In Memory: Volunteer and Friend – Dr. Mark Reinke

By Jody Weyers, Director of Volunteers:

Today, after work, I will be attending the visitation service for Dr. Mark Reinke, friend and volunteer. Mark passed away Christmas night surrounded by his family following a courageous fight with pancreatic cancer.

Mark’s courage, positive attitude and willingness to give back, is a lesson we can all learn from him and incorporate into our daily lives.

(section from his obituary)

Mark retired immediately from his medical practice upon learning of his diagnosis in December 2012. During his last year Mark embarked on a bucket list of adventures. The most rewarding adventure was being able to form closer relationships with a number of friends. He often shared with all of them, “it is not about the length of your life but about the depth of your life”. It was his strong-will to live, unwavering faith, love of our Heavenly Father, and prayers from family friends that carried him through these last 13 months of treatments and endless doctor visits.

In September, Mark called me and he wanted to volunteer. He had friends that drove for our transportation services program, and he wanted to be able to give back while he was in this fight. As a matter of fact, the last time he drove for us, was only a few weeks prior to his death. Physically you could see he didn’t feel good, but being able to help people, gave him the strength to keep fighting.

While Mark was going through this battle, he wrote about the ups and downs on a Caring Bridge site.

Here was his post on September 22, 2013

523f62620dad100702823f68Mark has a job…about time!

For those of you who are wondering what I do with ALL my spare time, I have finally ventured out of the house. Kathy has been after me for the past several weeks to find something to occupy my time. I am now an official Red Cross volunteer. Once a week, I spend about 4 or 5 hours driving people around town.

I get a Red Cross Chevy Impala with about a million miles on it, plug in the GPS and crisscross Green Bay several times. I usually put on at least 70 miles in a morning. This is a service provided by the Red Cross and enables people to go to their doctor’s appointment, go to work and do errands such as grocery shopping, etc. The majority of people I transport are disabled and I find this work to be extremely gratifying. The people are so appreciative, friendly and courteous. If I am 15 or 20 minutes early, more often than not, the clients will be sitting on their front step waiting for me. And boy, do they love to talk!

Sometimes I think I’m their social contact for the day. I get the lowdown on their doctors, the Packers and their neighbors. They are a hoot! Anyway, this is a great experience for me and I would highly encourage everyone to consider volunteering in your community. It’s a win-win for everyone. I feel so much better about helping others and the 4 hours are a minuscule part of my week. I know we’re all busy, some more than others. Believe me, I was there. If you get a chance, at least consider giving back to your charity or community. You won’t be sorry and the rewards to yourself and others outweigh any inconvenience.

Our thought and prayers go out to Mark’s family and friends and we thank you for sharing him with us for his last few months.

The New Year is upon us, and if you are looking to make a change, or a “resolution” think about volunteering. I know someone who will have a big smile on their face from above if you do!

Red Cross in Need of Volunteer Drivers

Thank you Fox 11 & Angela Kelly for focusing on our need for additional volunteer drivers today to support our Transportation Program!  IMAG1490 Fox 11 interview - Angela

The American Red Cross in Northeast Wisconsin is in need of volunteer drivers for its Transportation Services program. The program offers rides to individuals 60 or older or who have a disability and need transportation for a variety of reasons — from medical appointments to grocery store trips.

Currently, there are 80 volunteers who drive a fleet of 24 vehicles throughout the Green Bay metro, Pulaski areas and starting October 22, Denmark area.

Rides are available Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  It costs $3 per person, per one-way ride.

Click here for more information. Red Cross leaders say the program is in need of more volunteer drivers.

It’s one way you can be “Making A Difference.”  Click here to learn more about how to volunteer. FOX 11’s Angela Kelly learned more about the program for Wednesday’s Good Day Wisconsin.

Click on the video links to watch interviews with Red Cross leaders, current volunteer drivers and program clients.

