Sherri Galle-Teske: My Red Cross Story

By Sherri Galle-Teske, Account Executive for the American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross has touched my life and family in so many ways. My earliest memory of learning about the Red Cross was when I was five years old. My grandmother Agnes Patoka (fondly known as Nana) would put me up on her lap and read children’s books when I would come to her house for visits. My favorite books however-were her old photo albums which included many photos of my father as a child. She would reminisce and explain in detail every photo and always explained the “story” behind it.

On one occasion Nana had a photo album that I had never seen before and it contained special pictures of her prior marriage. One picture in particular was of great interest to me. The picture was taken in 1919 when my grandmother was 18 years old. The photo shows my grandmother sitting with two of her friends on a lawn. All of the girls are wearing long white gowns with a white cloth on their heads. On their foreheads the white cloth sported a red cross. She explained to me that she and her friends volunteered at the American Red Cross in Menasha, WI. There was a terrible war going on in Europe and many soldiers and civilians needed their help. After school she and her friends went to the Red Cross and ripped apart long cotton petty skirts (now known as slips) into long strips. The men at the Red Cross office bundled them together in bales and they were sent to the war front to be used as bandages.

That photo is framed and currently hangs on the wall in my Stevens Point office. Nana’s special picture has been in many of my presentations and displays for the Red Cross. The picture travels with me frequently.

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Prior to my birth, my father was enlisted in the Navy. He knew his Aunt Francis and Uncle Luther were expecting their first child. While on ship he suddenly received bad news – Uncle Luther was killed in a plane accident. He received the message from the Red Cross. Soon after he received another message – my Aunt Francis had delivered a beautiful baby boy. Would he be the godfather? Naturally my father agreed-he recited the religious oath from the ship’s control room over the radio (somewhere close to the Philippine Islands) – all arranged via the Red Cross!

My Aunt Phyllis Petts of Neenah, WI, spent many years as a Red Cross blood volunteer until her death. I received her Red Cross volunteer pin from my cousins after the funeral.

I guess it was destiny for me to work for the American Red Cross. I am excited to be part of a family tradition that has followed this organization for such a long time. When I refer a blood drive, sell an AED, discuss Services to Armed Forces (SAF), or recommend our volunteer program, I know “someone above” is smiling down at me – and feeling proud.


Sherri Galle-Teske supports the Preparedness, Health and Safety Services in both Wisconsin and Michigan. As February is National Heart Month, it is important to know that Sherri’s support of Preparedness, Health and Safety Services includes helping people obtain AEDs for their home, business, school or organization. AEDs, devices that analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm, are an important element in reducing the number of cardiac arrest deaths. In addition, the Red Cross offers AED program management, maintenance and service. To learn more about AEDs or the Red Cross AED Program, contact Sherri via sherrigalle-teske@redcross.org.

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The Power of a Blood Donation: Greg Honeywell

Greg_HoneywellGreg Honeywell has collected several fond memories during his 30-year tenure as a pilot. Among them are playing cards with musician John Denver and flying former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole and his wife and former American Red Cross president, Elizabeth Dole.

But when he flew above the destruction that tornadoes had left behind in Greensburg, Kan., in 2007, Greg saw something he’ll always remember — a long line of Red Crossmarked vehicles heading to the devastating scene.

“The Red Cross vehicles were actually on site before the National Guard vehicles,” he said. “I was so impressed by the immediate action of the disaster services team and eventually had to get involved with this organization.”

Greg, a senior loan officer and avid golfer, began volunteering as a blood drive coordinator with the Red Cross in the fall of 2010. Closely involved with the Better Business Bureau and serving as the membership director of his local chamber of commerce, he has developed many professional ties in his community and has inadvertently sparked business ventures through his Red Cross volunteerism.

“I’m talking to at least a dozen business people every day,” he said. “When anyone mentions volunteerism or wanting to get involved somehow, I’m there to say, ‘Donate blood.’” Greg helps coordinate several blood drives every year and is currently working closely with local businesses to ensure employees are given an hour to donate blood on days when the Red Cross is in town. Additionally, Greg said the online scheduling system has enhanced his recruitment efforts and overall experience as a volunteer.

“I never want to get paid for something like this,” he said. “I get all the reward I need when I see people leaving that feel like they’ve done something to make a difference. It’s that warm and fuzzy feeling.”

 

Mike Petrick named Volunteer of the Year at Volunteer Awards Banquet

Volunteer of the Year Mike Petrick with (l-r) Judy Gregory, Regional Manager, Disaster Program and Dawn Comer, Office Manager, Iron Mountain.

Mike Petrick, of Iron Mountain, Mich., was named Volunteer of the Year at the Volunteer Recognition Awards for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin,  June 12, 2012.

He was recognized for his work on the Disaster Team and contributions to emergency planning services. Petrick joined the Red Cross in 2006 and has served as the Disaster Action Team Chairperson and Lead Responder. In this role, he organized monthly Disaster Team meetings and responds to fire calls and other emergency needs. He is an active member of the Iron Mountain Office Advisory Board as well.

He represents Red Cross at the Local Emergency Planning meetings in both Dickinson County, MI and Florence County, WI. He also works with the Dickinson County Healthcare System disaster planning committee. He has worked for many years with the Iron Mountain office’s main fundraiser, Red for Red.

Petrick was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award for his continued service to the American Red Cross, reliability and passion for helping people. We are excited to present this award to such a worthy recipient.