American Red Cross extends CPR certification period

Written by Pete Bach Post-Crescent staff writer

Marsha Schanke (left), of Appleton, participates in a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course Wednesday at the American Red Cross in Appleton. / Post-Crescent photo by Dan Powers

The American Red Cross has extended its CPR certification from one year to two, the biggest change in certification requirements in Red Cross history.

“It’s to encourage more community members to get certified and also to better serve our existing clients,” said Tony Gonzalez, executive director of the Outagamie County Red Cross chapter. “It also includes free digital materials, and because of those changes we’re able to contain costs and reduce costs to our customers.”

The new training format covers the 20-county Northeast Wisconsin Region of the American Red Cross, which includes a wide swath of the Fox Valley and beyond. The region trains about 56,000 people a year in various settings and situations.

Students who sign up for the lifesaving curriculum at the Red Cross include emergency personnel, corporations, health care providers, chiropractic and child caring institutions, industrial organizations, parents of young children and caregivers with responsibility for an elderly parent.

The certification change is sitting well with students.

“They’re very pleased,” said health and safety director Carrie Powell. “The courses are a little shorter. A person can take the complete class in about 6½ hours. Before, it would take them almost nine. It’s not a huge investment of time for the amount of information they walk away with.”

The new training format emphasizes skills and hands-on techniques needed to resuscitate an individual or use an AED — or automatic external defibrillator — to re-establish a healthy heart rhythm.

Students can take courses at the Outagamie chapter office at 1302 E. Wisconsin Ave., participate in a “blended learning” format that offers part of the course online and the skills portion at the chapter office, or in some case undergo training at the job site.

The charge for training ranges from $45 to $70.

Red Cross instructors are employed at the companies where they teach.

Bob Mayer of Appleton, one of the chapter’s volunteer instructors, has plenty of firsthand experience about the value of CPR and other life-saving measures.

Mayer, 53, has a background in the fire service and law enforcement, and served as an emergency medical technician in southern Wisconsin and Arkansas.

“When I worked for the fire department, I rode an ambulance. I can’t honestly say how many times I did CPR and revived someone with a combination of CPR and AED,” he said.

“I’m teaching others how to go out and save a life. And the more people we teach, the more lives we’re going to save,” Mayer said. “To me, it’s a blessing. It’s an opportunity I can touch who knows how many lives.”

Pete Bach: 920-993-1000, ext. 430, or

Soup’s On raises $35,000 for local Red Cross services

Soup’s On, the signature fundraising event for the American Red Cross-Outagamie Chapter, raised nearly $35,000 for local services.

The 17th annual Soup’s On was held Jan. 20th at the Grand Meridian in Appleton. The funds raised through ticket sales, silent auction, raffles and corporate sponsorships support a variety of local Red Cross services, including disaster relief, services to the Armed Forces, shopping and errand services for homebound older adults and disabled individuals and life-saving health and safety education and training.

“Raising $35,000 in our challenging economic environment is a huge success,” said Chapter Executive Director Tony Gonzalez. “We really appreciate everyone who came out to help us raise funds to assist over 10,000 people who receive chapter services every year.”

Gonzalez also thanked the event volunteers, the restaurants who donated food and other food items for the event and local businesses who purchased sponsorships or donated items for the silent auction. “Everyone working together made this event a huge success,” he said.

For more information, please visit or call 920-733-4481.

Soup’s On Event a Tasty way to Aid Outagamie Chapter of American Red Cross

January 9, 2011: Appleton Post Cresent

As winter’s grip tightens, the yearning for a hot, delicious bowl of soup grows.

The Outagamie Chapter of the American Red Cross will hold its 17th annual Soup’s On fundraising event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Grand Meridian, 2621 N. Oneida St., Appleton.

Each year, the event raises funds for the many services provided by the Outagamie Chapter, including disaster services, support and comfort for military members and their families, health and safety training and shopping and errand services for disabled and elderly residents.

The event will feature soup from 12 local restaurants: CSI/Appleton, Mark’s East Side, Grand Meridian, Butte des Morts Country Club, Michiels Fox Banquets, Flanagan’s Wine Review, Atlas Coffee Mill, Plum Hill, The Seasons, North Shore Golf Club, Zuppas and Van Abel’s. The restaurants will provide award-winning soups to attendees, who will vote for the next winner of the Ladle Award.

