Midwest Extreme Weather: The Red Cross Response

Motorists are  stranded along I-45 along North Main  in Houston after storms flooded the area, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Overnight heavy rains caused flooding closing some portions of major highways in the Houston area. (Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Motorists are stranded along I-45 along North Main in Houston after storms flooded the area, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Overnight heavy rains caused flooding closing some portions of major highways in the Houston area. (Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The Red Cross is helping people in Texas and Oklahoma where devastating floods and tornadoes pounded the states over the weekend. More than 220 people spent their Memorial Day in Red Cross shelters in the two states. Governors in both states declared disasters in more than 80 counties after the extreme weather destroyed or damaged thousands of homes and left thousands without power.

In addition, Red Cross disaster mental health counselors are reaching out to recent victims on-the-ground in Texas. Read how counselors like Richard and Carolyn Newkirk use their specialized skills to counsel children and more in a new article.

Video: No Veteran Dies Alone

At the Red Cross, we understand how one dedicated person – despite the odds or circumstances – can have a profound effect on a community or an individual. For Chicago Red Cross Volunteer Laura Landoe, the difference she makes is quiet and intimate.

Landoe is one of a handful of volunteers who work with the No Veteran Dies Alone program at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center at Great Lake Naval Station in North Chicago, Illinois. The No Veteran Dies Alone is a palliative care program designed to provide the best quality of life for patients who no longer respond to medical treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities across the country.

Landoe’s role is to provide companionship and assistance, giving constant bedside comfort and most importantly, ensuring that no veteran faces death alone. There are times she holds a veteran’s hand, talks with them, reads to them and sometimes, sings hymns to them.

This Memorial Day as we fire-up the grill, head for the swimming pool, gather with family, and celebrate the start of summer, let us stop and remember the real reason for this holiday. It’s an opportunity to honor the men and women who have given their lives in service of their country while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces – and people like Landoe who serves our country in her own special way.

For more information about Services to the Armed Forces at the American Red Cross Gold Country Region, click here.

Happy Memorial Day!

All in One Day

All In One Day

All in one day, a home fire, a hurricane, or even a sudden accident can change a person’s life, leaving him or her feeling helpless. Thanks to generous donors, the Red Cross is able to respond, providing hope and lifesaving assistance when it is needed most.

Home Fires are the biggest disaster threat people face in this country. Every eight minutes, someone in the US the Red Cross responds to the home fire. Last year, the Gold Country Region alone responded to 645 local disasters.

Most of these disasters never make the news. That doesn’t mean these disasters are any less devastating to the families affected.

On June 2, 2015, the entire American Red Cross community will unite to launch our first nationwide Giving Day.  Our goal is to inspire the single largest day ever of giving to the Red Cross outside of major disasters.  Families, friends and coworkers across the nation will come together to sustain critical Red Cross support.  All in one day, thousands of people will help ensure that survivors of disasters large and small, patients in need of blood, and military families will not face crises alone.

How can you help?

116427-Giving-Day-Web-Banner-250x250-FINALMake a Gift

When you make this gift, you go all in—providing aid to military families, ensuring a stable blood supply for our nation, saving children  around the world from preventable diseases like measles, providing lifesaving trainings, and enabling the Red Cross to respond, on average, to a staggering 190 disasters each and every day. Your gift on or in advance of Giving Day will help ensure the Red Cross is there for years to come.


For those who like to plan ahead (or are worried you’ll forget come June 2), we set up a Giving Day donation option just for you!

Now through June 1, you can simply visit the Giving Day website, enter your information, and your donation will be processed on June 2 along with all other Giving Day donations.

This method frees up your time on June 2 so you don’t miss out on being a part of Giving Day activities in your community.


One day can change a person’s life in a way they didn’t expect, in a way that left them feeling helpless. Your support allows the Red Cross to be there so people in need can get back on their feet.

People like Pablo in Calaveras, who overcame a tragic house fire; “The Red Cross gave me hope. They showed me the best in people.”

Or Denise, a client from the Boles Fire in Weed: “When you give even a little from the heart, it means the world to someone who has lost so much.”

Thanks to generous people like you, the Red Cross is able to respond to emergencies and provide life-saving training.


You can also sign up to be a Giving Day Social Ambassador. We’ll provide a toolkit with easily customizable, click and paste social posts and images for you to use. It’s easy to sign up – go to https://givingday.redcross.org/#ambassadors

Thank you for helping to bring more good days! #allin1day

On June 2, let’s go “all in” and make this day count. Schedule your donation today for Giving Day at redcross.org/givingday. You can also help build awareness by using the hashtag #allin1day on Twitter and Facebook.

