to you,” says Megann. “I don’t know any way to thank those who helped us except to give back and volunteer.”

If you want to be like Megann, please check out the volunteer opportunities at redcross.org/WI/volunteer.  Join us as we #Help1Family!

Red Cross helping with emergency housing, food and clothing needs

Fire from 15th Avenue in Green Bay. (photo from http://fox11online.com)

Fire from 15th Avenue in Green Bay. (photo from http://fox11online.com)

The American Red Cross is helping a dozen people – nine adults and three children from four families – after  fires yesterday in (W. Winnebago) Appleton, (Happy Valley Drive) Menasha, (5th Avenue) Green Bay and (N. Ostranda Lane) Crivitz. The Red Cross is meeting with and providing appropriate help for emergency housing, food and clothing needs.

The Red Cross has also provided families with emergency lodging, sweatsuits and personal hygiene kits along with professional resources during this difficult situation. Financial assistance for clothing, food, winter garments and shoes was also provided. Red Cross team members will be available to help the families moving forward from the initial disaster response through recovery.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of trained volunteers.

To learn more about the American Red Cross or to make a financial gift please call, text or click. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS, text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation or click on www.redcross.org

20th Anniversary of Soup’s ON – Help Support High School Challenge

Soup's-On-FY14

Ten area high schools and their partner restaurants are well on their way to creating a delicious soup for you to try at the 20th Annual Soup’s On fundraiser to benefit the American Red Cross. You won’t go away hungry! You’ll be spoiled with endless soup tasting, fresh grilled cheese sandwiches from Simon’s Cheese, and a variety of appetizers and desserts.

This year, the event team wanted to “spice” things up a bit to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event.

“For the past 19 years, we have invited restaurants to serve their own soup creations at Soup’s On. With so many team fundraisers out there now, and with popular shows like Celebrity Chef, we wanted to give it a try and create fun teams. We ultimately decided it would be neat to engage the youth in the event. They would get to work with a professional chef, learn more about the Red Cross and give back to their community,” said Becky Bergin, Director of Special Events for the Eastern Wisconsin Region.

But there’s more to the Soup’s On – High School Challenge than great soups! The participating high schools will also be campaigning for your votes prior to the event in an effort to be awarded the Crème de la Crème fundraising trophy and $1,000 grant to use towards new cooking equipment in the classroom. One vote = one dollar.

The list of high school and restaurant teams are as follows:

Appleton East High/Café Bon Appetit

Appleton North High/Mark’s Eastside

Appleton West High/Grand Meridian

Fox Valley Lutheran High/Pullman’s at Trolley Square

Green Bay Preble High/Big Tomatoes

Hortonville High/Ione’s Dining Room (FVTC)

Little Chute High/Main Event Steakhouse

Kaukauna High/Kangaroost

Neenah High/Cannova’s Pizzeria

St. Francis Xavier High/Atlas Coffee Mill & Café

You can show your support for one or more of these teams by placing your vote today at: http://www.crowdrise.com/northeasternwisconsinsoupson

The event will be held on Friday, November 1, 2013 at the Grand Meridian, 2621 N. Oneida St., Appleton. Tickets are on sale now and are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. 

Have you thought about becoming a Disaster Volunteer??

Volunteer, Chris Worm, from Fond du Lac, giving out water and sandwiches to those in need.

Volunteer, Chris Worm, from Fond du Lac, giving out water and sandwiches to those in need.

You have seen our volunteers out in the community helping for the recent tornadoes to hit Northeast Wisconsin.

Have you ever thought, “I could do that”!  Now is the time to put that thought into action. Learn more about what is involved and how to get started to become a Disaster Action Team Volunteer.

The American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin is offering two Disaster Services: An Overview courses in the Oshkosh and Appleton area. This class is a basic level training that provides an introduction to Disaster Services and the American Red Cross.

The purpose of this course is to provide information about ways participants can help their community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters. Participants will also learn about volunteer opportunities at their local Red Cross chapter.

When:  Monday, August 26, 1:00pm-4:30pm

Where: Oshkosh Red Cross Office, 515 S. Washburn St, Ste 201

When:  Tuesday, August 27, 1:00pm-4:30pm

Where: Appleton Red Cross Office, 1302 E. Wisconsin Ave, Appleton

How to register: Call or e-mail Nick Cluppert at 920-231-3590 or nick.cluppert@redcross.org

Thank you Miller Electric!!

Miller 3

Greg Popp, Operations Manager and his team at Miller Electric Mfg. Company’s “Component Products Plant” held a “baked potato sale” and a 50/50 raffle.

All of the proceeds were awarded to the American Red Cross.  The team (pictured above) consists of Josh Deppe, Annette Miller, Jean Thayer, Gregg Popp and Jill Arneson.  Betsy Wandtke, Major Gifts Officer for the Red Cross is receiving the gift.

Miller Electric Mfg. Co. is owned by Illinois Tool Works. Miller Electric Mfg. Co., with headquarters in Appleton, Wisconsin, manufactures arc welding and cutting equipment designed for manufacturing, fabrication, construction, aviation, motorsports, education, agriculture and marine applications. Miller has 1,450 employees, working in 1 million sq. ft. of space.

The company is extremely philanthropic and very involved with the community.  We appreciate their support immensely!

Red Cross opens service center for storm victims in Appleton

APPLETON Saturday, 03 Sep 2011, 9:39 PM CDT Fox 11

Due to the power outage, the American Red Cross said it now has a service center open at Appleton West High School at 610 N. Badger Avenue, Appleton.

The Red Cross is staffing the facility until 11:00p.m.

Red Cross officials say people affected by the outages are invited to recharge their electronic devices, take showers (please bring towel/toiletries), they will be given snacks, water, hot coffee and overall information.

If the need for overnight accommodations exists, the Red Cross asks you arrive by 11:00p.m. and/or call 920-231-3590.

The agency will provide a cot, blankets, pillow and breakfast if the need exists. Individuals should bring their medications, personal comfort items, etc.

The Red Cross has provided the following FAQ for storm victims:

Q. I have no power. Is there anything I should do if I’m using a generator?

A. Make sure you set the generator up outside, not in your house, basement or garage. Place the unit away from doors, windows and vents. You don’t want the carbon monoxide to come indoors. When using a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a portable generator to your home’s electrical system.

Q. My power has been out. What should I do about my food?

A. Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out! Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food ¬borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking. If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it. If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with the food thermometer. Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to touch.

Q. How can the American people help?

A. The best way to help is to make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief, which supports our work in response to disasters like hurricanes and floods, as well as countless crises at home and around the world. People can donate to Red Cross disaster relief by going to redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). They can also text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation with their mobile phone. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Red Cross Response to Northeast Wisconsin Storms

Appleton storm damage. Photo by Craig Siegmann

By working with community partners, the American Red Cross is opening a shelter at 7:00p.m. this evening for individuals in need of electricity, food, water and health services.

 WHERE:          Kaukauna High School

ADDRESS:       1701 County Trunk CE, Kaukauna,WI

If no one needs services by 11:00p.m., we will close the shelter for the evening.

 The same facility will be open Saturday morning from 7:00-11:00a.m.

 ** Disclaimer: all information is subject to change based on emergency management reports and the return of power.

Do you know what to do in a power outage? Click HERE for a Red Cross Checklist!