“Feel Good Moments” by Leadership Council Member and Red Cross Volunteer, Ti Curry

Leadership council member and Red Cross volunteer  Ti Curry.
Leadership council member and Red Cross volunteer Ti Curry.

 

I served in the Army from 1969 to 1971.  Most of that time was spent in Viet Nam.  Because of my specialized training I served with a lot of different battalions such as the 50th APC Company, the 173rd or The Herd, as they were more commonly known, and the 9th Calvary.

My interest in the Red Cross peaked when I found out that they were doing Service to the Armed Forces.  Because of my service in Viet Nam I want to help the most unappreciated veterans in America.

Red Cross gave me that vehicle to help them and any other Vets I would come in contact with.

Some of the things I do for the SAF are: attend meetings with the local VFW, The VA Services, The Soldiers Project and the International Veteran Alliance. I also attend events where veterans will gather to hand out helpful veteran information and I have marched in the Veteran’s Day parade as a Red Cross Representative of the SAF.  I have also done follow-up phone calls on cases where an active service member needed to get home for an emergency.

Last but not least, I have followed up on a Veteran who needed help but was not responsive to our phone calls.  When I went to his house, I found that he was not responding to phone calls because he wore two hearing aids and he could not hear the phone ringing upstairs while I was interviewing him. He only had one phone, which was upstairs, and he spent most of his time downstairs.

My feel good moments with the SAF are every time I make a solid connection with a veteran and he thanks me for my service, that’s a good feeling.

 

Valued Volunteers Help Us Fulfill Our Lifesaving Mission – Join The Team!

Red Cross volunteer Andy Grossman talks with Weed resident Karly Gregory at the site where her home once stood.
Red Cross volunteer Andy Grossman talks with Weed resident Karly Gregory at the site where her home once stood.

When people see the Red Cross responding to emergencies, they often want to help but don’t know how. We want to help you get involved now, before a major disaster strikes.

Our volunteers respond to a local emergency every 11 hours. In these events, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet. Although the Red Cross is not a government agency, it is an essential part of the response when disaster strikes. We work in partnership with other agencies and organizations that provide services to disaster victims.

Most of you have probably noticed reports of several fires in our region. With our record drought conditions, it will not be surprising to have many more, and the danger of a big fire is greater than ever.

The Red Cross has had a presence in the Gold Country region for over 100 years with a modest number of dedicated individuals. Now only a very small number of volunteers remain to provide initial help to folks who have lost their homes, who need a place to stay, food, and maybe critical prescription medications. These same volunteers are regularly the ones to start the process of setting up evacuation centers and shelters for large disasters.

If our local volunteers are not available because of vacations or illness, volunteers from Yuba City or Sacramento will respond, but driving time will insure it won’t be as prompt. Consider your family standing beside the ashes of what used to be your house without money, credit cards, car keys, phone and phone numbers, only the clothing on their backs – would waiting an extra hour or two for help make a difference?

Volunteer Carrie Reilly delivers water and supplies to residents impacted by 2014's Boles Fire in Weed, CA.
Volunteer Carrie Reilly delivers water and supplies to residents impacted by 2014’s Boles Fire in Weed, CA.

You can make a difference by volunteering with the American Red Cross. We’ll find the position that appeals to you and allows you to use your skills and talents. Requirements are few: 18 or over, retired or with a flexible work/school schedule. We do require a background check of all our volunteers, We do this to ensure both our volunteers and clients have a positive interaction with the Red Cross .

We have several areas where you can get involved, from communications/public affairs to disaster response and recovery, fundraising, preparing the community for a disaster and general administrative support. For more information or to sign up visit: www.redcross.org/GoldCountry.

Sign up for the Team Red Cross App, which allows you to sign up to help, get an overview of basic tasks and receive notifications about Red Cross disaster volunteer opportunities in your community.

Red Cross “Home Fire Preparedness Campaign” – A Volunteer Experience

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From Heath Wakelee – Red Cross Volunteer

I have been a Red Cross volunteers for a number of years and are part of a Disaster Action Team that responds to calls to assist clients after a home fire. None of those calls are easy to experience, especially when there are major burn injuries and/or loss of life (human or pets.)

But a few weekends ago, I received a request to be more proactive in our Red Cross preparedness mission and to work with some outstanding young people.  The thought of preventing burns and suffering was even stronger than my desire to assist someone who had just experienced a home fire.