American Red Cross and Walmart Announce Nurse Assistant Training Scholarships

$50,000 available to empower students throughout Wisconsin to pursue Health Care industry careers

*** On Thursday, August 29th between Noon – 4:00p.m. we can provide tours of the Green Bay training location. In addition, Paulene Kipke, the statewide program manager, will be there to discuss the training, benefits, demonstrate a few skills ****

CNA class 8.09 018The American Red Cross in Wisconsin will help 50 students across the state receive nursing & life-skills training for entry-level healthcare careers through the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

The hands-on health care training program is available on a monthly basis in Altoona, Green Bay, Oshkosh & Waupaca with the next courses beginning the first week of September. The curriculum equips students for a career into the fast-growing health care industry. With the growing senior population, this training will help communities like ours alleviate a shortage of adequately trained Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs). With small class sizes, limited to 16-students, individual hands-on time is guaranteed which has historically meant 94% of Red Cross trained students pass the state testing exam on their first attempt.  With the certification, CNA wages range from $9.25 – $16.65 per hour, which is much higher than minimum wage and often include a variety of benefits.

By joining forces with Walmart and the Red Cross training, graduates can earn higher wages and find jobs that provide health insurance for themselves and their families. The collaboration will help meet Walmart’s goal of empowering women throughout Wisconsin, the U.S. and around the world.  To complement the nursing skills, each participant will participate in an additional 16-hours of life-skills designed to help them turn training into a professional career. Topics will range from building a resume, interviewing skills and personal finance with a distinct emphasis on professionalism, punctuality and a commitment towards work. With the scholarship, the tuition is only $250.00. Plus, due to the State of Wisconsin Medicaid training reimbursement program, this cost could also be recouped by the student upon gaining qualified employment.

Red Cross NAT instructors equip students with the skills required to become CNAs and provide basic care such as feeding, dressing, bathing and monitoring patients so they can work in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living, hospitals and in-home health care.

The scholarship is available across the state so students can participate in classes in Altoona, Green Bay, Oshkosh and/or Waupaca.  Course locations, dates, time and registration information is available at  The scholarships are on a first registered basis and the complete application must be submitted by October 15th. Specific course questions should be directed to Tanya Christianson at 715-902-1035 and/or Later this fall, the course may also be available in La Crosse and Woodville.

The American Red Cross has trained and engaged America’s nurses in its life saving mission for more than 130 years. Last year, the Red Cross taught health and safety skills to nearly 12 million people nationwide, including 336 Nursing Assistants throughout the State of Wisconsin

This is the first credential-specific training grant Walmart has awarded as part of their Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, one of which is to help 200,000 U.S. women from low-income households access job training, education, career counseling, and mentoring to increase their employment opportunities. More information on this initiative can be found at

Volunteers Needed: July 4th Festival Foods Fire Over the Fox

FOTF Logo_Festival Foods_rgbThe American Red Cross has been a partner of this downtown event for six years. We provide 90 volunteers to staff two foods tents on the east and west side of the Main St. Bridge at the 4th of July celebration.

We are looking for volunteers for:  

Tent # 1: East Side of Main St. Bridge
(near Coaches Corner)

  • 7pm-11pm (10 – needed)

Tent #2: West Side of Main St. Bridge
(near museum)

  • 7pm-11pm (5 – needed)

Assignments include cooking and serving brats, burgers, and beverages to the downtown crowds. Must be 18 years of age or older due to selling of alcohol in the tent.

The American Red Cross receive a donation of $5,000 for our support of this great downtown community event!

If you can help please contact Jody Weyers, at 920-227-4287 or

Volunteer Flyer- Festival Foods Fire over the Fox 2013 - needs update

Real Stories:Real People – How the Red Cross started our journey with triumph over tragedy

By Sheri Sorenson: 

In the early morning hours of October 9, 2010 our home as we knew it was gone to a devastating fire. Our oldest son was home and a friend of his was over. We were at our camper an hour away with our daughter and our middle son worked nights so he was at work. The smoke alarms sounded and in less than a half an hour our house was gone due to a timer in our landscape lights that was sitting next to our garage. Luckily Cody and his friend escaped without injury but he had no shoes or jacket as it was all destroyed.

Luckily the Red Cross sent a lovely older couple to the scene. We had to travel to get back so they gave Cody and his friend blankets and water and stood by them until we got back. When we arrived they met us and hugged us and told us they were there to help. They gave us blankets and reassured us we would be okay. We really had no place to go as it was 4 AM so they set us up in a motel for the next 3 days (including our dog) and called the motel to see if they served breakfast that morning and gave us gift cards to start to replace all of our lost things.

