Simple Words that Make the Red Cross Glow

IMG951957Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort is a place of great fun, entertainment, music and food; nonetheless, for 11 days one of the most popular Casinos in Northern California became a place of safety and shelter for hundreds of people evacuated the by Butte Fire that charred hundreds of homes in Calaveras and Amador Counties.

When evacuation orders were lifted, the number of people staying at the shelter declined. As people were leaving Jackson Rancheria we asked them to share with us a few simple words of their stay.

Jerry (82) and Kathy (77) Purse from Rail Road Flat, CA

“It’s been fantastic! The way the Red Cross took over, made sure we had everything we needed. The Red Cross and Jackson Rancheria did a fantastic job!”

Steven (56) and Winnie (52) Androvich from West Point, CA

“Made me feel like a guest, a carefree guest. The Red cross removed all my stress…made me feel like I was home.”

John (58) and Karil (56) Shipley; David Shipley (32); Heather Bolta (28)

“Fantastic! Red Cross gave us a lot of help, A LOT! You guys did great! Thank you, thank you…so much help!”

Leona Stormoen (72) from Pine Grove, CA

“Over the top! I’m in a fog, I can’t even tell you…every time I needed something, it was done, it was there….information, services, comfort…EVERYTHING!”

Matt (59) and Sherrie Whitmer from West Point, CA

“Everything! Everything twice for a week….that’s what you did for us, and I mean everything! This has been a home. There are no words for it. It feels like home here, I found a shirt that said “Welcome Home” and I mean, it’s just been phenomenal! I hope you put that in Big Capital Letters…for the rest of my life, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

Wally (55) Thom; Carol (82) Thom; Rebecca (54) Thom; Alissa (17 when she arrived, 18 when she left)

“On a scale of 1-10…a 12!”   said Wally; “So Good to know you are here, especially with my Mom”

“Ditto! There were awesome…everyone was great!” said Rebecca

Tara (27) Booth; two kids Aubrey (4) and Anna (3) from Rail Road Flat, CA

“We don’t even know where to begin. The Red Cross was able to give us everything and do everything for us. Especially with our kids, you made it so easy for us!”

Summer Reed-Johnson (61) from Wilseyville, CA

“100% excellent, and kind… so kind. Whatever it is that I needed, you were able to provide it. It was just so comfortable and easy. It made me not feel afraid.”

Check out the pictures about this response on our Flickr Album


Butte Fire: Red Cross Services – New Updates

21583982776_6be013043f_zRed Cross Information Hotline: (855) 224-2490

Bulk Distribution

Red Cross volunteers are handing out cleaning, hygiene and comfort items in hardest-hit neighborhoods devastated by the Butte fire. These items include water, snacks, non-perishable meals, and clean-up items such as gloves, buckets, trash bags and dust masks  and debris sifters.


The shelters are providing for the immediate needs to those affected, including a safe place to stay, food (dinner, snacks), water, medicines and health services, cleaning supplies, emotional support and other support resources. Impacted residents are welcome to stop by during the day even if they choose to spend the night elsewhere. The shelters will remain open as long as there is a need.

  • Jenny Lynn Veterans Hall
    189 Pine Street, Valley Springs

Resource Centers

Local resource centers are places where representatives of various local agencies will be available to assist impacted residents with information, basic needs, and referrals to programs and services. In additional, the Red Cross Client Assistance Center gives affected families the opportunity to meet one-on-one with trained Red Cross caseworkers who will assess their disaster-caused needs and provide information to help individuals move toward recovery.

  • Calaveras County Local Assistance Center
    Old Calaveras Government Center
    891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas

    Sunday 9/27
    9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    Monday 9/28 – Friday 10/2
    8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

NOTE: Times are subject to change. Check back to this blog for updates.

Butte Fire – Stories from the Front Lines

Author: Rich Woodruff, Deployed from Salt Lake City, Utah

Rich visits one of the home sites ravaged by the Butte Fire
                              Rich Woodruff surveys one of the home sites ravaged by the Butte Fire

The Red Cross Story at the Butte fire is not a single story, but many stories as communities, government, interfaith communities and businesses come together during times of crisis.  The media has played a critical role in disseminating information to the public and raising funds for the Red Cross through telethons and other campaigns.

MobileFeedings2The Red Cross has been distributing cleaning supplies and food at many areas affected by the Butte Fire. Just yesterday, when our emergency response vehicle was arriving to one of the areas that was blackened by the fire, people camping on their decimated property began wandering down from the hills in dire need of food, clothing, bedding, batteries, diapers, dog food … the list goes on and on.

