Good Bye and Best Wishes!

Steve Maricque and Jan Crawford, volunteer, on his last day at the Red Cross.

It’s amazing how quickly nine years can pass.  I can still remember that first week as Executive Director and asking myself, “what did I get myself into?”  But, it improved as time went on and I hope that in some way I left my mark with the organization.

I will always cherish my time with the American Red Cross. I looked at my experience as a blessing and a chance to grow as a person.  I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to get to know many outstanding people that I will forever be grateful. 

Thank you so very much for providing me the chance to serve as your leader.  It was an honor.  You truly do extraordinary things to help others in need.  You make this community a great place to live because of your caring attitude.  Always keep that and continue to help others.  That’s what’s important in this life.

I hope I will continue to see many of you.  I wish you all my very best as you continue your journey.

Take care,

Steve Maricque

To read about Steve’s new role with Bellin Health, click HERE.

State Red Cross volunteers head east to New York to deliver food and beverages, help with disaster

By Charles Davis  Green Bay Press-Gazette

Jerry Prellwitz all ready and heading to help.

Jerry Prellwitz is making the 17-hour drive to Middletown, N.Y., to help people there prepare for Hurricane Irene.

“I don’t know what to expect. I’m hoping to get out there and find not much to do,” said Prellwitz, a volunteer with the  American Red Cross who also provided disaster relief earlier this year after deadly tornadoes hit Mississippi.

Prellwitz, 62, of Green Bay planned to leave Friday in an emergency services vehicle with Neenah-area volunteer David Mooney.

The vehicle mostly is empty, except for cases to carry food and drinks. They expect to be joined on the East Coast today by Red Cross volunteers nationwide, as well as volunteers from Manitowoc and Fond du Lac.

Mooney served in relief in two trips to North Dakota in response to flooding there.

“I guess I just like to help people,” he said, “and the people who are involved are just tremendous. A lot of them have been doing this for years.”

Prellwitz and Mooney expected to be gone for up to three weeks. Although Middletown, N.Y., is the immediate destination, volunteers may be needed elsewhere on the East Coast after Irene passes.

Nick Cluppert, emergency services manager for the American Red Cross of East Central Wisconsin, said Mooney is one of four volunteers from the region headed east in response to the hurricane.

Another Neenah volunteer will travel to Massachusetts and will work on shelter projects.

“The scary part is the path of the hurricane and the number of people it could impact. You’re talking about a very densely populated area,” said Steve Maricque, director of regional operations for the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Maricque said he was notified Thursday by Red Cross headquarters that volunteers were needed from the area.

Jerry Prellwitz, Red Cross volunteer, being interviewed by Charles Davis, Green Bay Press Gazette, Reporter.

In the event of damage, Prellwitz will help set up shelters and drive to areas to provide food and beverages as needed, Maricque said.

Mental health workers could also join the effort to counsel victims, Maricque said.

He advised those in the area to donate blood in anticipation of shortages.

It’s possible Hurricane Irene could drop to a Category 1 storm — with 74 to 95 mph winds — by the time it’s projected to hit the New York area midday Sunday, Tasos Kallas, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Ashwaubenon, said Friday.

“At that point, it would be more of a rain and waves swelling,” Kallas said.

Possible dangers then would shift from wind damage to flooding, he added.

cedavis@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @pgcharlesdavis.

More Red Cross volunteers head south

23 Northeast Wisconsinites currently deployed

Click on the photo to see video of this story.

Flooding of the lower Mississippi River is getting worse, though much of Memphis was spared Tuesday.

Water flooded low-lying areas and submerged some homes.

Officials are cautiously optimistic that levees will hold, preventing widespread damage.

However volunteers, including some from Northeast Wisconsin, are pouring in to assist.

The American Red Cross says it now has 23 people from our area in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.

They’re helping with a previous disaster and the current one.

“People losing loved ones or neighbors that they’ve know for ages,” volunteer Joyce Keyes said. “You know they really get to you and you feel a lot of empathy for their loss.”

Keyes is stationed in North Central Alabama, one of the areas hit hardest by tornados in late April.

“The houses are just totally leveled the trees are stripped and broken,” she explained.

Luckily the area she’s in is not dealing with flooding.

As a mental health professional, her focus is on helping disaster victims deal with their emotional wounds.

Steven Maricque, Executive Director of the the Red Cross’s Lakeland Chapter, says people like Keyes are in demand right now.

Two more mental health workers from the area will leave for the South next week.

But, Maricque says all eyes are on Mississippi.

“It’s a fluid situation that develops day to day based on how that water is moving,” he said. “Do we get additional rainfall that might require more people?”

Maricque says the chapter’s emergency response vehicle is in Memphis with volunteers.

But the situation is taxing resources.

“We support and provide relief for over 75,000 disasters a year in this country, but the neighborhood fires the family fires those don’t stop,” Maricque said.

The Red Cross is hoping donations won’t either.

Agency efforts in the Alabama and Mississippi tornados are expected to cost $30 million, and the total is rising with the river in Tennessee.