I truly appreciate all the Red Cross did for us. I guess until a tragedy hits home you don’t realize just how important they are in your community. They helped make a devasting situation somewhat bearable and helped us with lists of what we needed to do and checked up on us in the days to follow. We gave a presentation last year at the Dancing With the Stars fundraiser in Green Bay as a thank you and a testimonial of the great things the Red Cross stands for.

Hopefully you will never need their assistance but if you do rest assured that they will be there for you too. In April of 2011 we moved back to our lot with a brand new home built on it. It was an awful struggle to replace and rebuild our life, but the Red Cross started us in the right direction on that journey. Thank you!

To read additional “real stories” click HERE!

96-year-old Baudhuin stays young through volunteer work

Written by Patti Zarling  Press-Gazette Media

One of the big changes Blanche Baudhuin experienced as a volunteer with Red Cross was moving to a computerized system. ‘I never owned a computer, I was afraid,’ Baudhuin said. ‘They showed me a simple way.’ / Lukas Keapproth/Press-Gazette Media

Blanche Baudhuin wore a cheerful red and white Christmas sweater and matching red shoes recently to greet blood donors at the local Red Cross on Deckner Avenue.Many regular donors recognize the smiling 96-year-old as she takes their name and types their information into “Susie” the computer. After all, she’s been a volunteer for the Northeastern Wisconsin chapter of the American Red Cross for about 36 years.

“I just love it,” Baudhuin said. “I hate to think of the day I can’t volunteer anymore.”

She said the gig keeps her young at heart. She used to be a driver for the nonprofit’s transportation services, but now she helps out at the front desk, sometimes answering phones, but mostly checking in donors.

She started volunteering after her husband died.

“I had to do something to keep busy,” Baudhuin said. “Before I came here, I also helped with the free Thanksgiving dinners for people and made quilts for the needy.”

Baudhuin said she likes volunteering for the Red Cross.

“I enjoy meeting the people,” she said. “Most of the people who come in know me because I’ve been here so long. When they come in, they kid with me.”

One of the big changes she experienced was moving to a computerized system.

“I never owned a computer, I was afraid,” Baudhuin said. “They showed me a simple way. I’m too old, can’t run it. We named her Susie.”

Although she no longer drives for the Red Cross, she still occasionally volunteers off sight, by helping at locations such as Green Bay City Hall, during blood collections.

Everyone she works with at the Red Cross is nice, she said.

“I like the people,” she said. “They’re friendly, and nice to get along with.”

Baudhuin grew up in Algoma and move to Green Bay in 1940. She likes to crochet and play cards when she’s not volunteering. She turns 97 in March.

She thinks more seniors should consider helping others.

“Instead of sitting home and feeling sorry for yourselves, get out and volunteer,” she said. “That’s how I feel about it.”

The Red Cross appreciates her efforts.

“She’s an absolute joy,” said Jody Weyers, regional volunteer and communications director for the local Red Cross. “I think it goes to show volunteering definitely keeps you young at heart. If you’re thing is sitting at home and thinking about ailments, it’s better to get out and keep busy.”

Blanche Baudhuin, 96, helps Jerry Vander Heiden check in to donate blood at the Lakeland Red Cross on Deckner Avenue. / Lukas Keapproth/Press-Gazette Media

Larry Guyette has known Baudhuin for more than a decade and drives her home after she volunteers at the center.

“She has such energy and enthusiasm,” he said. “She gets upset if she can’t make it here. It’s something that’s really important to her, and I thinks she sets a good example for all of us.”

— pzarling@greenbaypressgazette or follow her on Twitter @PGPattiZarling

Otero One of the 20 Women To Know

We are proud of Red Cross Staffer Michelle Otero honored in You Magazine 2012 Twenty Women to Know Issue!!!

Michelle Otero, bilingual donor recruitment supervisor, American Red Cross

“You’ve got to want it” – no words could be truer about life accomplishment. At 31, Otero has followed those wise words of her father through various challenges, including studying abroad in Spain, dabbling in politics on Capitol Hill and now in her role at the American Red Cross. “My mom and dad were never afraid to take chances, and jumped at new experiences,” she stated.

“Working in donor recruitment for the American Red Cross is like nothing I have ever done before,” she said. “It’s incredibly rewarding to know that through this line of work we really do help to save lives, and it’s so great to be able to provide opportunities for people to get involved.”

The death of her father a few years ago served as the impetus for her new motto in life: “Do your best every day and live with no regrets.”