Red Cross volunteers were there to greet them with a warm smile, hugs and more. Our mission there was twofold: to distribute relief and clean up supplies as well as serving lunch prepared by the Southern Baptist remote kitchen in nearby San Andreas.  The kitchen cooks thousands of meals a day and Red Cross ERVs (Emergency Response Vehicles) get them to the people where they are since most have lost their transportation.  Today’s lunch was chicken fingers, potato salad and homemade banana pudding.  The food was fresh and warm thanks to the special insulation containers used in the ERV’s.20150920_130752

One story that really touched me was the story of Mary from the Mountain Ranch area. Mary had not eaten in two days and was scouring the makeshift store for diapers, bedding, clean clothes and just basic needs like toiletries.   She also was asking about burn cream for her cat that had wandered on to the smoldering ashes of her property.  I quickly joined her rummaging through boxes finally coming upon some Aloe Vera.  At this time, her pet’s needs were more important to her than her own needs. She rushed to put some of the aloe vera on her cat… we waited and invited her to eat some food. While she was eating, Mary shared her story and appreciation for our immediate concern and help. A few minutes later, a line was forming behind the Red Cross supply truck full of rakes, garbage bags, gloves, buckets, dust masks and other clean-up supplies.

Another person affected by the Butte Fire, showed up with another specific need. Bob, was asking if we had any sifters and thanks to the generosity of Ace Hardware we actually did.

Ace Hardware donated 2×4’s and screens and Red Cross volunteers built more than 600 sifters so that they can be distributed during our routes to the affected area.  Bob had heard of people finding valuables and was hopeful to do the same.  In our efforts to take care of first things first, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a mailbox key or the emotional boost a retrieved precious family heirloom would provide.

Recovering from a disaster takes time and the Red Cross will be working alongside partners in the community to deliver aid for months to come.

We were here before this disaster, during and will remain after, because that’s what we do.

Cookin’ With Gas!

Dawn Dwyer of SBC helps load food and supplies for delivery to communities impacted by the Butte Fire.
Dawn Dwyer of SBC helps load food and supplies for delivery to communities impacted by the Butte Fire.

In times of disaster, there’s not one organization that can handle every need on their own. The American Red Cross relies on many different partners in the community to deliver much needed aid and support to affected areas.

One such partner is Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, who have been providing one of the most valuable resources to residents impacted by the Butte Fire in California – food!

With their mobile kitchen, cooking supplies, and passionate volunteers, the SBC is churning out upwards of 2,000 meals a day to help feed affected communities and the many volunteers working tirelessly to deliver aid.

According to Dawn Dwyer, Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Sacramento Southern Baptist Association, “When people are hungry we’re, here and thats what it’s all about! We work as a team with the Red Cross to get the job done.”

SBC volunteers prepare lunch for delivery in Mountain Ranch, California.
SBC volunteers prepare lunch for delivery in Mountain Ranch, CA.

The Southern Baptist Mobile kitchen facility set up in San Andreas has the capacity to produce literally thousands of meals per day. On a recent night SBC volunteers prepared 750 servings of beef stew, loaded the meals into Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs), and provided a warm dinner for area residents.

Following delivery of another fresh lunch in the community of Mountain Ranch – a lunch of chicken fingers potato salad and banana pudding – Red Cross ERV driver, Sam Burgess, says, “It’s a very rewarding experience to see how grateful people are when the freshly cooked warm meals arrive.”

While food preparation is an SBC specialty, the team also provides mobile showers and other emergency relief solutions as disasters unfold and needs become known. They have the capacity to respond quickly and on a large scale just like the Red Cross thanks to their volunteer network, which extends both nationally and internationally.

Red Cross volunteers provide SBC-prepared food to affected communities.
Red Cross volunteers provide SBC-prepared food to affected communities.

We would like to salute the Southern Baptist Convention for their selfless contribution to communities in need! They are a reflection of the Red Cross mission to “alleviate human suffering during times of disaster”, and for that we – and those touched by disaster – are truly grateful.

Butte Fire: Red Cross Service Sites

Red Cross Information Hotline: (855) 224-2490

As the disaster relief effort continues in response to the Butte Fire in Calfornia’s Amador and Calaveras Counties, Red Cross volunteers are hard at work providing for the emergency needs of all those affected.