If I had it within my power to assist someone to get out of a burning home filling with smoke and fire, that would be forever rewarding.

Home fires are American’s biggest disaster threat. Every day the Red Cross helps people affected by more than 200 home fires. More than 90 percent of the 70,000 disasters the Red Cross respond to each year are fire related. Unlike other disasters, most home fires can be prevented. So, the Red Cross is committed to helping people understand how they can prevent home fires and protect themselves should they experience a fire.

The outstanding young people were volunteers with FEMA.  Many giving up school or delaying careers to help others.  It truly gives you faith in the future that not all of our youth are misguided.  The crew that I worked with is hardworking, bright-eyed and sincerely interested in preventing human suffering.

So what were we doing that day?  Going door-to-door asking for permission to check residents smoke alarms, to install free batteries if needed, to install free smoke alarms where needed and to install free carbon monoxide detectors.

Too often we entered a home to find the smoke alarm bracket in place, but the smoke alarm had been removed.  Other homes needed batteries replaced and while our installation team moved quickly, others educated the homeowner about being prepared in the event the family needed to evacuate quickly.

In the Gold Country Region have had success with this nationwide campaign.

  • Smoke detectors installed – 1,131
  • Emergency plans developed – 781
  • CO Monitors installed – 436
  • Batteries replaced – 339
  • Homes canvassed – 2,190

We have a lot of volunteer opportunities in the Red Cross and few are as rewarding as preventing suffering.  So keep current in your CPR training and I hope to work with you on a future preparedness event.

Six Red Cross Tips to Stay Safe When Temperatures Soar

Hydrate Sacramento, CA, Friday, June 12, 2015 — Dangerously hot weather is predicted for the Gold Country Region, and the American Red Cross wants to remind everyone of the steps they should take to stay safe when the temperatures rise.

“High temperatures, humidity and hot, indoor environments can quickly cause heat-related emergencies,” said Lilly Wyatt, Spokesperson for the Red Cross Gold Country Region. “Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

HeatGuyThe Red Cross has some simple steps to help beat the heat:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. The temperature inside can reach a dangerous level within a few minutes.
  • Slow down, take frequent breaks and drink more water than usual – even if you’re not thirsty.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • If working outdoors, take frequent breaks and use the buddy system.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • If possible, bring animals inside. If not, frequently check to ensure they are comfortable and have water and a shady place to rest.

LEARN MORE The free Red Cross Emergency App provides instant access to expert heat safety tips. Users also have the option of receiving alerts for excessive heat watches, warnings and heat advisories. The Red Cross Pet First Aid App has steps pet owners should take to help keep their furry friends safe during hot weather. People can find the apps in their app store by searching for American Red Cross and at redcross.org/apps.

People can learn how to prevent and respond to heat-related and other emergencies by taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED or Advance Child Care Training course. A variety of online and in-class options are available. Course and registration information is available at redcross.org/takeaclass.

And also … don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

The Need is Greater

Our Red Cross Disaster Response team responded to an apartment fire in South Sacramento. 8 units in an apartment complex were damaged, to varying degrees, by an arson-caused fire.

8 other units lost power for several hours. 1 client, who is 8 months pregnant, narrowly escaped the fire and was hospitalized with fire-caused complications to her pregnancy.

Out DAT teams need your help! Sign up to volunteer to respond to these type of incidents!

We are there in every disaster whether big or small and 90% of our response is to home fires! Help us continue to help others.

Sign up to volunteer at http://www.redcross.org/ca/sacramento/volunteer.

Facts about the Red Cross Response in Haiti

Many of you have been calling, emailing or sending messages via social media regarding an article that was published by ProPublica about our relief efforts in Haiti..

First of all, we want to thank all of you for your generosity! Almost five and a half years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the American Red Cross continues to make a difference in the lives of millions of Haitians who desperately needed help and humanitarian assistance.

With the fund, the American Red Cross has helped build and operate eight hospitals and clinics, stem a deadly cholera outbreak, provide clean water and sanitation, and move more than 100,000 people out of make-shift tents into safe and improved housing. When land was not available for new homes, the Red Cross provided a range of housing solutions including rental subsidies, repairs and retrofitting of existing structures, fulfilling our promise to ensure tens of thousands of Haitians are back in homes. We also built and repaired schools, roadways and water distribution points vital to neighborhoods.

