Sara Bruesewitz, A Lifetime of Red Cross Service

So proud of our Sara for sharing her story and we are lucky to have her on our Red Cross Team!!!

President/CEO, Gail McGovern came to visit the headquarters in Northern New Jersey where Sara was deployed to.

Volunteers constitute about 95 percent of the American Red Cross workforce and are an essential part of our humanitarian aid and services. Many choose to volunteer with the Red Cross, but we believe that there are a few individuals who were born with the Red Cross in their blood.This proves to be true with our very own Sara Bruesewitz, Public Support Coordinator with the Southeastern Wisconsin Region. Sara’s history with the Red Cross doesn’t begin with her, it actually started over 20 years ago with her mother, Barbara Bruesewitz. Barbara worked in Community Preparedness & Resilience Services in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Chapter, the same chapter that Sara would call home decades later.  Barbara left the Red Cross several years later in order to take care of her two children, Sara, and her older brother Bryan.

Growing up Sara had her first experience with the Red Cross at four years old, when her parents enrolled her in preschool aquatics and learn-to-swim programs at the Greenfield High School swimming pool.  Aquatics programs that were provided by Red Cross certified instructors and lifeguards.

As a young teen, Sara took a Babysitter’s Training course from her local Chapter, a program that helps prepare youth to make good decisions under pressure, respond to cardiac and choking emergencies, and manage children. In no time at all Sara was known in her neighborhood as the best babysitter on the block.

Problems arose for Sara at 13 years old, when she began to experience severe and chronic back pains, and after several doctor visits and physical therapy, the diagnosis was spondylolthesis, a rare genetic disorder that prevents the development of vertebrae in the spine.

Fortunately, Sara was able to undergo a spinal fusion operation to correct the issue, however during surgery Sara lost more blood than expected and was in need of several blood transfusions. The blood that Sara received was none other than blood collected by the American Red Cross, which collects approximately 40% of the Nation’s blood supply. After a grueling three-month recovery, and countless physical therapy sessions, Sara made a full recovery.

After graduating high school, Sara attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where she continued to show her support and joined the Red Cross club on campus where she was active in holding community awareness events and blood drives. In her senior year she was offered an internship at the Lakeland Chapter in Green Bay, assisting in development, special events, and communication. Upon completion of her degree in May 2012, Sara was offered a full-time position within the Southeastern Wisconsin Region.

When Superstorm Sandy affected the east coast in late October, Sara embarked on her first national deployment and is currently dedicating her time as a public affairs service associate at the New Jersey Disaster Relief Operations Headquarters in North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Sara’s ties to the Red Cross began long before she was even born, and her compassion and dedication literally runs through her. She is as much a part of the Red Cross as the organization is a part of hers. On behalf of the American Red Cross, we owe a lifetime of gratitude to Sara Bruesewitz.

Musician Rob Anthony and UW-Green Bay Red Cross Club Team Up to Bring Awareness

This is the fourth year Rob Anthony will be putting on a concert to celebrate March Red Cross Month to raise awareness for the organization and their service.

The Red Cross can have an impact on anyone’s life at any time, and this concert is to remind people of that. From CPR and lifeguard classes to blood donations and disaster services, the Red Cross helps people directly or indirectly each year. Come to the concert to hear and share stories and enjoy Rob’s music!

Who: UWGB Students and Staff and open to the community

What: Rob Anthony Red Cross Awareness Concert

Where: Common Grounds Coffee House at UWGB

When: Wednesday, March 28th 7:00-9:00pm

Why: To listen to great music and create awareness for the Red Cross!

Check out more about Rob and his music at: 

Snacks and cookies will be provided at the concert!

Hope to see you there!

UWGB community donates for blood drive

By Tanisha Richter  News Writer, Fourth Estate: Published: Monday, December 5, 2011

The UW-Green Bay Student-Athlete Advisory Committee collaborated with the American Red Cross to hold a pre-Thanksgiving blood drive Nov. 21.

