Welcome Rich Seymour

rich-seymourWe’re proud to announce that Rich Seymour has joined the Wisconsin team as our Service to the Armed Forces Director! Just retiring from the Army after 30 years, Rich is excited to start a career where he will continue to care for service members, veterans and their families.

During his illustrious work with the Army, he completed multiple deployments and attained the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted rank in the Army. Throughout his career he became familiar with and utilized the Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces.

“I continuously used Red Cross as a tool to help the soldiers and families that I had under my leadership. I can give you hundreds of stories where Red Cross services contributed to the morale and welfare of the Armed Forces members.”

Originally from Baraboo, Wisconsin, he’s called many places “home” over the years -the Republic of Panama, South Korea, and various places stateside. Along for the ride have been his wife and two sons – and his dogs, too.

We could not be more excited to have Rich on the Red Cross team and back in his home state of Wisconsin!

If you’d like to get involved with the Red Cross, click here.

To look at Red Cross employment opportunities, click here.

Share Holiday Cheer!

The Holiday Mail for Heroes program is an avenue for people to share their appreciation of those who have served our country. The goal is to give service members and Veterans a little holiday cheer by presenting them with letters and cards of thanks.

This year, we are collecting hand-made or store bought cards. Plus, we have JUMBO cards around the state and at special events for residents to sign.  We kicked-off the campaign at the state Capitol.  Cards received by December 11th will be sorted and then presented at common Wisconsin venues, military installations, VA Hospitals, State Veteran Homes and more.

IMG_2134Get in the holiday spirit and send us your best cards! We’ll do the rest!  Here are few guidelines to get you going:

What is the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program? Since 2006, the American Red Cross has received and distributed nearly 10 million holiday cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Veterans. The Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program enables Americans to “Give Something That Means Something” this holiday season by signing and sending cards of thanks, encouragement and holiday cheer to members of our U.S. Armed Forces and Veterans.

I don’t know anyone in the military; how do I participate? You don’t need to know anyone in the military. Red Cross workers will distribute signed cards from the community to members of the military and Veterans right here in Wisconsin.

Cards are not addressed to anyone specific, so who gets these cards? We will distribute cards to service members and Veterans throughout Wisconsin. Cards will be handed to service members and Veterans, or displayed at common venues in military installations and hospitals.

Can I drop cards off at my local Red Cross office? Yes, your created cards can be dropped off by December 11th at your local Red Cross office or even better mail them to: American Red Cross, 4860 Sheboygan Avenue, Madison, WI 53705

Will my card be distributed to our troops overseas? Our National office has shipped cards to military bases around the globe so your cards will make the holiday brighter throughout Wisconsin.

What is the goal for the 2015 Holiday Mail for Heroes Program? The goal is to share season’s greeting and holiday cheer to the members of our Armed Forces and Veterans, creating millions of smiles.

Are there other restrictions and guidelines for cards? In order to make cards as meaningful as possible to a wide audience, choose or create  “Happy Holiday” cards and use generic titles such as “Dear Service Member, or Veteran” when writing cards.  Cards should not contain:

  • Glitter that could aggravate existing health issues.
  • Enclosures such as money calling cards, photos, or other gifts.
  • Complete mailing address.  (City and State are okay)
  • Email addresses.

Can I include money in the cards? Please do not enclose money with the holiday cards. If you wish to provide financial support for Red Cross services to the military, please donate online.

How can I find out more information about the Holiday Mail program?

Nurse Assistant Training – Free Training for Service Members & Veterans

WWPTogether the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and American Red Cross will offer Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) scholarships through local Red Cross offices that currently offer an authorized Red Cross NAT course.

Who is eligible?

Through this partnership, the Red Cross and Wounded Warrior Project will support wounded, ill or injured service members/veterans who incur or incurred service-connected wounds, injuries and illnesses (physical and psychological) on or after September 11, 2001. Support also extends to the immediate family members or caregivers of eligible service members.

Nurse Assistant Training Courses

The Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training Program (NAT) provides Wounded Warriors, immediate family members and caregivers with the information and skills they need to become certified nurse assistants (CNA).  After completing the course and passing a state certification exam, nurse assistants have skills that provide them with employment opportunities in a variety of health care environments, including long-term care facilities, acute care facilities and in-home health care environments.

