Wisconsin Floods — Red Cross Responds

Heavy rains caused flooding throughout Northern Wisconsin earlier this week. Since then, it’s been a flurry of flood relief activities with the Northwest Wisconsin Chapter leading the charge. Red Cross services have included providing clean up supplies, bottled water and connecting one-on-one with affected families who need shelter, health or other immediate disaster relief. An Incident Integrated Care & Condolence Team is also working with the families of the three fatalities.

Today, Red Cross workers are delivering clean-up kits (bucket, mop, broom, squeegee, gloves, bleach, brush, etc.) to the following locations:

  • Methodist Church, Hayward – 35 kits and Flood Recovery  Booklets
  • Minong, Town Hall, Washburn – 50 clean-up kits and Flood Recovery Booklets
  • County Health & Human Services, Ashland – 40 additional Clean-up kits, 60 cases of water, flathead shovels, garbage bags, gloves (Yesterday, 37 Clean-up kits, bleach, bottled water, perishable food and Flood Recovery Booklets.)

All locations listed above are coordinating distribution to the public.

As of Thursday evening, our Client Casework team met one-on-one with individuals/families affected by flooding and had opened 24 cases, with the majority being on the Bad River Reservation in Ashland County. Case work will continue through this weekend and by appointment should contact the Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 800-236-8680.

The Red Cross encourages residents to stay safe by following safety tips:

  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Dry-out the building quickly (within 24 to 48 hours). Open doors and windows. Use fans to dry out the building.
  • When in doubt, take it out! Remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried. These items can remain a source of mold growth and should be removed from the home. Removal and cleaning are important because even dead mold may cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent/bleach and water.
  • Homeowners may want to temporarily store items outside of the home until insurance claims can be filed.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

We are greatly appreciative of Premium Waters and Kwik Trip who both donated pallets of water.

The best ways for you to help is by supporting our efforts with a financial gift or volunteering your time. We rely on volunteers to provide humanitarian relief during times of disaster and we’ll get you trained before the next disaster strikes.   To learn more, visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer.

Throughout Wisconsin, we respond to nearly 900 disasters every year. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Click http://www.redcross.org/Wisconsin or call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

 

 

Meet Kendall – Our New Disaster Cycle Services Intern

We have a new Disaster Cycle Services Intern Kendall Stauber at our Oshkosh office. Kendall is a student at University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and plans to graduate by next spring. She majors in Human Services Leadership with a minor in Communication Studies.

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Kendall enjoys traveling, concerts, jet skiing and spending time with her family and friends.

We have a new Disaster Cycle Services Intern Kendall Stauber at our Oshkosh office. Kendall is a student at University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and plans to graduate by next spring. She majors in Human Services Leadership with a minor in Communication Studies.

“I love to volunteer and help where I can. I have volunteered for several Hands on Oshkosh events where I was put with groups of people on campus and sent into the community to help certain organizations. I have also volunteered for the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh and I was an intern this past spring semester at the Oshkosh Seniors Center.  These volunteer opportunities have led me to work with diverse age groups and help with a variety of projects that were rewarding to see the impact that I can do to help.”

Although this is Kendall’s first time interning with the Red Cross, she has been aware of their mission and services for a while. When she was younger, she obtained her babysitting certification through the Red Cross. Now that Kendall is an intern with the Red Cross, she’s excited to assist in carrying out the mission, stating:

“The American Red Cross is an interest to me because I wish to help, inform, and be there for people and communities after a disaster has struck or to inform people with possible resources before a disaster occurs. I am really excited to see what I can learn and give during this summer internship.”

Post college Kendall plans to continue her education with a focus on social work . She then hopes to pursue a career in counseling, specifically helping those affected by disasters and trauma.

The Red Cross is grateful to have Kendall as an intern, and to be a part of her educational experience. To start volunteering like Kendall, please visit redcross.org/volunteer.

 

 

 

 

 

Sherri Galle-Teske: My Red Cross Story

By Sherri Galle-Teske, Account Executive for the American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross has touched my life and family in so many ways. My earliest memory of learning about the Red Cross was when I was five years old. My grandmother Agnes Patoka (fondly known as Nana) would put me up on her lap and read children’s books when I would come to her house for visits. My favorite books however-were her old photo albums which included many photos of my father as a child. She would reminisce and explain in detail every photo and always explained the “story” behind it.

On one occasion Nana had a photo album that I had never seen before and it contained special pictures of her prior marriage. One picture in particular was of great interest to me. The picture was taken in 1919 when my grandmother was 18 years old. The photo shows my grandmother sitting with two of her friends on a lawn. All of the girls are wearing long white gowns with a white cloth on their heads. On their foreheads the white cloth sported a red cross. She explained to me that she and her friends volunteered at the American Red Cross in Menasha, WI. There was a terrible war going on in Europe and many soldiers and civilians needed their help. After school she and her friends went to the Red Cross and ripped apart long cotton petty skirts (now known as slips) into long strips. The men at the Red Cross office bundled them together in bales and they were sent to the war front to be used as bandages.