The drive, which took place in the Phoenix Rooms, was one of several drives that take place on campus throughout the school year, according to Dave Liethen, donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross.

The November blood drive collected around 50 pints of blood, five units short of the goal for the day, Liethen said.

The 50 pints could potentially save up to 150 lives.

“There’s a continuous need,” said Amy Henniges, director of Counseling and Health Services. “The demand always seems to exceed the supply.”

Otis Jones, freshman pharmacy program student, donates blood at the American Cross blood drive in the Phoenix Rooms Nov. 21. Photo by Sadie Wilson/Fourth Estate

According to Christine Vandenhouten, assistant professor of nursing, individuals whose blood has no antigens, type O-negative, are in particular demand because their blood is compatible with all different blood types.

Blood type O is the most often requested by hospitals, according to the American Red Cross website.

“For many patients who are recipients of blood products, including blood cells or plasma, would probably die without these products,” Vandenhouten said. “When someone donates blood, whole blood is extracted and then blood donation centers are able to separate the component parts so one unit of blood could perhaps benefit many people.”

Donated blood is needed for a variety of different medical cases, including victims of trauma, cancer patients and sickle cell anemia patients, according to the American Red Cross website. However, in some instances, people are able to plan in advance to help conserve the use of other blood donations.

“In the case of trauma where you have massive blood loss, certainly individuals in that situation need more blood than an individual who receives blood in advance of surgery, possibly having their own blood or a family member who’s compatible donate their blood,” Vandenhouten said.

Advancements in medical technologies have also allowed for the conservation of donations.

“There’s minimal blood loss in most surgical procedures today,” Vandenhouten said. “When surgeons anticipate a lot of blood loss, they actually can use a device called a cell saver, where they extract the individual’s blood and collect it. By doing that, they reduce the need for donated blood, but obviously that’s only going to work in the event that somebody anticipates the need.”

Blood donation centers typically try to keep the donations local whenever possible, Vandenhouten said. However, it is possible for donations to travel across the country.

“It can go back to this area in Wisconsin, Iowa, upper Michigan and northern Illinois,” Liethen said. “If those hospitals’ needs are met, then it can essentially go anywhere in the country.”

While blood donations in this area have been at a steady rate, the approaching end of year may put a halt in further donations, Liethen said.

“Any day the weather can change, and instead of getting rain it could be freezing rain, or sleet or snow, and that tends to lead to a few more accidents,” Liethen said. “In addition, we know it’s getting close to finals. Students are studying and focusing on those things rather than donating. People in general are getting busy with holiday activities rather than donating blood.”

While the distractions of the holiday season may be hard to avoid, Liethen stressed the importance of remembering the impact donating blood can have.

“People take trips to the grocery store, or maybe they want to get together with friends, or they travel for the holidays to go back home,” Liethen said. “Everybody plans those things out but nobody plans to need a blood transfusion—but, if you live to the age of 72 or older, chances are you’re going to need blood at least once in your life. We need to make sure the blood is not only collected, but tested, and it’s waiting there at the hospitals for doctors to transfuse.”


Red Cross Offers Real Life Experience for for UWGB Student

Hello! My name is Sara Bruesewitz. I am a fourth year student at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay majoring in both Political Science and Public Administration with an emphasis in Non-profit Management. I also minor in Environmental Policy and Planning.

Currently, I work for the City of Green Bay in the Mayor’s Office administering a $1,000,000.00 federal grant the City received to make energy efficient improvements throughoutGreen Bay.

In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and my boyfriend. I also enjoy being outside, playing soccer, going on adventures and trying new things.

Developing and marketing for a nonprofit organization is something I wish to do with my degree so I am very grateful to be partaking in the Development Internship with the American Red Cross. Through this internship I am excited to learn what is all involved in the development, marketing and fundraising for the largest fundraising event of the region, Dancing with the Stars! I can’t wait to start working with all of the wonderful staff, volunteers and of course the “Stars” that make this event possible!

