CPR In High School Legislation Passes First Committee

Sacramento, CA, (Wednesday, April 6, 2016) – Today, the Assembly Education Committee approved Assembly Bill 1719, authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D – Chino) on a 6-0 vote. The measure stands to create a generation of lifesavers by ensuring high school students learn CPR before they graduate high school.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States yet too few people know how to perform CPR,” says Gary Strong, CEO of the American Red Cross Gold Country Region. “Our lawmakers have a bill before them that could create a generation of lifesavers by requiring hands-on CPR training before high school graduation. We support AB 1719 as it will better prepare our students; therefore, build prepared communities.”


Nearly 326,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside the hospital each year, and sadly, only 10 percent survive. In addition, a recent study by the National Institutes of Health shows CPR to be effective in children and adolescents who suffer from non-traumatic cardiac arrest due to drowning, electrocution, or choking. Despite these statistics, 70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac or drowning emergency because they do not know how to perform CPR.  Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

pictures of the 4 new commissioners
Assembly member Freddie Rodriguez (District 52)

“CPR is one of the most important life skills a person can have,” said Rodriguez. “By teaching CPR in high school, we are sending students into the world with essential, life-saving skills.”

Under AB 1719, school districts would be required to teach hands-only CPR in any required high school course, such as P.E. or Health. The bill is co-sponsored by the American Red Cross and American Heart Association who have led the effort to pass similar legislation in 27 other states.

“The American Heart Association’s goal is to teach lifesaving CPR skills to as many teens and young adults as possible in California to help keep our communities safer, year after year,” said Dr. Franklin Pratt, medical director of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “Having a new generation of lifesavers will deliver an increased amount of safety and security to all of our communities.”


Assemblymember Rodriguez is Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Local Emergency Preparedness, and Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.  He represents the 52nd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona and portions of unincorporated Fontana

The BASH 2016 – A Night to Remember

By Amy Magallanes, Public Affairs Volunteer

IMG_3865The first annual BASH benefit – A salute to service, took place on Saturday April 2nd, 2016.  Inspired by the TV series MASH, the McClellan conference center whisked the guests away to another era.  Military Jeep escorts to and from the building, dog tag souvenirs, and the Peter Petty Orchestra set the scene for an evening dedicated to celebrate and honor the military and the important work of the Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program in the Gold Country Region.

The Red Cross SAF program has served more than one- million military families since 9/11,  helping them prepare for, cope with, and respond to the trials of military service.

Close to 300 guests came together to honor three local Korean War veterans. LTC Robert Burns, Richard Austin, and John Murphree Lowery; as well as Susan Savage, who received the Spirit of Tiffany award for her philanthropic work in the Sacramento region.

IMG_7214Events like these have a hand in getting the word out to those who can help. LTC Robert Burns stood in service to our country during three wars, he enjoyed the evening with his wife Beverly, “many Korean War veterans have been forgotten,” said Robert Burns.  His work with the Elks lodge, in conjunction with the Red Cross, spreads awareness to our community, as well as to those veterans unaware of the resources these organizations provide.

“We hope to create an event that is accessible to everyone in our community, in a fun, loose, and open environment,” explained Gary Strong, CEO of the American Red Cross Gold Country Region. This expands the neighborhood of people dedicated to honoring the men and women who have, and continue to protect our country.

IMG_6845Guests went to great lengths to pay tribute to the MASH inspired theme. Jeffery and Eleanor Snively took this very seriously, researching costumes to procure an accurate “Hawkeye” character. He and his two sons, who serve in the Army, are passionate about spreading the word, “people are forgetting,” said Jeffery Snively, BASH attendee. Jeffery and Eleanor’s attendance tonight is indeed an example that he and his family are breathing life into the SAF program. With the table set for one on the stage, in memory of those who didn’t return home from battle, the guests reflected on how important the work of revering those who endured the greatest sacrifices are to this great nation.

In compliment to the lovely evening, David Sobon led the auction, where attendee Dennis Smith bid and won, ‘Sutter’s Gold’, a painting by artist Greg Kondos. His father was stationed at McClellan, his mother worked on base as well. He was led to bid, as if completing a circle, started by the contributions his parents made. His enormous smile indicated his wish to honor them, and all those who serve, has been granted.

IMG_7068Much like the TV show in which was revived at the event, the stories of those who lived to tell the tale of the Korean War, remind us that we can all be called to honor those who valiantly pledge to protect our country. Volunteer. Donate. Spread the word. The SAF and the American Red Cross provide a platform, which allow us to appreciate, in whichever way we can, the men, women, and families, of our military, so no one is ever forgotten.

Check out all the fun we had at The BASH 2016 on our Flickr page.


 Fito & The Red Cross:  A Lifelong Adventure

A conversation with Fito Ruano, Red Cross Volunteer

By Jesus Sanchez, Public Affairs Volunteer

First aid responce
Fito joined the Red Cross more than 40 years ago in his native       El Salvador.

There was civil war in El Salvador in 1984. Soldiers were everywhere trying to recruit men to fight, “I was 15 years old and I didn’t want to kill people,” said Fito siting at a table in a local coffee shop in Turlock.

I asked Fito how he came to be a Red Cross volunteer, he told me how one day he was recruited by the state National Army and put on a truck en-route to an army base… “So what I did, as we were passing the market… I jumped out of the (army) truck and I ran to the Red Cross.” He hoped they could help.