As more residents return to their communities, Red Cross volunteers are delivering cleaning supplies, hygiene and comfort items to neighborhoods hit hardest by the devastating Butte Fire. Items include water, snacks, non-perishable meals, and clean-up items such as gloves, buckets, trash bags and dust masks. Volunteers are visiting the following areas providing assistance:

  • Railroad Flat
  • Mokelumne Hill
  • Glencoe
  • West Point
  • San Andreas
  • Jackson
  • Murphys
  • Railroad Flat
  • Mountain Ranch Rd.
  • Jesus Maria Rd

Evacuation Shelters
Emergency shelters are available for residents seeking a safe place to stay, food, water, medications, health services, cleaning supplies, emotional support and other resources. Shelters are currently available at the following locations:

  • Jackson Rancheria
    12222 New York Ranch Rd
    Jackson, CA
  • Jenny Lynn Veterans Hall
    189 Pine Street
    Valley Springs, CA

Resource Centers
Additional resources and support may be found at the following local resource centers, where residents can meet with local agencies and receive updated information, basic needs, and referrals to programs and services:

  • Calaveras County Local Assistance Center
    Old Calaveras Government Center
    891 Mountain Ranch Rd
    San Andreas, CA
    (Open daily 8am – 5pm)
  • Red Cross Assistance Center
    St. Katherine Drexel Parish Center
    11361 Prospect Dr
    Jackson, CA
    (Open daily 9am – 7pm)

NOTE: Times are subject to change. Check back to this blog for updates.

NEWS: Red Cross Assistance Center Opens Today to Help People Affected by the Butte Fire

Jackson, CA, Thursday, September 19, 2015 – The American Red Cross will open a Client Assistance Center to help people affected by the Butte Fire beginning Saturday, September 19, 2015. The center is located at the St. Katharine Drexel Parish at 11361 Prospect Dr., in Jackson, California. The Center will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., for the next few days.

Residents from Amador and Calaveras Counties who were affected by the Butte Fire are welcomed at the assistance center to begin the recovery process. Red Cross caseworkers are available to help people create personal recovery plans, navigate paperwork, and locate assistance from the Red Cross and other agencies. Caseworkers will meet one-on-one with residents to help them with their specific disaster-caused emergency needs such as clean-up or new housing assistance, transportation costs, furniture and clothing replacement. 

Additionally, Red Cross volunteers will be distributing clean-up kits with mops, buckets, bleach, trash bags and rakes at this center and additional locations.

“Red Cross volunteers are loading trucks and traveling to affected neighborhoods with food and supplies. Our disaster workers are doing whatever we can to reach more people who need help,” said Teresa Caver, Interim CEO of the American Red Cross Gold Country Region.  “We understand that people are living in very tough conditions. The uncertainty of whether people will have homes to return to makes this an emotionally draining time. Red Cross mental health volunteers are supporting residents as they learn the status of the homes.”

Red Cross healthcare workers will also be there to help with minor medical needs, and trained mental health workers will be available to provide emotional support and coping strategies.

The American Red Cross will also be available at the Calaveras Local Assistance Center (CLAC) and provide information about available assistance. The CLAC will be operating at the Calaveras County Government Center located at 891 Mountain Ranch Road in San Andreas starting today at 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and will be open until Monday.

Shelters remain open at Jackson Rancheria in Amador County, the Good Samaritan Church, and the Jenny Lynn Veterans Hall in Calaveras County. More than 1500 people sought refuge in our shelters and many more are visiting every day for hot meals and information about what help is available.

Trained Red Cross health and mental health workers are providing services to people at the shelters, including emotional support and replacing prescription medications and eyeglasses.

The Red Cross has provided the following to people impacted by the fires:

o          More than 5,400 overnight stays in shelters

o          More than 32,000 meals and snacks

o          More than 2,300 health and mental health services


Stay informed: The Red Cross has several smartphone apps available that will alert you to National Weather Service warnings for severe weather and flash flooding and provide you with preparedness and safety information. These free apps are available for download at


At this time, the American Red Cross of Gold Country Region is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our response to the flooding in our communities. We thank individuals and community groups who are willing to support this effort and encourage them to register to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses. Learn more and register online at /volunteer and complete the online application.

About the American Red Cross Gold Country Region
Founded in 1898, the Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross serves 4.4 million people in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties. The Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, visit our website, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Red Cross Shelter Provides a Breath of Fresh Air


Dawn Rosumalski is able to take a breath of fresh air, thanks to the Red Cross shelter at Jackson Rancheria.  Although Rosumalski’s home in Amador Pines is not located in the immediate fire area, the poor air quality has prevented her from returning.  The woman suffers from a respiratory condition that causes an anaphylactic reaction to smoke.

“My throat closes up and I have to give myself injections with an Epi pen,” Rosumalski said. “I just can’t take the chance of going back until the smoke has cleared.”

Rosumalski has been staying in a room at the Jackson Rancheria, where she can undergo daily breathing treatments. “Without the shelter, I wouldn’t have made it,” she said.

“The Red Cross has been wonderful,” Rosumalski continues. “They have provided everything I need.  All I have to do is ask, and it is there, twice over!”