You Can Save Lives Tomorrow!

Alumni Rising: Weyers calls Red Cross volunteers to action

Jody Weyers stands by the well-worn adage, “Volunteering is good for the soul.”

She should know. As volunteer and communications director for the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter, Weyers calls on more than 450 registered volunteers who commit their time, talent and treasure to aid people they’ve likely never met, during circumstances most often beyond their control.

“Every day I am amazed at the dedication of our volunteers, their commitment and caring nature for what they do and how they support the organization,” said Weyers.

For her own service to the community, Weyers, a 1996 UW-Green Bay graduate (communication and history) will be recognized with the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award at Alumni Awards Night, Saturday, April 30. The event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Weidner Center for Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay.

When international disasters occur, such as the recent earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, the role of local Red Cross chapters is to lead communication efforts on behalf of American relief efforts. Weyers said that Japan has its own strong Red Cross chapter responding to the tragedy but is asking for financial help from around the world to support the large relief operation.

But when disaster hits in the local community, local, trained volunteers are ready to respond quickly with flexibility to the situation.

“There is no convenient time for a disaster,” she says. “As the communications director for the chapter, I am technically always on call. Fire, flood, tornado, whatever the disaster, the information needs to get out immediately. That may involve working long hours, weekends and changing personal plans because of a disaster situation.”

Weyers thrives in an organization that is not about giving a “hand out” but about giving a “hand up.”

“No one is exempt from the possibility of a disaster happening to them,” she explains. “I am comforted knowing that there is an agency out there to support people if something of this nature does occur to them. I am also proud of the fact that we are a volunteer-led organization.

“In September of 2008, I went on my first National Red Cross deployment to Houston, Texas, to support the relief efforts following the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I find it so incredible that it is volunteers who are running and sometimes in charge of these large disaster recovery operations. I was amazed at how organized and structured the operation was in the midst of the chaos a disaster brings to a community.”

The job doesn’t come without its challenges.

“Money is always a challenge,” Weyers says. “As a nonprofit organization, we have also felt the hit of the economy in regards to donations. I have to be very conscious of working within our budget and get creative sometimes to make our dollars stretch as far as possible.”

A native of Black Creek, Wis., Weyers said she grew up in a family that always seemed to be doing something to help someone else out. She credits her parents and grandparents for modeling a hard work ethic and caring nature — skills that suit Weyers in her Red Cross role.

“I have discovered that volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and is good for the soul,” she says. “Our oldest volunteer at the Red Cross just turned 95, and she always says, ‘I can sit home and worry about every little ache and pain or I can come in to volunteer and it seems like all those aches and pains go away, because I am around people I enjoy.’

“That’s the thing. It’s never too late to start volunteering,” Weyers says. “It’s about finding that passion, and connecting with an organization that you can channel that energy through. It is a magical thing when I see that connection in a volunteer working for the Red Cross.”

UW-Green Bay Red Cross Club to Host 3rd Annual Community Awareness Concert

Join the UWGB Red Cross Club members and local musician, Rob Anthony, for an entertaining evening on the campus of UWGB.

This is the third year the club has hosted the signature event to promote March is Red Cross Month and to spread the word to the community about the impact the Red Cross has on our neighbors.

Enjoy Rob’s inspiring and heartfelt music and listen to people share their life-saving Red Cross stories.

When: Thursday, March 31

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Where: Phoenix Club Room, 1st floor of the University Union on the campus of UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive.

This event is open to the public.

Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Konrath, President, UWGB Red Cross Club

(l-r) Michelle Etheridge, musician, Rob Anthony and Melissa Konrath at last years Red Cross Club Awareness Concert on Campus.

As a University of Wisconsin- Green Bay student, Melissa Konrath, 20 years old, is active on-campus and in intramural sports. She is also active in the American Red Cross as president of the UWGB –Red Cross Club.