Despite the most challenging conditions, including changes in government, lack of land for housing, and civil unrest, our hardworking staff—90 percent of whom are Haitians—continue to work to meet the long-term needs of the Haitian people. While the pace of progress is never as fast as we would like, Haiti is better off today than it was five years ago.

The Red Cross is disappointed to see our work has been misrepresented in some media so please learn the facts about our recovery program in Haiti and to hear from those we have helped and continue to help, please visit www.redcross.org/haiti.  Also, be sure to read “The Real Story of the 6 Homes in Haiti: Answering Your Questions”, this piece was written by David Meltzer, Chief International Officer of the American Red Cross. He has traveled to Haiti more than 20 times—both before and after the earthquake— including in the days after the disaster struck.

While the Red Cross has fulfilled our promise to make sure tens of thousands of Haitians are back in homes. There is still much to do.

For 134 years, the American Red Cross has been there to help people in need; and we will still be there for the next disaster or emergency to help people here in the Gold Country Region and in other areas around the world.

Thank you for your ongoing support of your American Red Cross Gold Country Region.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Weis
CEO
American Red Cross Gold Country Region

The following 13 Facts about the Red Cross Response in Haiti addresses the numerous inaccuracies in recent media reports.

Myth: The American Red Cross never had a final plan for its work in Haiti.

Fact:
The Red Cross began our long term planning shortly after the earthquake. Within the first year we had a working plan that established six strategic priorities and added a seventh:

1. Emergency relief

2. Shelter

3. Health

4. Water and sanitation

5. Livelihoods

6. Disaster preparedness

7. Cholera prevention

Haiti is a complex place to work and because of that we needed to adjust and improve the plan to address the changing environment and challenges.

Example: When we could not secure land to provide new housing, we focused on safe housing with a wide spectrum of choices, not a one-size-fits all plan (rental subsidies, repairs and retrofitting of existing homes, as well as teaching people how to repair their homes).

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Myth: Internal issues delayed services.

• Staff turnover

• Lack of planning

• Poor relationships withpartners

Fact: False.

• We have worked effectively, leveraging the capacity and specific skillsets of 47 partners to extend our reach and serve a spectrum of needs simultaneously.

• Staff turnover was relatively low and, as we understand, consistent with other NGOs in Haiti.

• The Red Cross continuously responded to changing circumstances by adapting our plan and remaining responsive to emerging and evolving needs.

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Myth: Red Cross service delivery statistics are misleading.

Fact:
• 4.5 million people have been helped through our disease prevention programs.

That’s the most conservative estimate of people assisted.

• Many who received help through disease prevention programs also benefited from multiple Red Cross services such as housing, job training, and access to clean water, but we only count them once.

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Myth: Details of Red Cross spending are so broad as to be useless.

Fact:
The Red Cross reports annually how we spend donor dollars on our website and break it down according to sector. We raised $488 million for our work in Haiti and here is how our spent and committed funds have been allocated:

• Emergency relief: $66 million

• Shelter: $173 million

• Health: $73 million

• Water and sanitation: $47 million

• Livelihoods: $48 million

• Disaster preparedness: $56 million

• Cholera prevention: $25 million

____________________

Myth: The Red Cross takes overhead, then grants money to partners who also take overhead.

Fact:
91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends goes to our humanitarian programs and services.

• We partner with organizations that also keep their expenses low.

• It is more cost effective to rely on the expertise of partners than if we tried to build and staff these programs from scratch.

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Myth: The Red Cross gave donor dollars to the U.S. government.

Fact:
It is rare that we would grant money to a government agency, but in this case we pooled funds with the U.S. Agency for International Development – which assesses no overhead – each bringing our expertise and strengths to the project.

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Myth: The Red Cross president promised to provide tens of thousands of people with permanent homes but only built six new homes.

Fact:
• The Red Cross has provided more than 132,000 people with safe and durable housing, through a variety of methods.

• Often, the fastest and most efficient way to get people into safer homes is through rental subsidies, or repairs and/or retrofitting of existing homes.

• We also build and repair infrastructure that is vital to neighborhood recovery – like schools, roadways and water distribution points.

• The bottom line is that there hasn’t been sufficient land available to build new homes – particularly in the most heavily affected areas of Port-au-Prince where people want to live.

• Haitians don’t want to leave the neighborhoods where they lived, worked and went to school before the earthquake.

• Red Cross has fulfilled our promise to make sure tens of thousands of Haitians are back in homes.

____________________

Myth: The Red Cross calls temporary, or t-shelters, permanent homes.