Click HERE to learn more about the class.

Nurse Assistant Training Scholarship Guidelines

Eligibility

  • Participants for the scholarships must meet the following criteria:
    • Wounded Warriors/veterans who incur service-connected wounds, injuries and illnesses (physical or psychological) on or after September 11, 2001 or immediate family member or caregivers of eligible service members

Costs

  • Each scholarship will cover 100% of the cost to be applied to the course and testing fees.
    • In no case will the scholarship be more than the actual course fee.
  • At least 50 scholarships will be awarded under this grant and will be issued on a first come/first served basis.
  • Scholarships must be used prior to June 30, 2014.

Qualifying candidates can attend any of our six Wisconsin locations.  Nurse Assistant Training is currently available at the following Red Cross locations:

Specific course and to request a registration form can be directed to Tanya Christianson at 715-902-1035 or via email at Tanya.Christianson@redcross.org.

Giving Back to our American Heroes

By: Kaitlyn Schmitt, UWO Red Cross Club, Service to Armed Forces Chair

bingoroom

The UW Oshkosh American Red Cross Club joined Americorps Vet Corps and Adrianne Benson, Americorps Vet Corps member and Red Cross volunteer, to return to volunteer at King Veteran’s Home on March 16th. This time, we provided help with multiple activities. Half of the volunteers helped with a game of bingo and the other half went downstairs to the bowling alley for some rounds of bowling and snacks.

I volunteered with Bingo and I passed out prize quarters and collected bingo cards. We even had coffee and cookies for the Veterans. The Veterans got so excited when they won, and I heard a lot of them calling out their own numbers they needed to win. Bingo was very competitive. There was lots of great socialization and laughter heard in the room. I had several Veterans come up to me afterwards and thank me for being there. Then I thought, “Wow, we should be the ones thanking them for their service!” It was another incredible opportunity to give back to those who selflessly served us. UWO Red Cross member, Samantha Johnson, stated: “It’s a great feeling being able to give back to the veterans who risked their lives for our country.”

The bowling alley was full of excitement as well. The veterans definitely taught us younger volunteers how to bowl! It was exciting to see their faces as they knocked all the pins down.

UWO Red Cross President, Angie Dusenberry, exclaimed: “Bowling with the Veterans from King could not have been a more rewarding experience. It was heart-warming to be able to share the laughs and great experiences with the individuals who gave me my freedom – even if they did kick my butt in bowling!”

(l-r) UW Oshkosh Red Cross Club Members  Angie Dusenberry, Kaitlyn Schmitt and Samantha Johnson.

(l-r) UW Oshkosh Red Cross Club Members
Brenna Schobert , Angie Dusenberry, Kaitlyn Schmitt and Samantha Johnson.

The Veterans had a blast bowling and still have the skill. UWO Red Cross member, Brenna Schobert, expressed: “It was amazing to spend just a few hours giving back to those who gave up so much for our country. They are incredible people and I feel truly blessed to have helped to put a smile on their faces.”

Several of the veterans thanked us and said that they hope we return to volunteer again. We will definitely be returning for more fun-filled days with the veterans. Not only do we brighten their day, I know they brighten mine.

We enjoyed the stories, excitement, and camaraderie. We all walked away with smiles on our faces. This is the greatest generation and volunteering at the Veteran’s home is truly a blessing. I know I definitely leave King Veteran’s Home feeling inspired and happy. There is nothing greater than volunteering during American Red Cross month and “being a hero” to the true heroes in America’s hearts – the Veterans.

More than 2.1 Million Cards Sent through Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes

Red Cross Follow-Up:

Holiday Cards Distributed to Members of the Military Across the Globe

Students from Franklin Elementary read their letters and cards to the Veterans at the Wisconsin Veteran's Home at King.

Students from Franklin Elementary in Oshkosh read their letters and cards to the Veterans at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at King.

People across the country sent in more than 2.1 million cards to the 2013 American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes project, a record level of holiday greetings for members of the United States military, Veterans and their families.