The event will also include cheese from Simons Specialty Cheese, desserts from Simple Simon Bakery, breads from Great Harvest Bread Co., appetizers from McCain Foods, waffle treats from Culvers Frozen Custard, chocolates from Wilmar Chocolates, an assortment of beers and gourmet sodas provided by Stone Cellar Brew Pub, wine tasting provided by Flanagan’s Wine Review and entertainment from the Patty LeClair Trio, a Lawrence University jazz trio.

“We cannot thank participating restaurants and other donors enough for continuing to support our chapter’s biggest fundraising event each year,” said Tony Gonzalez, executive director of the Outagamie Chapter of the American Red Cross. “We are so grateful to be part of a community that looks forward to getting together each year for a night of fun and food to people who need vital Red Cross services.”

The evening’s master of ceremonies will be Len Nelson from WAPL radio. Attendees will also have the chance to buy tickets for the drop raffle to win artwork, wines and other prizes or to bid in the silent auction to win jewelry, artwork and golf getaway packages.

Be Red Cross ready: Fire prevention week

Click HERE to view Fox 11 Good Day Wisconsin Video

It’s fire prevention week and the Red Cross wants you to be prepared.

The Tony Gonzalez family in Appleton spent the morning with Good Day Wisconsin, showing people their family escape plan and how you can incorporate this type of plan for your family.

He puts charity to work — at work

Written by Tom Kelly | For The Compass   
Thursday, 15 April 2010 07:59

Gonzalez says work with Red Cross is an extension of his Catholic values

Tony Gonzalez (Photo by Tom Kelly | For The Compass)

APPLETON — For Tony Gonzalez, working as the leader and manager of the Outagamie Chapter of the American Red Cross offers immense gratification; for himself, his staff, affiliated organizations and more than 375 volunteers who help people in need and the families of those who serve in the military.

“Serving others through a nonprofit is meaningful,” he states. “It matters.”

Gonzalez says his work is all about prevention, preparedness and response. “It has a great deal to do with my faith. Compassion is rooted in my values. It’s gratifying to have the opportunity to do God’s work and I hold on to that belief — firmly but quietly,” he says, “especially when something really big happens.”The organization provides timely relief to victims of floods, hurricanes and other disasters. Every year there are 70,000 disasters in the United States. Of these, 97 percent are house fires. So when there’s a fire, Red Cross first responders are there.

Cardiac arrest is the number one cause of death among American women and men, and drowning is one of the top two causes of accidental death. So the Red Cross offers certification for certified nursing assistants, trains community members in CPR, and supports water safety and lifeguard training in partnership with organizations such as the YMCA and local community park and recreation departments.

He explains how the Red Cross is the only nonprofit organization that’s congressionally mandated to provide certain services — not only disaster relief services for the general public, but also support services to the nation’s armed forces.

So they support the armed forces and their families when there’s a death or accident — not only financially when needed, but also logistically when military personnel need to be with their families.

The Red Cross also offers shopping and errand services for homebound and disabled persons, which gives them independence, peace of mind and friendship.

Like many organizations that serve those in need, the two-pronged economic pressures of greater need and a growing difficulty in generating support continue to challenge the Red Cross. “But when a disaster strikes anywhere around the globe, it is our disaster,” says Gonzalez.

He adds that, by far, financial support is most needed. “There are many well-meaning benefactors who donate other items that have sometimes been lost, spoiled or delayed through channels that do not have the global logistical agility of the Red Cross. We’re prepared. And when roads are closed and hotels are full we have plans in place with area churches such as St. Thomas More and the YMCA for lodging and hygiene, and Thrivent for Lutherans and Kimberly-Clark Corporation for their food service capabilities.”

He describes how the local Red Cross chapter responded to the Haiti earthquake in January with a radio-thon as well as a fund-raising concert at Lawrence University. “The integrity of our delivery system ensures that funds people give will reach their intended recipients,” he says. “Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 and chemical spills are a few such examples. With food, water, clothing, shelter, counseling and financial support, we strive to be ready for anything.”

Previously, Tony worked with Lutheran Social Services serving people with mental illness and developmental disabilities in group homes to gain more exposure to the world to heighten their quality of life.

Through all of this nonprofit experience, Gonzalez has been greatly gratified by what he calls the gift of receiving. “Asking for help is helping others, and I ask many for funding,” he says. “When something really big happens, God is the first one I ask. With each gift I ask for and receive comes the serious responsibility of making sure we are being good stewards of everything we receive, cutting out costs without cutting support to those who need it.”