Fact:
False.

In no place has the Red Cross called a t-shelter a permanent home. We consistently refer to the range of housing solutions that the Red Cross has offered in Haiti to provide people safe housing.

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Myth: The cholera program had severe delays getting off the ground, despite Gail McGovern’s statement that Red Cross “sprang into action.”

Fact:
False.

• Within 72 hours of the announcement of the cholera outbreak, teams of Haitian Red Cross volunteers were providing cholera prevention training in camps and staff members were sent to the epicenter of the epidemic to help respond.

• Within five days, tens of thousands of pounds of cholera relief supplies were airlifted.

• We have also provided most of the funding for a first-ever cholera vaccine in Haiti, and $47 million for projects to provide clean water.

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Myth: The Red Cross didn’t hire enough Haitians on staff, relying heavily on expensive “expat” staff.

Fact:
Wrong.

• Since the beginning of our earthquake recovery program, more than 90 percent of our staff has been Haitian.

• Red Cross does not tolerate prejudice of any kind and took steps to train people in cultural sensitivity.

• The American Red Cross has hired some international staff with expertise in major disaster recovery and their benefit package is in line with the international humanitarian sector.

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Myth: The Red Cross misled residents of LAMIKA by not telling them how much money would be spent there and not fulfilling promises of new homes.

Fact:
• We worked very closely with community residents in LAMIKA to keep them informed of plans and budgets, and got their input to decide how to spend funds in their neighborhoods.

• We initially budgeted for 700 houses to be repaired, retrofitted or built, but we adapted and responded to the fact that clear title to land in the LAMIKA community could ultimately not be obtained.

• Additionally, residents gave a higher priority to other needs such as roads and pathways, jobs, schools, etc., so we invested in shared community assets such as road, sidewalk, drainage and school construction.

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Myth: Sources in the Red Cross say that 24 cents of every dollar donated for international programs goes to overhead – not 9 cents.

Fact:
As with every dollar the Red Cross spends, an average of 91 cents goes to our humanitarian programs and services and only 9 cents to management, general and fundraising.

____________________

Myth: The Red Cross declined to show us projects in Haiti.

Fact:
• The Red Cross often arranges interviews for U.S. based media when they are visiting Haiti.

• Other media outlets routinely provide us with several days of notice before visiting because they understand that our staff members have to stop their work to accommodate journalists.

• We denied the request of ProPublica and NPR after they showed up in Haiti without making arrangements ahead of time.

Honoring Everyday Individuals doing Extraordinary Acts of Courage

On Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 7:15am, the American Red Cross Gold Country Region gathered to honor these outstanding 15 individuals from the Stanislaus and Tuolumne Counties who have taken action in a time of crisis to help others. The American Red Cross is a community leader in emergency preparedness, prevention and response, and this celebration was to exalt courage and good news .

Just like athlete Arthur Ashe says: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” These 15 individuals are honored as “Real Heroes” for their service to others, be it an act that saves a life in peril or a history of helping people in need of assistance.

American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast 2015
Animal Rescue Hero Niki Schiveley

Animal Rescue: Niki Schiveley

Niki has organized pet food drop-off events including “Santa’s Paws,” that resulted in thousands of pounds of dog food, pet supplies and cash donations for area animal shelters. Her love for animals has also led to ‘Brownies Wish’, a non-profit organization that finds families for homeless animals. She also juggles single parenthood, pre-med studies with a 4.0 GPA, and performs volunteer work at Memorial Medical Center.

Good Samaritan (Adult):  Cody Lamonte and Joel Deering

American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast 2015
Good Samaritan Hero Cody Lamonte
American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast 2015
Good Samaritan Hero Joel Deering

Without pausing to consider the danger to their own lives, these two friends sprang to the aid of a stranger who fell off a 70-foot cliff and into the ocean to save a man who had fallen from a cliff in Point Reyes.

Good Samaritan (Adult):  Jim Moore (no picture)

Truck driver Jim Moore was driving his big rig along Garberville Highway when he witnessed a SUV swerve over the middle line and hit a big rig truck head on. Jim ran to the SUV but found the driver had died on impact. Then he heard a woman screaming for help from the cab of the big rig. The truck was on fire and the woman was trapped inside. Jim broke the glass on the door and reached in and pulled the woman out. In only a matter of seconds, the cab and the truck were engulfed in flames. Jim stayed at the scene until the highway patrol arrived.