That photo is framed and currently hangs on the wall in my Stevens Point office. Nana’s special picture has been in many of my presentations and displays for the Red Cross. The picture travels with me frequently.

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Prior to my birth, my father was enlisted in the Navy. He knew his Aunt Francis and Uncle Luther were expecting their first child. While on ship he suddenly received bad news – Uncle Luther was killed in a plane accident. He received the message from the Red Cross. Soon after he received another message – my Aunt Francis had delivered a beautiful baby boy. Would he be the godfather? Naturally my father agreed-he recited the religious oath from the ship’s control room over the radio (somewhere close to the Philippine Islands) – all arranged via the Red Cross!

My Aunt Phyllis Petts of Neenah, WI, spent many years as a Red Cross blood volunteer until her death. I received her Red Cross volunteer pin from my cousins after the funeral.

I guess it was destiny for me to work for the American Red Cross. I am excited to be part of a family tradition that has followed this organization for such a long time. When I refer a blood drive, sell an AED, discuss Services to Armed Forces (SAF), or recommend our volunteer program, I know “someone above” is smiling down at me – and feeling proud.


Sherri Galle-Teske supports the Preparedness, Health and Safety Services in both Wisconsin and Michigan. As February is National Heart Month, it is important to know that Sherri’s support of Preparedness, Health and Safety Services includes helping people obtain AEDs for their home, business, school or organization. AEDs, devices that analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm, are an important element in reducing the number of cardiac arrest deaths. In addition, the Red Cross offers AED program management, maintenance and service. To learn more about AEDs or the Red Cross AED Program, contact Sherri via sherrigalle-teske@redcross.org.

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Click here to view full-size flyer.

Volunteer of the Month – Tara Williams

 

Tara williams rco_blog_img_Congratulations Tara Williams, the December 2015 Volunteer of the Month!

Tara became an American Red Cross volunteer just over a year ago. Since then, she has been a tremendous volunteer for multiple departments and entrusted Young Professionals Group leader. It all began when she blood at the Shopko company blood drive, in Green Bay, when Ben Delcore shared his volunteer experiences with her. The rest may be history as they say.

Tara jumped in from the start with both feet. Through her Young Professional Club experience her involvement within the different lines of service began to grow. She has been involved with The Club since its inception just over a year ago and has served as in active member participating in the Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign, volunteering at blood drives, donor thank-a-thons and much more. Just recently, Tara was chosen to the new President of the Red Cross Young Professional Club effective November 1st. In this role, she will lead the Club into its second year of program development and membership recruitment. She is always the first to rally support and participate in events such as; the Packer 5K, Holiday Mail for Heroes, Dancing with Our Stars (DWOS) and Lambeau Field’s Spooktacular.

“Tara is the perfect volunteer example of a person who thinks with her heart and goes to work with her hands. She’s making life better for people around her and at the same time, it lifts her up too!” stated Barbara Behling, Communication Officer.

Tara has been an active participant in the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. During these events, she has used her skills as a social media ambassador to post comments and reflect on her observations and the positive interactions she has had with smoke alarm recipients.

In a one of a kind event, Tara was vital for the Trout Museum Pillowcase project. Not only did she work with their Public Relations person, she utilized Red Cross promotional materials to create a the news release and media alert and then drove to Green Bay early one morning to be on live TV to discuss the program. The day of the event, she worked with the materials, captured photos and so much more. She even rallied other young professionals to support the project.

This month, Tara will take on yet another role by becoming an adjunct Northeast Wisconsin Chapter board member. This young volunteer undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of her, as she continues to demonstrate the power of her ongoing commitment to the Red Cross mission.

Thank you, Tara for proudly representing the Red Cross in your community, we wish you a lifetime of continued success!

To learn more, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact the office of Volunteer Resources at volunteerwisconsin@redcross.org.

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?

Are You AED Prepared?

DO YOU…

Know what AED stands for?

Know the purpose of having an AED?

AED stands for…

Automated External Defibrillator

It is a medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm.

If necessary, it delivers an electrical shock, known as defibrillation, which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.

Timing is Crucial.

8-12 minutes: the average response time for first responders once 911 is called.

1 minute of delayed defibrillation = 10% decrease of survival rate

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3 Easy Steps to Save a Life

  1. Be Red Cross Ready- Get the training you need to use an AED and how to respond in emergency situations. With the proper training and knowledge, potentially 50,000 lives can be saved per year.
  2. Contact Terry Roe if you would like to purchase an AED (email: Terry.Roe@redcross.org or phone# 715-590-4495 ). There are 4 different AED options to choose from.
  3. Be Inspired- Watch this incredible and touching story about how 2 UW Health nurses were able to save a woman’s life by using the AED, brought to you by WKOW 27 in Madison, WI.

WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

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(Click on picture to enlarge)

Beloit’s Late Night Hereos

By Carolyn Kuzuhara

When walls come tumbling down and dozens of residents are evacuated in the middle of the night, who comes to help at a moment’s notice? The American Red Cross is the answer.

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In Beloit, there was a wall that collapsed onto the Brittan House, a transitional housing facility, early in the morning. The Brittan House is located in downtown Beloit, the building is 140 years old and is home to 45 residents. The Beloit Fire Department was called to the scene and deemed the building unsafe for residents because the east side of the building was weakened from the collapse. The residents had to vacate the building for safety purposes. At this point, no one was injured and with safety being most important,a full-evacuation was ordered.

Meanwhile, the local Red Cross responders arrived at the Brittan House while another team opened a shelter. The Beloit Transit System provided transportation from the Brittan House to the McLenegan Elementary School. With Memorandums of Understanding already in place with the Beloit School District, the shelter was ready upon the bus arrival. The Red Cross provided a place to rest, emotional support, hygiene kits and our health service professionals to fulfill health emergencies due to the stress of the situation.

The next morning, our team supplied a hot breakfast for the residents as they waited for the building to be deemed safe for residents to return. Thankfully, engineers and local officials deemed the building structurally sound. We then assisted residents back to their home. We are thankful for the Beloit Fire Department, Beloit School District and the Beloit Transit System for their collaborative efforts. This emergency situation highlights how our community works together to help their neighbors no matter what time it is.

See footage from the Regional CEO at the site of the wall collapse. 

Tom Mooney, Regional CEO, and Dan Stauffacher, McLenegan School Safety Coordinator

Tom Mooney, Regional CEO, and Dan Stauffacher, McLenegan School Safety Coordinator at the location of the shelter.

None of this would be possible without our 24-hour a day trained volunteers, partners and generous donators. To become involved and support the Red Cross in your community, please visit http://www.redcross.org.

Home Fires Become Top Disaster Threat

Home fires top list of disaster responses throughout Wisconsin

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This year, the Red Cross helped more people affected by home fires than all other disasters combined. Locally trained workers responded at all hours of the day with food, blankets and comfort to help more than 3,451 people with nowhere else to turn after home fires from January 1 to December 1, 2014.

During that same timeframe, the Red Cross also provided financial support to 1,064 households after home fires to help replace lost belongings and begin the long road to recovery. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to a disaster in the community every 8 minutes and the vast majority of these are home fires.

Within December alone, we have already responded to nearly 50 additional fires as this is our busiest month of the year including several large apartment building fires in Milwaukee.

“While tornadoes, floods and hurricanes tend to dominate the headlines, people often underestimate the frequency and devastation caused by home fires, and that’s where the Red Cross comes in,” said Marytha Blanchard, the states Disaster Officer. “Our work doesn’t end after the smoke clears, every day local volunteers are helping people to recover and get better prepared.”

Curbing Deaths and Injuries from Home Fires

Because of the high number of home fires in this country, the Red Cross launched a campaign this year to reduce the number of home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent over the next five years. The organization is asking every household in America to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.

Since the campaign launched in October, the Red Cross—in partnership with fire departments and community groups nationwide—has already reached more than 29,000 people by installing 17,000 smoke alarms. These efforts have already saved five lives nationwide. In the Wisconsin Region, we’ve already reached 599 people by installing 342 smoke alarms in Beloit, Chippewa Falls, Kaukauna, Stevens Point and Milwaukee. Based on 5-year historical data, additional neighborhoods are being coordinated for 2015 outreach.

Other Notable Disaster Responses

Within the state, we have responded to numerous other disasters this year, including the Platteville and Verona tornadoes, flooding and even power outages. In addition, our trained responders have also traveled across the country to assist in the California & Texas wildfires, Buffalo blizzard, Oso mudslide, Pilger tornadoes and longer-term casework for the Illinois tornado/flood.

Our work is made possible by the generosity of the American public. You can help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables us to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

 

Are You in the Career Meant for You?

By Jody Weyers, Volunteer and Communications Director

What a great group of people to spend two days networking with.

What a great group of people to spend two days networking with.

This past Thursday and Friday, I attended and presented at the Wisconsin Volunteer Coordinators Association (WVCA) conference in Wausau. There were 200 volunteer managers ranging in experience from 40 years to the newbie of 14 days.

There is nothing like being in a room full of people who share your same drive, passion and career goals as you. The conference kicked off with key-note speaker Tom Krause. Tom was a retired teacher/coach of thirty-one years in the Missouri Public School system, and he was a 20 time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series.