Honoring Local Emergency Service Providers

Emergency Response Vehicle drivers Vicki Oczkowicz and Brenda Clampitt hand out snacks to firefighters at Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.
Emergency Response Vehicle drivers Vicki Oczkowicz and Brenda Clampitt hand out snacks to firefighters at Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.

National EMS Week, May 17-23, 2015, is the perfect time to honor our local EMS professionals and promote awareness of their everyday service to the public. Here at the American Red Cross we partner with EMS professionals and together we are the first to arrive on the scene of a house fire, flood, or any other disaster.

During this coming week, we’d like to honor our local emergency service providers and thank them for their selfless acts of daily heroism.

Did you know: 

EMS is an intricate system, and each component of this system has an essential role to perform as part of a coordinated and seamless system of emergency medical care. An EMS system comprises all of the following components:

  • Agencies and organizations (both private and public)
  • Communications and transportation networks
  • Trauma systems, hospitals, trauma centers, and specialty care centers
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Highly trained professionals
    • Volunteer and career prehospital personnel
    • Physicians, nurses, and therapists
    • Administrators and government officials
  • An informed public that knows what to do in a medical emergency

Nepal from the eyes of the American Red Cross CEO/President Gail McGovern

CEO and President Gail McGovern and Chief International Officer David Meltzer recently returned from visiting Nepal following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake. During their time in country, they visited remote communities impacted by the disaster, and spoke with earthquake survivors as well as Nepal Red Cross employees and volunteers, many who lost everything in the earthquake but continue to help others in need.

In this video, David interviews Gail about what she saw on the ground, what is most needed, and how our work in Nepal helped prepared many people ahead of the destruction.

Also see Gail’s blog:  Gail McGovern: Stories of Resilience from Nepal.

And remember, our community was able to raise close to $445 thousand dollars during the KCRA telethon just a few days after the quake. Thanks again!

The Gold Country community once again proves to be one-of-a-kind givers

Yesterday was a great day for the Sacramento region and its surrounding communities. The American Red Cross Gold Country Region was one of 529 local non-profits who took part of the 2nd annual Big Day of Giving.

Altogether, there were 36, 531 donations totaling $5, 613, 700! Woo Hoo!

The @RCSierraDelta numbers are pretty awesome as well. We doubled last year’s donors to 182 this year and raised $25,545, compared to $15,000 last year.

We are so very thankful to each and every one who clicked to donate; we wouldn’t have been able to break our records without you!  We appreciate your support of to your local Red Cross.

What do your Big Day of Giving Donations mean:

  • Thanks to your donation, we will now be able to provide shelter to 11 families for 3 nights each after they are displaced from a disaster.
  • Several comfort kits, snacks, and two hot means for someone who has lost their home in a fire.
  • Training and deployment costs for a shelter team
  • Several comfort kits to deployed troops
  • Two cribs for infants in a shelter

Big Dog 2015 was also organized in more than 100 communities across the country with the hope of reaching millions of donors and raising over 100 million nationwide, each community rallied support for the vital work of local non-profits.

It’s a day of celebration in Gold Country!!

Sacramento Region is Opening their Hearts and Their Wallets!

15-0718-1-American-Red-Cross-DESIGN-FB2-1200-x-627 Big Day of Giving 2015

The Sacramento region “Big Day of Giving” is here! This is really exciting for the Red Cross because GIVING BIG is what makes our mission happen.

EVERY 11 HOURS Red Cross volunteers are out helping families who have lost everything, usually in a house fire. The cost of providing lodging, food and necessities for these families – about $550 per day – is covered entirely by the generosity of our donors. We receive no government funding to help these families, so our volunteers provide immediate comfort and our donors make sure they have a place to go.

How can you help us help them? Give to the Red Cross today through the Big Day of Giving. Our link to the Big Day is below – by clicking on that link and making a donation, you’ll be linking those we serve to the things they need.

“The Red Cross volunteers gave me and my children a hotel room, meals and clothing for three days after our home burned to the ground. This gave me the time to wrap my arms around what had happened and find long term solutions. I will always be grateful to our volunteers and your donors.” (Jennifer, Stockton.)

Every donation makes a difference to those we help. It’s a big day to meet some big needs – with your help we can make this happen!