Good Samaritan Senior Hero: Lonny Davis
Good Samaritan Senior Hero Lonny Davis

Good Samaritan (Senior):  Lonny Davis

Lonny Davis provides mobility and dignity to the disabled poor by collecting and distributing used wheelchairs. Lonny and a cadre of dedicated volunteers have coordinated over 25 seating clinics in dozens of developing countries, with over 5,000 of the disabled poor receiving specially fitted wheelchairs.

OfficersMusto and Koehler
Law Enforcement Heroes Officers Todd Musto and Caelli Koehler

Law Enforcement:   Officers Todd Musto and Caelli Koehler

Officers Musto and Koehler were working as members of a Community Response Team when a call was received of a subject down at a local park. When they arrived and saw a transient gentleman lying on the floor unresponsive, CPR was performed without hesitation to subsequently save this individual’s life.

Medical Professional:  Dr. Larry Abel

Dr. Able has provided hope, help and healing to many veterans. Since he also carries combat related PTSD and moral wounds from war, he is able to empathize and provide assistance to men and women who have experienced the traumas and horrors of combat that can take years and often decades to work through.

MikeStavrakakis
Military Veteran Hero Mike Stavrakakis

Military (Veteran):  Mike Stavrakakis

Mike, an 87-year-old veteran who served in both the Korean War and during the Cuban Missile Crisis, still serves his country in retirement. Several years ago he noticed there was little reading material at the VA clinics. He began collecting books and magazines to distribute to veterans’ hospitals and clinics throughout Northern California. This has grown to include videos, toiletries, DVDs and even hand-knitted lap robes for wheelchair-bound wounded vets. His dedication to his fellow veterans has resulted in over 40,000 items delivered throughout the area.

OfficersMiguelandWaytt
Professional Rescuer Heroes: Officer Jesse Miguel and Jason Wyatt

Professional Rescuer:  Officers Jesse Miguel and Jason Wyatt

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority are home fires. Officers Miguel and Wyatt bravely entered a burning home and rescued two people from a second story home.

DonTetrick
Workplace Hero Don Tetrick
MarlaWoody
Workplace Hero Marla Woody

Workplace:  Don Tetrick and Marla Woody

Hughson High School sophomore Andrew Jolliff will be forever grateful to his teachers Mr. Tetrick and Ms. Woody. Andrew’s teachers jumped into action and performed CPR when they noticed that Andrew was having seizures and not breathing. Most people can’t administer chest compressions longer than two minutes, but Tetrick soldiered on for more than five! Both teachers were by Andrew’s side when emergency crews arrived and were able to bring Andrew back.

Spirit of the Red Cross Sandy Sandville
Spirit of the Red Cross Sandy Sandville

Spirit of the Red Cross:  Sandy Sanville

Sandy Sanville exemplifies the spirit of the Red Cross in her everyday life. In her professional life she is a registered nurse. But in her commitment to helping, educating and comforting both friends and strangers, she is truly a friend in need. Friends with sick children, ailing parents or medical emergencies know that Sandy can be relied on day or night.

Hero of the Year Jon Gianelli
Hero of the Year Jon Gianelli

Hero of the Year: Jon Gianelli

After five months of dialysis, Michelle Obeso-Theus needed a new kidney. Fortunately, Jon Gianelli, a distant family member whom she did not know, wanted to give one. While Jon underwent six months of testing, the two kept in touch via Facebook. They finally met during his three days of testing at UCLA. Jon was approved to be a donor, but unfortunately he and Michelle were not a match. Instead, they were entered into a kidney exchange program, where Jon’s kidney went to someone else and Michelle received a kidney from another donor—all on the same day, October 14, 2014. Post-surgery, Jon hobbled over to Michelle’s bed in the recovery room to make sure she was OK. “I couldn’t imagine how in the world he walked only a few hours after having a kidney removed because I was in extreme pain,” she said. Throughout the six-week recovery period , Jon was Michelle’s motivation. Michelle reflects on life and how her quality of life would be so terrible if Jon hadn’t been willing to help a stranger and save her life. “Gratitude is a memory of the heart,” says Michelle, “and forever and always will my heart feel appreciation for Jon and his amazing family for being the real heroes and allowing me a second chance at life.”

Photos of this amazing event can be found on our Flickr page!

Do you have a hero in your life? Contact us and nominate them for next year’s event! Lilly Wyatt at 916-993-7084 or Lilly.Wyatt@redcross.org