What Does the American Red Cross Do for the Armed Services?

Well, actually quite a bit, and we want to make sure active/retired service personnel and their families know what support is available to them. On Friday, December 12th, a small band of Red Cross volunteers attended the National Guard’s retiree luncheon in Raleigh to help get the word out. Joshua Cain, Director of Service to the Armed Forces for the Eastern Region, arranged for the Red Cross to have a booth at this event, which was also attended by other organizations that lend support to National Guard personnel.

Joshua Cain and RC Volunteers

Joshua Cain and Red Cross Volunteers

To most, the Red Cross is associated with disaster relief and blood drives – and rightfully so. Less known are our military-related services, which is unfortunate considering the sacrifices these individuals and their families make for our country. Thankfully, many of the National Guard retirees we spoke to on Friday had some knowledge of these services. Cain put it all into perspective: “Red Cross volunteers provide a continuum of care that serves new recruits in MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station), service members on military installations across our region, and veterans in VA Medical Facilities. Red Cross services to the Armed Forces ensure that the individuals have support no matter what stage of their military career they may be in.”

Red Cross’ Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) programs provide assistance to 1.4 million active duty service members, 800,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve, 24 million veterans, and their families. The core services offered include:

- Providing emergency communications services when military families are separated by distance and deployments.

- Supporting military hospitals and Veterans Affairs health care facilities.

- Preparing service members and their families for the challenges they may encounter during military life and through their transition to civilian/veteran life. This assistance includes access to financial assistance, psychological first aid training, and reconnection workshops.

“Events such as this one not only give us the opportunity to promote our Armed Forces programs, but often result in new Red Cross volunteers. Providing care and service to others is in their blood,” said Cain. If you would like to help support our military service personnel as part of our Red Cross team, please contact Joshua Cain: Joshua.cain@redcross.org or 252-544-9414.

Red Cross Military Emergency Communications for active service members and their families:
1-877-272-7337.

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American Red Cross Donor Inducted into the Fenwal Donation Hall of Fame

Cary resident, Michael Zapata, Jr. recognized for commitment to blood donation Thursday, Nov. 6 at Durham Blood Donation Center.

American Red Cross blood and platelet donor Michael Zapata, Jr. is one of 15 donors nationwide inducted into the Donation Hall of Fame, sponsored by Fenwal, Inc. The Donation Hall of Fame recognizes individuals nationwide who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to blood donation.

Durham Hall of Fame Blood Donor Mr. Zapata

Mr. Zapata waits at the bus stop for his regular journey to the Red Cross blood donation center in Durham.

The Red Cross teamed up with Fenwal to induct Zapata into the Donation Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the American Red Cross Durham Blood Donation Center at 4737 University Drive from 2 – 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6 to honor Zapata’s many contributions to people in need of blood transfusions.

“We are excited that Fenwal has recognized Michael,” said Sharon Pitt, CEO for the Carolinas Blood Services Region. “The Fenwal Hall of Fame induction is a fitting tribute to one of our most dedicated donors. He has selflessly helped to give the gift of life to patients in need and is a hero to our community.”

Primarily a platelet donor, Zapata was a part of 12 inspiring donation stories across the country selected for the Fenwal 2014 Donation Hall of Fame. In addition, his story will be featured in the Fenwal 2015 calendar.

As an inductee into the Fenwal Donation Hall of Fame, Zapata also was recognized with a personalized Fenwal Donation Hall of Fame statue and a Donation Hall of Fame lapel pin which will be presented during the induction ceremony.

Michael Zapata’s dedication to helping save lives rises to an exceptional level. A Cary resident, Zapata takes four buses from his home to the American Red Cross Durham Donation Center, every two weeks to donate platelets, a procedure that takes approximately two hours.

“Mr. Zapata is a wonderful person, and is very passionate about his mission to save lives,” said Rossitza Todorova, the Red Cross team supervisor who nominated Zapata. “He has been a platelet donor for twenty years now, and donated whole blood for many years prior to that. We know that we can always count on him to be here for his appointment.”

Zapata starts his donation day by catching the first of four buses around 7 a.m. to travel to the donation center. Always on time, Zapata arrives to greet his Red Cross family with a smile and snacks for the staff before making his triple platelet donation. When asked about the time and commitment to donating regularly, Zapata says, “It’s never more than one hour (that) I wait at the bus stop, and I am well prepared. I have my walker, umbrella, hat, sunscreen, water and snacks.” And, according to the Red Cross staff, a big heart.

“We look forward to partnering with the American Red Cross to induct Michael into the Fenwal Donation Hall of Fame,” said Greg Cinnamon, account executive for Fenwal, a Fresenius-Kabi Company. “His commitment to helping others through donations is honorable and serves as an inspiration to others.”