He shared with us heartwarming stories during his coaching and teaching days, that came back to the same inspirational message:

PEOPLE COUNT – PEOPLE MATTER

YOU COUNT – YOU MATTER

YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

This statement really resonated with me. The more I am in this profession (13 years now and counting) I am learning it is not about finding people to fill the needed roles of your volunteer organization, but it is more about connecting people with the right opportunities for them to serve in our community. Everyone has talents to share.

As a volunteer manager, there is nothing more rewarding than helping someone recognize and help facilitate that perfect volunteer match. Granted, overtime, that perfect role might change, but then we have the challenge of connecting people with new opportunities and making that match again and seeing them thrive and find success.

I was up next to present to a crowd of 52 people. My presentation was on “Networking On and Off Line.”  I am a believer that if you have a best practice, why not share it. To this day, I continue to be humbled and honor for all the community support I received during my fundraising campaign for Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross. I contribute part of my success to being able to connect to people. The internet and social media, has allowed me to broaden my net. I would not have the success I have had if I was not able to transition that connection to people online, into offline relationships.

After I got done presenting, one of the greatest things happened. I was packing my stuff up, and I had a few people in line to ask me questions, so I stopped packing up, and this gentleman was before me and I asked him if he had a question. He said “No, I just want to give you a hug.” So, of course I hugged him.

I felt so honored, that he wanted a hug from me. It also made me laugh, because, Hector, the photographer I worked with on my national deployment to Colorado last September, called me “the hug whisper.”  If a hug from me makes people feel better, I am all for it, it also makes me feel pretty darn good too!

There was another really great moment that also came from this conference. This was an “ah ha” moment when I knew that I was in the right career for me.

I was in the hall between sessions, and a women came up to me and she began to tell me how my presentation last year (3 R’s in Volunteer Management – Retention, Recruitment and Recognition) helped her in revamping her program, and the success she was having.  I seriously teared up.  I was so touched that she took the time to share this with me how helped her, and now I was the teacher. I am so grateful for my many mentors and now for me to be the person mentoring someone; it was a pretty cool career moment!

booksThe next day, our morning kicked off with Paul Schmitz, CEO of Public Allies. It is an amazing thing if you can fire up 200 people who already believe in leadership and service, and get them to want to do more. That is how I felt, anyway. I am excited to read Paul’s book “Everyone Leads – Building Leadership from the Community Up”. His talk was about where is the leadership we need to solve our most pressing community problem? It is all around us!

His three points and definition of leadership included:

1. It is an action everyone can take, not a position few hold.

2. It is about taking personal and social responsibility to work with others on common goals.

3. It is the practice of values that engage diverse individuals and groups to work together effectively.

After saying my goodbyes to my fellow volunteer managers and getting in the car to drive home, I had sense of peace wash over me knowing, that I am in the profession, that I am meant to be. I hope everyone can experience this feeling, and maybe if you can’t find this sort of peace in your career, maybe you can find it in service. I encourage everyone to keep searching for it!

 

Get to Know: Paul Fruit, Regional Logistics Specialist

Kayleigh Kaminski and Kaylee Kuhn are seen handing over the greeting cards to Nick Cluppert (left) and Paul Fruit, from the Red Cross

Kayleigh Kaminski and Kaylee Kuhn are seen handing over the greeting cards to Nick Cluppert (left) and Paul Fruit, from the Red Cross

Hello everyone!  My name is Paul Fruit and I’m the Regional Logistics Specialist for the American Red Cross.  I’m excited to be able to share a little bit regarding my continuing career evolution within this remarkable organization and how I ended up in my current position, as it has been one amazing journey.

I grew up in a little town outside of Madison, and graduated from UW-Madison in 2009 with a degree in Economics.  Having absolutely no real idea as to where I wanted to begin my career, and willing to explore a wide range of options, I was particularly intrigued by an AmeriCorps service listing with the Red Cross in Oshkosh to help provide service and support to military members, their families, and the VA facilities that support them.  Knowing very little information about the Red Cross, I dove in headfirst and was quickly exposed to both the wide array of humanitarian services this organization provides, as well as the incredible volunteers that support them.  All I can say is that it was love at first sight!

My experiences as an AmeriCorps member were enough for me to know I wanted to stay with the Red Cross in any capacity I could, and when my two years were up, I accepted a position in Appleton working with a local community program and managing the local office.  I continued in this role for two more years before accepting my current position in disaster services, a position I very much enjoy.  I’m responsible for material resources and volunteers that support 28-counties including vehicles, shelter trailers and warehouses.

Each and every day, I wake up knowing that our organization has the most dedicated, intelligent, and caring volunteers on the planet, and I’m lucky enough to be able to work and engage with them on a daily basis as we continue our mission.  The last 4+ years have been the best years of my life, and I look forward to many more!