Hope to see you at one of our events;

WHERE: Cesar Chavez Park 9th and J streets, Sacramento, CA.
WHEN: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
WHAT: Your local chapter of the Red Cross will be there with goodies, some of our nurse volunteers will be doing blood pressure checks and you can check out the ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle). Join us as we celebrate the first 12 hours of the campaign!

WHERE: Heritage Plaza, near the Opera House, on Main Street near Second Street, Woodland
WHEN: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
WHAT: We’ll have preparedness information and giveaways

WHERE: 1565 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, CA
WHEN: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
WHAT: Cinco the Mayo Fiesta at our headquarters as volunteer make thank you calls and cards for our amazing donors.

Hope to see you at one of these events!

Kathleen Weis, CEO
American Red Cross Gold Country Region

COMING UP: Fired Up! Gold Country Institute

DisasterCycleReady to Respond!

Registration is now open for the Fired up! Gold Country Institute in Sacramento June 4-7, 2015. 

Institute Goals

The Service in the Pacific Institutes Project was developed to:

  • Train the Disaster Cycle Services (DCS) team to meet our mission requirements
  • Increase morale across the Region
  • Test and evaluate the readiness of the DCS team
  • Train a significant number of trainers to continue the learning and growth of the organization

Join Us
DATES:  Thursday June 4 through Sunday June 7, 2015
:  Wildland Fire Training Center, McClellan Park, Sacramento
To register, visit: http://pacificdivision.weebly.com
Registration closes May 22

Go to the Pacific Division Institute website at www.pacificdivision.weebly.com, click on “Upcoming Institutes”, and choose the Fired up! Gold Country Institute.  Please read through the information, it will help you determine whether you want to attend, and if so, which courses you want to take.   Check the Step-by-Step instructions under Registration before you begin; that will help you quickly go through the process.

Toward the bottom of the Fired Up! Gold Country page, above the colorful daily schedule items, you will find a button called “Register for the Fired up! Gold Country Institute.”  Click on the button and begin the three-phase registration process (payment, personal information & preferences, and selection of classes).

We have an “Early Bird” Special available until May 18th which makes the price $45 for overnighters and $25 for commuters. The prices will go up to $75 for overnighters and $45 for commuters after May 18.  We encourage you to register soon so you can guarantee your spot.

If you have questions, we’re happy to help you at crdisastertraining@redcross.org.  We look forward to seeing you in Sacramento!

The Fired Up! Gold Country Institute Planning Team

Training Tracks

-Experienced Client Casework
-Experienced External Relations
-Experienced Shelter
-Experienced Supervisor
-Financial & Statistical Information
-New Client Casework
-New External Relations
-New Instructor
-New Shelter
-New Supervisor
-New Volunteer
-Operations Management
-Staff Services

Big Day of Giving


Dear Friend,

On April 25 a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, and to date more than 5,000 people are confirmed to have died. The citizens of Nepal, the surrounding countries and over 300,000 tourists are sleeping in the streets as the aftershocks continue. The American Red Cross is actively assisting the Nepal Red Cross with personnel, emergency supplies and cash.

On Wednesday, April 29, the Gold Country Region held a 15-hour telethon hosted by KCRA and raised nearly $500,000 to support this effort! Whenever the need has arisen, Gold Country donors have consistently stepped forward to help those who have lost everything, and we are incredibly grateful for that support!

You may have heard that on Tuesday, May 5 the nonprofit organizations in the greater Sacramento area will participate in “The Big Day of Giving” and hope to raise $5,000,000 for the people in our community. While the support for Nepal was awe-inspiring, the truth is that the need here at home is just as significant. Red Cross volunteers respond to a local home fire or other disaster EVERY 11 HOURS.

The people we help tell us that even though we are known for large disasters, to anyone who loses their home it doesn’t matter how widespread the disaster is.  What matters is that when everything is lost, the Red Cross is there to provide food, shelter, medical support and comfort. We are able to do this solely thanks to the generosity of our donors.

When the Big Day of Giving comes to town next Tuesday, we hope you will be able to support the Red Cross once again. The next fire we are called to could be in your town, your neighborhood – it could be your own home. If you

supported the people of Nepal on the 29th, we thank you and ask that you consider giving again to help your neighbors as generlously as you helped a stranger.  If you cannot we ask that you forward this email to friends who may still be looking for the right charity to support on May 5.

Thank you,

Kathleen Weis, CEO
American Red Cross Gold Country Region