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.

 

Pulaski bowling alley fire

Photo by Fox 11

Several local departments respond

Fox 11 – Saturday, 03 Dec 2011, 3:09 AM CST

Pulaski – Wood Lanes, a decades-old bowling alley in downtown  Pulaski, is up in flames, and the blaze may have spread to a building next door.

Our crew on the scene has not spoken with authorities yet, so it is unclear if there are any injuries or what may have caused the fire.

We’ll bring you a live report on Good Day Wisconsin and keep you updated as more details become available.

Red Cross Response:

Disaster Volunteers on the scene since early am providing coffee and snacks to the emergency crews (170+) responding to a fire at the Pulaski Bowling Alley. We are also working with families who had homes near the fire and are displaced. Will report additional information as we know it.

 

Red Cross Responds to Two House Fires over the Weekend

Fire Crews at the East Mason Street Fire on January 6, 2011. Nine people displaced, and Red Cross assisted eight.

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter responded to a house fire in Wrightstown around 6:30pm on Saturday, January 8, displacing six people. Two Red Cross volunteers were on the scene to assist the three adults, two teens, and one child with their immediate emergency needs.

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

This morning around 6:30am we received another call of a house fire on Doty St on the East side of Green Bay affecting 9 adults. Two Red Cross volunteers assisted 8 adults with monetary assistance for clothing and food. All clients also received comfort kits and homemade quilts. They all had friends or relatives to stay with.

One individual did not utilize Red Cross services.

This makes for the fourth fire response the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter has assisted at since the New Year. In total from the four incidences we have helped 27 people with their immediate emergency needs

We need your help! 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 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.