Red Cross Responders Stepping Up After Manitowoc Fire

We can’t say THANK YOU enough to our dedicated volunteers!

Stories and photos by: Andrea Wandrey, American Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer

“Look at that smile, isn’t that priceless”, says Taira Grubb, as she is watching one of her shelter residents unfold his new pair of pants. He is one of more than 80 elderly residents that lost everything in a Manitowoc apartment fire—from clothes to medication and furniture, photos and memories. American Red Cross responders from all over Wisconsin raised their hands quickly to help open up and run a shelter at the Wilson Junior High School, to provide basic needs like food, clothing and a place to sleep.

(l-r) Taira Grubb Bobbi Holiday and Jane Lazarevic

Taira Grubb has been a volunteer with the Red Cross for more than ten years. She is one of five disaster action team members in Washington County and traveled with fellow volunteers Bobbi Holiday and Jane Lazarevic to Manitowoc to help. Her favorite part of shelter-work is learning about the clients. “I really enjoy talking to them”, she says. Just like Taira, Jane appreciates the personal interactions: “I like making them laugh and helping them think positively”. Jane is a long-time Red Cross volunteer, and recalls that initially she was not sure how her professional background in technology could be helpful to the Red Cross. However, she quickly found out that there is always a way:

“Whatever you can do, you can give something”, says Jane.

In previous deployments she worked in many different positions, from setting up computers, to logistics, staffing and general shelter work. Likewise, her fellow Washington-County volunteer Bobbi has held different positions at the Red Cross. She was previously an office manager and is in disaster-work now, experienced in assisting clients in traumatic situations like the Manitowoc fire.

Terry Wesenberg, a licensed clinical social worker and licensed counselor and Red Cross Volunteer.

A variety of skills were needed at the Manitowoc shelter and highly-trained workers are indispensable. Terry Wesenberg joined the shelter as a licensed clinical social worker and licensed counselor. He is one of the Red Cross’s most experienced mental health professionals. For many years he was in the army, offering his help to soldiers. After his retirement from the Armed Forces he worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for six years in disaster work. Being a Red Cross Volunteer for more than 30-years, he has helped more people than he could count. “I headed out to help after six Hurricanes”, he recalls. He travelled to the Gulf Coast to assist after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005, and was in New York for Hurricanes Irene and Sandy in 2011 and 2012. When asked about his most memorable experience in all these years, he recalls his conversation with a 90-year-old woman after Superstorm Sandy. “When storm hit, she carried six white banker-boxes from her basement into her living room, to protect them from the flood”, he recalled. The boxes contained pictures, stories, and poems from her deceased granddaughter. With the water forcing its way into the house, the boxes got wet and all memories destroyed. Yet the woman refused to throw them out. “This is all I have left” Terry recalls her saying.

His extensive experience helps Terry support the Manitowoc fire victims, who also lost all of their belongings in the fire. Although his work can be tough, Terry very much enjoys volunteering, specifically because of the fellow volunteers he meets. “If you go out you will meet the best people. You want to know them all”, he says.

 

American Red Cross Issues One-Month Progress Report on Response to Superstorm Sandy

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WASHINGTON, Monday, December 3, 2012 — The American Red Cross today issued a progress report on its efforts over the past month to provide food, water, shelter, relief supplies, healthcare and other assistance to people affected by Superstorm Sandy.

 “During this first month, the Red Cross has provided emergency relief to many people affected by Superstorm Sandy. But there is still much work to be done, and we will continue to provide help and hope for weeks and months to come,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “This is our biggest U.S. disaster response in more than five years, and we are incredibly grateful for the generous support across the country that has enabled us to help the survivors of this storm.”

Hurricane Sandy was a major storm that impacted an area the size of Europe. The Red Cross mobilized more than 14,400 trained disaster workers to date – 90 percent of them volunteers – to help people affected by the storm. Today, nearly 3,000 workers are still on the job, providing food, water, shelter and relief supplies. The Red Cross has also deployed more than 300 of its emergency response vehicles and is also utilizing rental cars, trucks and other vehicles to help.