For more than a decade, Fenwal has partnered with blood centers through the Donation Hall of Fame to recognize the commitment and dedication of extraordinary donors and volunteers. The program celebrates these individuals and the important cause that they support. It provides blood center staff with real, inspiring, devoted donor stories and tools to help centers celebrate them and share their stories.

How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About Fenwal
Fenwal Inc. is a medical technology company focused on improving transfusion medicine through unique expertise in blood separation, collection, filtration, storage and transfusion. Acquired by Fresenius Kabi in December 2012, Fenwal offers a broad range of products and services for the automated and manual collection of blood and blood components. Fenwal products and advanced collection and separation technologies are used worldwide. For more information please visit http://www.fenwalinc.com.

About Fresenius Kabi
Fresenius Kabi (www.fresenius-kabi.com) is a leading international health care company focusing on products for the therapy and care of critically and chronically ill patients inside and outside the hospital. The company’s product portfolio comprises a comprehensive range of I.V. generic drugs, infusion therapies and clinical nutrition products as well as the medical devices for administering these products. Within transfusion technologies, Fresenius Kabi offers products for whole blood collection and processing as well as for transfusion medicine and cell therapies. Fresenius Kabi is a wholly owned subsidiary of the health care group Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA.

By: Natividad Lewis – American Red Cross Bio Medical

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Recognizing our volunteers in Coastal Carolina – Newbern, NC

The American Red Cross- Coastal Carolina Chapter, Newbern, N.C. held its Volunteer Recognition event on October 16th at the Broadcreek Recreation Center. Approximately 30 volunteers attended the program that highlighted the services and programs the Red Cross has done in the area in the last fiscal year and celebrated the achievements.

An In-Kind check was presented and accepted by Penny Williams, Coastal Carolina Board Chair to represent the 4,735.5 hours of time committed by the volunteers and valuing at $104,842.97.

Special recognition was given to the following award receipents for their exceptional service:

Service to Armed Forces Award: Fred Eldredge, Russell Reed, and Walter Ray Derr

Disaster Services Award: Lanikai Morbley

Rookie of the Year Award: Dan Brown

Blood Services Award: Ruth and Tom McIvors

Volunteer of the Year Award: Lanikai Morbley

Partnership Award: Eastern and Central N.C. Food Bank, Knights of Columbus. Both of these partners were acknowledges for all their continued work with the Red Cross through Disaster Services.

Red Cross Heroes Awards: Kristen Willis  and Joe Avolis. Kristen has worked tiredlessly in her role as a Donor Recruitment Manager, Biomedical Services, with the community and the Coastal Carolinas Chapter. Joe raised $5250 doing a Ride for the Red bike ride from the Virginia/ North Carolina border to the North Carolina/ South Carolina border. Raising awareness along the way about all the important work that the Red Cross does in the community.

Red Cross Hero award receipent

Red Cross Hero award receipent

President’s Volunteer Service Awards- Recognition of volunteer hours completed over the time leading up to June 2014.

Bronze Awards (100 to 249 hours): Eloisa Able, Melvin Allen, Theresa Allen, Ruth McIvor, Tom McIvor, Tom Monte, Michael Soriano, Cameron Stallings, and Penny Williams

Silver Awards (250-499 hours): none

Gold Awards (500-3999 hours): Walter Ray Derr, Fred Eldredge, Patricia Griffin, June Harrison, Marie Howard, Willard Mattmiller, Charles Miller, Lanikai Morbley, Sabita Murray, Russell Reed, and Brenda Wright

Lifetime Awards (4,000 plus hours): Linda Eldredge, Alvin Younger, and Charles Ferko

 

 

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Sampson County Fire Claims Lives, Inspires Hope

Link to FayObserver story - Sampson County Fire

Fire quickly engulfed and destroyed the home in Sampson County.

by: James Jarvis, American Red Cross

Andre Smith, or ‘Dre as his friends called him, loved video games, playing basketball, and watching professional wrestling. At ten years old, he was a full-loving child who always had a smile on his face and enjoyed goofing off with his cousins, said Sabrina Sheridan, ‘Dre’s aunt. “He said that he wanted to be a policeman someday so that he could help people,” Sheridan said. ‘Dre’s sister, Tashiya, had dreams of her own.

Tashiya was younger than ‘Dre, only nine years old, but she was certainly no smaller personality. “She lit up the room, “ Sheridan said. “She was always singing, dancing, laughing, or playing. She loved to ‘dress up’ and hoped to become a teacher someday.”
Two beautiful children, full of life and brimming with potential, will unfortunately never achieve their dreams, as they lost their lives along with four others in a tragic mobile home fire in Garland, NC on August 30, 2014. Six lives lost and three families left to grieve over what could have been.

Sabrina Sheridan remembers her sister as a hard-working mother. When Anita Robinson, 33, was not playing games with her children, ‘Dre and Tashiya, or helping them with their homework, she was hard at work to try to provide them with a better life. “She had a personality that everyone loved. Her family was her life and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her,” Sheridan said.

