Local Red Cross Volunteers Poised to Help

Olga Halaburda Channel Five News  — CLICK HERE for video of story.

“It’s stressful. It’s exhausting. But at the same time, it’s very fulfilling. I’m glad to be going,” said Pam Kanikula, a Disaster Mental Health Volunteer with the Red Cross.

Red Cross volunteer Pam Kanikula is packed and ready to help disaster victims on the East Coast. She’ll fly into New York City Tuesday.

“They don’t know exactly in New York what the extent of the damage is going to be,” Kanikula said.

She’s helped Hurricane victims once before. Working in evacuation shelters, Kanikula provided disaster mental health services in Louisiana after Ike and Rita hit.

“There were anywhere from 20 to 150 people staying in the shelters. Small children, disabled people, older people, families,” said Kanikula.

This weekend, as Irene showed her strength, more than 27,000 people slept in Red Cross shelters along the East Coast. As soon as conditions allow, volunteers like Kanikula may be going into neighborhoods to provide disaster counseling and to distribute food. The Red Cross has a call out for financial donations to help provide for those affected. It’s also calling out for donations of blood.

Irene has canceled 50 blood drives along the east Coast. That amounts to a loss of about 1,500 pints of blood.

“We need to keep a constant ready supply to support surgeries, accidents and things like that are continuing to go on across the country so if we’re losing people donating at blood drives in the entire East Coast we need people throughout the rest of the country to step up,” said Jody Weyers, Regional Director of Volunteers and Communication with the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin.

Kanikula has stepped up to offer her talents to help others.

“These people are hurting so much and to be able to in some way provide them with comfort, help them to deal and heal it’s very satisfying to be able to do that,” Kanikula said.

Blood Drives are set up throughout the area. Check your local Red Cross Chapter for details. To make a quick $10 donation, text the word REDCROSS to 90999.

Olga Halaburda Channel Five News HD Peshtigo.

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


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.

Power restored to Village of Suring after 30 hours

WFRV News Story Created: Oct 27, 2010 at 9:44 PM CDT

Click HERE for WFRV TV-5 News Story

The Village of Suring once again has power after 30 hours without heat or electricity.

Some homes are still without power, but those are generally on the far outskirts of town. WPS restored power to most cities and towns, and is now headed to remote areas.

“I was so happy to get back and the house was nice and warm,” said 90-year-old Mildred Genskow. “I was almost frozen and then one of my neighbors came and was like, you’re coming to my house,” she said.

For those few still in the cold, the Red Cross set up a shelter at the Woodland Village Nursing Home.

As of 8:00 p.m. no visitors had come to stay at the shelter. A shelter is also available at the Wabeno Fire Department.