The cards bearing messages of thanks and gratitude were distributed by the Red Cross all over the world, on military bases and in military hospitals, Veteran’s hospitals and to military families in the U.S. and abroad. This was the seventh year for the project which allows people to send holiday well wishes to members of the Armed Forces, their families and the country’s Veterans

Cards came from people from all walks of life: church groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, clubs, businesses, families and thousands of school children. Ten National Football League teams supported the program by helping host card-signing events at games.

“Americans continue to show their unwavering support for the U.S. military in the more than 2 million cards sent through the 2013 Holiday Mail for Heroes program,” said Sherri Brown, senior vice president, Service to the Armed Forces for the Red Cross. “We thank everyone who took time to express their thanks and holiday wishes to help make the holidays a little brighter for those who serve our country.”

2,944 cards collected from the employees of Humana from their three locations in Green Bay.

2,944 cards collected from the employees of Humana from their three locations in Green Bay.

Locally, we collected around 50,000 cards for the state of Wisconsin.

The cards went to a special post office box for screening, packaging and were shipped to Red Cross offices around the world. Volunteers took time out of their busy holiday schedules to help screen, sort and deliver the holiday greetings to the military, veterans and their families.

Holiday Mail for Heroes began in December 2007 when Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. approached the Red Cross to assist in distributing thousands of holiday cards to hospitalized servicemen and women. The program has grown to become a nationwide effort to honor and remember the nation’s military during the holiday season.

Holiday Mail for Heroes is part of the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces program. For more than 130 years, the Red Cross has provided comfort and support to troops – including the 2 million current members, 24 million veterans and the families who support all of them.

It’s Not to Late to Send Your Holiday Card!

Cards made by the children at the Apple Tree Connection Daycare in Appleton.

Cards made by the children at the Apple Tree Connection Daycare in Appleton.

You still have time to send a holiday cards through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program before the post office box closes on December 6.

During the holiday season, this Red Cross program delivers tens of thousands of cards to service members, veterans and their families at military hospitals and installations across the country and around the world. The Red Cross has received and distributed more than 6.5 million cards for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families since the program began in 2006.

“Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to sit down with family members to write words of gratitude and holiday cheer to the brave men and women who serve our country,” said Sherri L. Brown, senior vice president, Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces. “So many members of our military find themselves far from loved ones during the holiday season, and a message of support helps bring a touch of home to our troops wherever they are.”

Whether handmade or purchased, Americans can send cards postmarked no later than December 6 to ensure they are delivered in time for the holidays. All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes

P.O. Box 5456

Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

The Red Cross relies on the support of the American people to carry out its mission of service to the 2 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces, 24 million veterans and their families. During this holiday season, people also can support all Red Cross services by making a financial donation at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. Individuals can also give the gift of life by making an appointment to give blood at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

Serving Those Who Have Selflessly Served Us

By Kaitlyn Schmitt, UWO Red Cross Club Member

vet1Adrianne Benson, Americorps Vet Corps member and Red Cross volunteer, and members from the UWO Red Cross Club spent the afternoon on November 23, 2013 volunteering at the beautiful Veteran’s Home in King, WI.

The Veterans were very excited to see the ladies from the Red Cross Club. We provided each Veteran with a Holiday Mail card which was made by the club and local elementary school students. The Veterans were filled with excitement and gratitude when they received the cards.

The Red Cross Club helped with some “intense” games of Bingo with the Veterans. There were definitely a lot of big winners that day! After bingo, we socialized with some of the Veterans and then we were given a tour of the incredible facility. We were amazed by all of the facility’s amenities including a bowling alley, movie theatre and a tunnel transport system. To top it off, the lakeside view was breathtaking!

vet3

Here I am helping pass out cards for the “intense” games of Bingo!

We had a great time serving those who have selflessly served us. We enjoyed getting to know the Veterans and we were all touched by this incredible experience.

Thank you to the  King Veterans Home staff for allowing us to join you. Thanks to the Red Cross for this incredible opportunity. Thanks Red Cross Club Members for the participation and enthusiasm on this wonderful experience!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kaitlyn