 

 

American Red Cross Receives Support from Shopko Foundation for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund

The American Red Cross is honored to be presented with a $10,000 donation from Shopko Foundation for the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund.

“When a tragedy of this magnitude occurs, we are reminded we are all part of one global community. We are proud to be in a position to support the Red Cross relief efforts in Japan,” stated Paul Jones, Shopko Foundation Chairman and Shopko CEO and President. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this terrible tragedy.” 

“We are very grateful to the Shopko Foundation for their generous gift to help the people of Japan during this very difficult time,” said Steve Maricque, Executive Director, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter.  “We appreciate the thoughtfulness and caring this gift represents.”

The money will go to the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response, specifically the Japanese Red Cross, which is providing direct emergency relief, medical services and emotional counseling to affected communities following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

 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

Gasoline Prices Impacting Transportation Service

Guest Blog Post: Steve Maricque, Executive Director, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter

The steady increase in gasoline prices has impacted the lives of many in our community.  This impact is no different on our Transportation service here at the American Red Cross. Our service provides rides to medical appointments, the grocery store or employment for individuals over 60 or with a disability to enable those individuals to maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle.

Typically in a month, we will spend $8,000 on gasoline.  The increased gasoline price has raised that expense 25% to now $10,000 a month.  The Transportation service is primarily funded through state funds that are passed down to the local level and managed through Brown County via the Aging and Disability Resource Center.  This is where the majority of funds are provided to support the service.  Additional funding is provided by the United Way of Brown County, individual donors and a minimal rider fee. 

This overall funding and our investment several years ago in an automated transportation scheduling and routing software and staffing changes has enabled us to manage the increasing cost of gasoline and maintain our fee of $2.00 a ride at this time.

It has been almost 5 years since we last raised our rider fee 50 cents to its current level.  We understand the need to maintain a low cost transportation option for those on fixed incomes.  If gasoline prices continue to rise, we will engage our current funding partners to request additional assistance along with asking for help from our community donors.

We will continue to do everything we can to maintain our service at its current fee level to meet the transportation needs of our clients. 

Your support and help is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Steven J. Maricque

Gas prices affect GB ride program

WFRV News:  Click HERE to see video of story. Story Created: Mar 1, 2011 at 9:08 PM CST

http://www.wfrv.com/v/?i=117211693

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Gas prices are taking a toll on local businesses and non-profits, reporter Heather Sawaski investigates how a local Red Cross program is coping with the rising costs.

More than 5 years after heart surgery, 80-year-old Dorothy Hovde is taking advantage of the Red Cross Transportation Program to get to to her exercise class at St. Mary’s Hospital.

“It’s convenient for me, I don’t drive and my children and grandchildren that do drive are at work at this time of the day,” Hovde said.

For $2 a trip, the elderly and people with disabilities in the Green Bay area can get rides to and from medical appointments and work, but the climbing gas prices are proving to be more than just a bump in the road.

“Typically we spend about $8,000 a month on gasoline, so we’ve seen a 25 percent increase, we’re now in the $10,000 range,” said Steve Maricque, Red Cross Executive Director, Lakeland Chapter.

The program is funded by state grants and local donors, and gives rides to more than 5,500 people a month. Rising costs have already forced the Red Cross to put a similar program in Door County on hold. There have also been staffing and scheduling cuts to save money.

“We’re able to, so far, manage with the increase in gas prices,” said Maricque. “But if they continue to rise, we’d have to look at other measures in terms of what we would need to do.”

The organization is looking into increasing fares as a last resort, because most of the riders are on fixed incomes, but doesn’t want to leave people like Dorothy Hovde stranded.

The last time the Red Cross had to raise prices was five years ago. Prices went up 50 cents.

Heather Sawaski reports.

Wishing you and your Family a Happy Holiday Season!

Guest Blog Post: Steve Maricque, Executive Director, American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter

The holiday season is fast approaching.  It’s a wonderful time of the year as it provides an opportunity to reflect and be thankful for our blessings –family, friends, good health and good times!  It’s also a season of hope.  Hope that better days are ahead.

We are so thankful for our many volunteers who dedicate themselves towards helping others in need and delivering the mission of the American Red Cross.  We appreciate and are thankful for our donors, who provide the valuable funds needed to deliver our services.  Without our volunteers and donors, we would not exist as an organization.  You make the American Red Cross a truly remarkable organization.  An organization that shows compassion and care for others during difficult times.

This year more than ever, we need your help!  Donations are down this year.  In this season of hope we need your help to have sufficient funds available to save the day for a family in need when their home burns down, when a family needs to contact a soldier around the world with an emergency message or someone is able to save the life of a family member because they are trained in how to use CPR.

We need to be prepared to meet the challenge before us whenever and wherever it is needed.  I ask for your gift to help make that possible and to ensure that your gift will save the day and give hope to someone when it’s needed most.

Thank you so very much for your consideration.  May you and your families have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Sincerely,