The UWGB Red Cross Club is an on-campus organization that provides opportunities for students to get involved in the community through things like CPR training, disaster training and volunteering. Its mission also includes raising awareness to the community services and needs of the American Red Cross. They also don’t forget to bring the fun in this social and interactive environment.

As a class officer in her high school in Slinger, WI, Melissa, helped to plan and run blood drives so she was familiar with the Red Cross as an organization. As a student at UWGB, she joined the Red Cross Club on campus its first year. “I thought it would be a good way to get back into volunteering,” says Melissa.

“I have learned that there is more to the Red Cross than blood drives.  I think that is a common misconception throughout the general population,” says Melissa.

Melissa served as Vice President the first year and was recruited as president of the club for the experience she could bring to the role the next year.

Since the club’s inception in the spring 2009 semester they have supported the Red Cross in many ways. Their members have volunteered for a variety of fundraisers including a concert for Haiti. They also made cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, making comfort dolls for AIDS orphans in Africa, babysitting to support Military Services, volunteering for the Packers Spooktacular and Project Leap events, participated in service to help at a Downtown Green Bay clean-up day and help at on-campus and community blood drives.  The clubs signature  event is organizing an annual concert with musician, Rob Anthony, to raise Red Cross Awareness on-campus to the students and faculty.

“I am amazed at how much the Red Cross Club on campus has grown and all that we have accomplished since the club was first brought to UWGB.  Because we are growing each year, our accomplishments also have expanded as well as getting the word out there of the mission of the Red Cross,” says Melissa.

When Melissa isn’t busy volunteering with the Red Cross she is spending time with friends and family including her 5 year-old-sister. She is also busy working towards a double major in Psychology and Human Development.

“The Red Cross is something worth making time for because you know you are helping others and can even sometimes see first-hand your impact.”

(l-r) Mellisa and Jody Weyers, Red Cross Club Staff Advisor, at UWGB Fall Org Smorg recruitment event.

UWGB Red Cross Club Make Comfort Dolls for AIDS Orphans in Africa

In honor of World AIDS Day, Wednesday, December 1,  20 UWGB students met at the Mauthe Center, on the campus of UWGB, to make comfort dolls. The Red Cross Club partnered with the College Crafters Club in assisting and teaching us how to knit and crochet. We didn’t finish any dolls that night, but the students will be able to work on them through the interim and in January we will come back together to see our success.

Click HERE to see WBAY-TV news story of our event.

Click HERE to read the impact the comfort dolls have on the children of Africa.


“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” – James Allen

By Guest Blogger: Doug Harvey, Communications Intern, American Red Cross

James Allen once said, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”  This past Saturday students from UW-Green Bay as well as myself had opportunity to put this thought into action.  The UWGB Red Cross Club (RCC) teamed up with GB Nites to help promote the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.

UWGB Red Cross Club members making cards and banner at our monthly meeting.

Holiday Mail for Heroes is program set up to help people send thanks to our American service members, their families, and veterans all over the world, by sending them cards during the holiday season.  GB Nites is an event that takes place in the Student Union with fun and free events for the students.  With things such as free henna tattoos, a black light dance party, and my personal favorite, free ice cream, GB Nites was a perfect atmosphere to get the word out about this program.

Myself, with the help of Kristie Walker (treasurer of the RCC on campus), got there a little early to help set up tables and supplies (markers, crayons, paper etc.).  Luckily, the RCC had made a banner during our meeting a few days before, so students could see where we were located and why we were there.

The students responded really well to event.  Lots of students came to help support our campaign. Almost every student that stopped by knew or knew of someone in the Armed Services and I could tell that they were really putting themselves into the cards they made.

Overall I had a good time, and it was a great experience for me.  Not only the setting up of the event, but seeing that college kids really do want to make a difference.  I certainly look forward our next RCC event.

For more information on the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes Program click HERE.

UWGB students making cards for our service members.