‘Dre and Tashiya were not Anita’s only loves. For the past seven years, Johnnie Newkirk, 35, better known as Kent, was Anita’s man. Kent loved working with his hands, said his aunt, Ms. Lizzie Murphy. “He was always working on car stereos, electronics, anything he could get his hands on. If you needed it fixed, he could do it!”

Kent was a family man, Murphy explained. “He tried to see his son [age 7] as often as he could and he loved Anita’s children as if they were his own.” He remained close to his mother, Laura Ann Newkirk, 63, until his final day.

“Laura Ann was a very quiet person,” said Murphy of her youngest sister. “She read her bible, looked out for everyone, and was really involved with ‘Dre and Tashiya. She cared for them when Anita had to work late and helped them with their homework and basically kept them on track,” Murphy said. When Murphy retired, she reconnected with Laura Ann and the two spoke by telephone sometimes three times a day. “We were very close growing up and it was great to become so close to her again,” she said.

“Everyone loved Possum,” said James Wilson’s mother, Queen Esther Wilson of Clinton, NC. James Wilson, known simply as Possum from the time he was a baby, was the eldest son from among 15 children. Possum was a rugged man – a product of 30 years of hard work as a farmer in nearby Clinton, NC. For nearly 25 years, Possum was Laura Ann’s companion and never far from her side. Queen Esther remembers her son as a God-fearing man who had a heart of gold.

Six lives, three generations – gone. Shortly after 12:30 a.m., in the early morning hours of Aug. 31, 2014, Laura Ann’s mobile home caught fire. “My grandson (Solomon) was the first person to arrive on the scene,” said Joyce Miles, a neighbor and Laura Ann Newkirk’s cousin. “He ran as fast as he could and tried to kick in the door, but the fire threw him backwards. There was nothing anyone could do. In a little less than seven minutes, the whole structure was gone!”

By all accounts, this tragedy could have been prevented if Laura Ann’s mobile home had been protected by smoke alarms. Fire investigators determined that there were no working smoke alarms in Laura Ann’s home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. To help ensure that no other family endures the pain and intense grief that these families endured, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, numerous fire departments of Sampson County, the American Red Cross, and several other local, state, and national organizations partnered October 4th to install nearly 800 10-year smoke alarms in at-risk communities across the county.

Hundreds of volunteers canvassed dozens of neighborhoods across the county to teach people about fire safety, and properly install working fire alarms in their homes. “Fire is everyone’s fight,” said Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin. “By working together, by pooling our resources, and by reaching out to the most at-risk communities, we can prevent future tragedies.”

Through their grief, the families of the people lost that fateful night are grateful to see something positive come from their tragedy. “What they are doing now is just a Godsend and a blessing,” said Murphy. “It’s as if our family has been through a horrible storm and then when it seems darkest, the skies turn blue and all that’s left are little pieces. God will help us put the pieces back together and see us through. Hopefully this program will help ensure that no one else loses their lives unnecessarily.”

“We’re all grieving. We’re all hurting,” said Miles. “The trailer is a constant reminder for me (as it rests across the street from her home). Not an hour goes by that I don’t think of them. I remember Tashiya being so happy the day before… she was singing and laughing and it’s hard to comprehend not hearing that laughter again or seeing them run into the house from the school bus. It’s so sad to see so many generations lost in one tragedy. It’s truly amazing how many people and resources have flowed into our community following this tragedy. Hopefully their efforts will help ensure that no one else will have to experience this.”

To learn more about fire safety, please visit our Home Fire Preparedness page. To learn more about the American Red Cross’ Home Fires Campaign, please visit our Home Fire Campaign page.

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Community Partners Support Fire Prevention Campaign

Oct 4 fire camp 1

The 100 volunteers attending the Office of State Fire Management Fire Alarm training in a church hall before going out into the community.

A mobile home fire took the lives of six individuals on September 1st 2014 in Sampson County, NC and a result the community partners within the county and state banded together to do a fire prevention campaign on October 4th 2014. On the morning of the 4th approximately twenty community partners, over one hundred volunteers, approximately one thousand fire alarms, a few hundred carbon monoxide detectors and other materials came together for a one hour training session before forming task forces and hitting the communities.

Oct 4 fire camp 2

One of the task force groups, includes seven partner groups, ready to start the installations.

Among the volunteers and community partner groups, one group stood tall on the day. Red Cross Ready When the Time Comes partner Murphy Brown. The volunteer group was approximately thirty strong and many had a reason to come out. The fire on Sept. 1st took the life of one of their employees. There was a consensus among the volunteers at the beginning of the day was that this campaign is “a great way to save lives and help in the community”.