SHELTER, FOOD AND RELIEF ITEMS In the first month since Sandy hit, the Red Cross provided almost 79,000 shelter stays for Sandy, part of an overall shelter response that provided more than 153,000 shelter stays. The Red Cross has also:

  • Provided more than 7.4 million meals and snacks through its partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention to people affected by Sandy in New York and New Jersey.
  • Distributed more than 5.2 million relief items including cold weather items like coats and blankets and supplies to help people as they begin the massive clean-up of their neighborhoods.
  • Provided more than 86,000 health services and mental health contacts for people who have been living in very tough conditions.

The Red Cross response dealt with the unusual cold weather hurricane. Sandy was followed by a nor’easter that dumped snow and brought frigid temperatures to people struggling without power, and the Red Cross supplies included more Red Cross blankets, gloves and hand-warmers.

LOOKING AHEAD The Red Cross has raised nearly $170 million to date for Sandy and estimates that it will spend $110 million on the emergency relief through the end of December. Any funds donated for Sandy beyond what is needed for emergency relief will be put to use serving the long-term needs of those affected by this disaster. The Red Cross is already working with communities to determine unmet needs and how they can be met—something which will continue into the recovery process.

The Red Cross is developing specific plans that will in­clude a comprehensive needs assessment of the affected com­munities and individuals; plans that will identify resources available from both the Red Cross and other organizations. Recognizing that each community will have different needs, and different groups working to meet them, the role of the Red Cross will be determined by these local needs. What’s crucial is that there is community collaboration and cooperation to ensure that longer-term help reaches people who need it.

 

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Crews battle another blaze at complex

Published : Sunday, 13 Mar 2011, 3:27 PM CDT – Click HERE for video of WLUK Fox 11 news story.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay firefighters battled a blaze at an apartment building Sunday for the third time in the past few months.

Crews responded to the fire around 11:30 a.m. at 1413 S. Norwood Avenue. Officials say upon arrival, heavy smoke and flames were showing.

Everyone inside the complex was evacuated by the time crews arrived. Battalion Chief Paul Arvey said the fire was brought under control in approximately 15 minutes. Three units of the 10 unit apartment were heavily damaged by fire.

Land records show the value of the building at $238,600. The cause and origin are under investigation by GBFD Fire Marshals. Several residents were displaced and assisted by Red Cross. No injuries were reported. No damage estimate was available.

Red Cross Helps Seven Displaced from Apartment Fire on East Side of Green Bay

Fire Crews at the scene. Photo Doug Harvey/American Red Cross

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter responded to a six-unit apartment fire at the East Mason St. Apartments in Green Bay around 8:30pm Thursday, January 6. Eleven American Red Cross disaster workers assisted the six adults and one infant displaced by the fire with their immediate emergency needs.

We provided two adults and one infant with hotel stay, monetary assistance for clothing, infant supplies, seasonal garments and food.

The other four adults had friends or family to stay with. We provided them with monetary assistance for clothes and food.

We also provided all clients with comfort kits (which include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, facial tissue, deodorant, razors, shaving cream and lotion) and homemade quilts.

There were two individuals displaced from the fire that, at this time, did not request Red Cross assistance.

Red Cross volunteers also provided emergency crews and clients with water, coffee, snacks and sandwiches to provide them with comfort and support while at the scene.

Red Cross disaster assistance is free and is made possible by community donations. You can help individuals of this disaster and others by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter for local disaster relief. For information call the Lakeland Chapter at 920-468-8535 or visit www.arclakeland.org.

Red Cross Helps Families Displaced in 8-unit Apartment Fire

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter responded to an 8-unit apartment fire in Downtown Green Bay around 4:00pm on Friday, November 5. The fire displaces 16 people – nine adults and seven children.

Twelve American Red Cross Disaster workers assisted the families based upon their immediate emergency needs. We assisted three families with hotel stay and two families are staying with relatives.

We also provided the families monetary assistance for clothing, food, comfort kits (which include soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, facial tissue, deodorant, razors, shaving cream and lotion) and homemade quilts.

Red Cross volunteers assisted the hundreds of emergency personnel responding to the fire with water, coffee, hot chocolate, snacks, subs and pizza. Thank you to the following business for your support in our relief efforts: Walnut Shell, Subway and Pizza Hut.

Red Cross disaster assistance is free and is made possible by community donations. You can help individuals of this disaster and others by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter for local disaster relief. For information call the Lakeland Chapter at 920-468-8535 or visit www.arclakeland.org.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.