Red Cross honors volunteers, tornado relief efforts in Oshkosh ceremony

Written by Charles Greenley of The Northwestern

When Andy Stanislawski arrived in Joplin, Mo., in May, Mother Nature’s fingerprints were everywhere.

A tornado that destroyed 8,000 homes and killed 160 people had just ripped through the city, and proof of the twister’s force was in the trees that were still standing.

“Every day it was unbelievable. Three weeks later people were still looking through their stuff to see if they could salvage something,” Stanislawski said.

Maps were worthless because all the street signs had been ruined, yet from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for nearly every day of his three-week stint volunteering for the American Red Cross, Stanislawski rode the streets of Joplin in an emergency relief vehicle, delivering hot meals to those in need.

For this and many other volunteer efforts for Red Cross, the Waupaca native won the Exceptional Volunteer Service Award for Disaster Services at a ceremony held at The Waters in Oshkosh Tuesday night.

The program, titled “Celebration of Support,” honored local Red Cross volunteers. Plaudits such as the prestigious Clara Barton Honor Award were given out, and corporate partners were recognized.

Joyce Petit of Berlin has seen a lot of carnage in 27 years as a volunteer for Red Cross.

Petit worked at a service center in Joplin, handing out backpacks, phone cards and personal care kits to locals whose homes had suffered significant damage.

As about 100 attendees ate sandwich rolls and grilled peppers before the ceremony began, Petit praised the organization she had served for so long.

“They take care of you so you can take care of the victims,” Petit said.

Instead of tooting his own horn for all the work he’s done for Red Cross, Stanislawski opened up a letter a three-year-old girl from Shamokin, Penn., wrote him.

After she gave thanks to Stanislawski for everything he did to help locals deal with Hurricane Irene this summer, the last line simply said, “You are a hero to me.”

American Red Cross Deploys Local Volunteer to Joplin, MO

Joyce Petit, pictured here with John Schorse, has volunteered for the Red Cross for 27 years.

Berlin, WI, May 31, 2011 — American Red Cross volunteer Joyce Petit, of Berlin, will be leaving today at 4:00pm for Jopin, MO to help the people impacted by the devastating tornadoes to hit that area just over one week ago.

Joyce is assigned to go out to assist in client casework. As a client casework volunteer she will be working with individuals impacted by the disaster to determine their immediate emergency needs and provide assistances.

“Client Casework is an important activity for Red Cross,” said Nick Cluppert, Emergency Services Manager, EastCentral WI Chapter. “We provide people with assistance and walk them through the steps as they begin their road to recovery. Joyce Petit is a great volunteer and will no doubt bring lots of experience to this activity on her deployment.”

Joyce has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for 27 years and this is her 12th National Disaster Assignment. She has also assisted for the Terrorist attacks of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and Wilma and the 2008 Wisconsin Floods.

Joyce works part-time for Classic Cab, LTD in Berlin,WI.

Since the end of March, the Red Cross has launched 35 large disaster responses across 24 states reeling from the devastation left behind after this spring’s flooding and tornadoes. 

The Red Cross is helping people today and will still be providing assistance in the weeks to come.

Since March 31, American Red Cross has:

  • Served more than 2.3 million meals and snacks.
  • Opened more than 240 shelters and provided 22,000 overnight stays
  • Provided more than 53,000 mental health and health consultations
  • Handed out more than 1.2 million relief items like toothbrushes and shampoo, tarps, coolers, rakes and other clean-up supplies.
  • Deployed more than 10,000 trained disaster relief workers from all 50 states

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help people affected by disasters like these tornadoes and wildfires. You can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

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 or join our blog at