However, it was through the experiences with the task force group that I went out that made that quote come alive. The task force group that I went out with included two fire chiefs and fire fighters from Salemberg, NC, Farm Bureau, Murphy Brown  and a young girl who’s mother asked her to volunteer with her and assist as a Spanish Interpreter The very first home that we entered was a person who was well connected in the Salemberg community and the fire department felt comfortable with going to his home. The Fire Chief, David Hairr, explained to me that this was a gentleman who could assist in making connection with those in the community whom may not open the door to them and were the same residents who most needed the alarms installed. He was right. This gentleman rode his bike around the community, opened doors to homes of people who were out for the day but wanted us to do the alarms, he was there at more than half the residents we went to. It was a similar story with another resident, who was home-bound, she called her friends and in one conversation reminded the person that it was just the week before that they talked about having their fire alarms checked. By the end of the day the quote ” a great way to save lives and help in the community” had taken a life of its own. The volunteer from Farm Bureau, said “it was great to actually see streets where his clients lived and know that the fire departments know the community and his clients have smoke alarms now”.

Any community organizations or businesses interested in learning about volunteering opportunities with American Red Cross, please contact Wendy Flynn, Regional Volunteer Relations Specialist, at Wendy.Flynn@redcross.org or at (910) 610-8887.

Partners Included:

Union Grove Baptist Church

Murphy Brown

American Red Cross

Emergency Management staff- various counties

Clinton Fire Dept.

Harrells Fire Dept.

Office of State Fire Management

Clinton Police Dept.

Garland Fire Dept.

Rockingham Fire Marshal

Clement Fire Dept.

Halls Fire and Rescue

Newton Fire Dept.

Salemberg Fire Dept.

Plainview Fire Dept.

Turkey Fire Dept.

Crossroads Fire Dept.

Hollands Baptist Church

Farm Bureau

Nationwide Insurance

Taylor’s Bridge Fire and Rescue

NC Baptist Builders

 

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Volunteer Orientations with a Twist

Originally posted on :

One very resourceful Program Specialist, Shannon Kelly-Miller, needed to be in two places at once – what to do? After some brainstorming and with the assistance of Disaster Lead, Debbie Williams, these two Red Crossers, decided to do Skype Volunteer Orientations. The Red Cross Volunteer Orientations are an important first step for new volunteers to meet our experienced volunteers and staff and hear first hand about what we do as an organization.  Prospective volunteers not only are provided details about what the role of a Red Cross volunteer is and how they can serve their communities; but it tells them the history of the Red Cross and the impact our organization has in the community, in Eastern North Carolina and the organization nationally. Our instructors are able to answer questions and assist in finishing the application process so that our volunteers are ready to have boots on the ground in all program lines Disaster, Services to…

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Board Retreat Brings Business Minds Together to Advance Red Cross Mission

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Communications Committee Chair, Jim Harris, explains communications goals for this year. Photos by Paul Seay

On Thursday, July 31, the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross met to become acquainted with what is happening at the Red Cross, as well as to discuss its goals for the next year. We have a fantastic team of professionals on the Board of Directors and each of them are committed to serving the American Red Cross to the best of their abilities.

Being on the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross requires a passion for the mission of the Red Cross, as well as a dedication to the service of the community. A Board position is much more than an accolade to spruce up a resume; it is a real commitment.

Chief Development Officer, Tony Jeffreys, Board Chair, Chris Judy, and Philanthropy Committee Chair Anita Ali discuss goals for the committee.

Chief Development Officer, Tony Jeffreys, Board Chair, Chris Judy, and Philanthropy Committee Chair Anita Ali discuss goals for the committee.

This year the Board of Directors hopes to focus on developing and strengthening meaningful relationships in order to spread the word about the positive effect the Red Cross has in the Triangle Area. New Board member, Mike Riegel said, “My favorite part about serving on the Board of Directors is discovering new ways the American Red Cross influences the community.”

Another goal the Board set for itself is to remember to share the stories about people who have benefited from the Red Cross. While many members have not personally needed Red Cross assistance, most of them had friends, family, or neighbors who have. Even in the work place, Board Members are committed to talking about the Red Cross. Three-year Board veteran, Sam DiFranco said, “I am constantly sharing the message of the Red Cross in my office for awareness of its mission.” Realizing how ubiquitous the Red Cross truly is was exciting for our Board Members and generated a great deal of anticipation for the coming year.

Perhaps what sets the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross apart from others is their compassion and enthusiasm for helping people. “I think it is important to really slow down and remember to give back if you are capable…It can be so easy to get caught up in our everyday lives.” Said Donna Rhode, in her third year as a Board Member. The American Red Cross is undeniably fortunate to have such a committed, and devoted group of people serving on the Board of Directors. We are confident they will help us achieve great things during their time of service. Thank you all for your time, generosity, and dedication!

By: Jaime Lisk, Public Affairs Volunteer

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