“The soldiers chased me through the market to the Red Cross. When I got there, my friend, told the soldiers not to take me or he would call the international Red Cross.”

A few days later, he returned to the Red Cross and asked the workers how he could join.

The Red Cross continued to save Fito from joining the army, in one occasion Red Cross workers went into the army base to get him back when they found out he had been taken.  That was more than 30 years ago and Fito, now 47, continues to volunteer for the Red Cross.

The Red Cross in El Salvador or Cruz Roja Salvadoreña is very involved with the community. As one of the most important pre-hospital services in the country, the organization responds to everyday accidents as well as large scale disasters. In those days, the civil war between government guerrillas and paramilitary forces together with high levels of poverty throughout the country resulted in a dire need for Red Cross services. Fito saw the need and recognized the opportunities to help within the organization.

Search and rescue training
Fito Search and Rescue training with         Cruz Roja Salvadoreña

Over the next couple of years he received training, becoming certified in first response as well as Search & Rescue.

As Fito showed me old photographs of his early days volunteering with the Red Cross, he admits: “there are happy times and there are sad times with the Red Cross.” Some of those sad times where the loss of fellow volunteers to the war. “Wearing a Red Cross t-shirt or logo doesn’t mean bullets aren’t going through your body,” explained Fito.

Ultimately it was this chronic violence and the lack of opportunities in his homeland that took Mr. Ruano to move to the United States in 1989.

Fito is energetic and speaks a slightly accented English. He is quick to smile and a conversation with him reveals a profound commitment to the welfare of others. A commitment he developed as a young man and one that would positively affect those around him time after time. He recalls how he jumped into action on October 17, 1989.  He was in San Francisco when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook the city.

Fito used his Red Cross training in Search and Rescue, joined rescue teams and helped those trapped in the rubble.

I first met Fito at a community outreach event where I handed out Red Cross pins and toy ambulances to kids while he educated parents on disaster preparedness and first aid. He’s also a part of the Disaster Action Team (DAT) and helps teach courses for the Red Cross Modesto office.

Red Cross Identification

Fito enjoys teaching what he’s learned over the years as a volunteer and shared how he is now a local celebrity guest on Spanish Radio shows in the area. His hope is to energize the Latino community to get involved and develop their emergency plan in case of a disaster.

Fito has been involved in responding to many national disasters including Hurricane Katrina. He is a visible figure within the Red Cross and his efforts have been recognized. Fito appreciates the recognition, but explains that Red Cross volunteers do what they do because they love it. He added that the presence of the Red Cross in his life during hard times has made a lasting impact that he hopes to pay forward. “I will be with the Red Cross for as long as I live, I’m not planning to retire from volunteering.”


Six Month Update on Recovery for the Butte Wildfire

As you know, our friends and neighbors in Amador and Calaveras counties endured a relentless series of devastating wildfires this past summer. Today, our work continues, where Red Cross staff and volunteers continue to collaborate to ensure residents have the extra assistance they need to rebuild, not just as individuals but as a whole community, too.

Click HERE to read a six-month Stewardship Report that provides a first-hand look at your generously donated dollars at work, detailing our continued support and recovery efforts in the community.

Thank you for your support and commitment to help those affected by these wildfires. Your generosity makes the hope of recovery possible at a time when people need it the most.

Gary Strong, CEO American Red Cross Gold Country Region

Below is a video that resumes our work over the last six months.

Donor Spotlight – McDonald’s Mother Lode Bringing out the pies to help families of the Butte Fire.


It has been a little over five months since the Butte Fire ravaged through the hills and neighborhoods of Calaveras and Amador counties. While those communities continue their recovery process, community members and businesses like McDonalds in the Mother Lode are still gathering the donations they received from their customers.

When the fire erupted that September 9 last year, Dennis Graspointner, McDonald’s owner/operator of the store in the Mother Lode called his local Red Cross to offer support.

He gathered his team of employees and his supervisor Ron Richards to come up with a unique fundraiser to assist those affected by the wildfire.

Mc Donald’s Mother Lode Team – Owner/operator Dennis Graspointer is in the middle and supervisor Ron Richards is to the far right. 

They thought…  “What is America’s favorite thing?” The All American Apple Pie, of course! Therefore, they kicked off a campaign where all proceeds from the purchase of pies would benefit the fire victims of the California Wildfires.

As soon as the campaign began, it was a hit in the community.

“Customers came by just for the pies, to help their friends and neighbors who had been evacuated,” says Dennis Graspointer.

Five months later, Liza Cruz, one of our major gift officers went by the store to say hello and to find out how the drive was going. “When I arrived the employees were so happy to have Red Cross there,” smiles Liza. “I was honored to be with such compassionate people.”

The pie sales raised more than $6000 dollars!

“McDonald’s is proud to be able to help, we benefited from the generosity of the customers, and they bought large quantities of pies, so thank you!” exclaimed Dennis.

The American Red Cross was able to help residents in Amador and Calaveras affected by the Butte Fire. Thanks to your generous support, we were able to:

  • Open 5 shelters providing over 1,750 overnight stays;
  • Serve more than 33, 000 meals and snacks;
  • Hand out 23,500 relief items, like comfort kits and clean up kits containing shovels, gloves and more;
  • And open 430 cases to provide one-on-one support to residents.

But, that’s not all; we continue to be in Calaveras and Amador counties to offer assistance to those affected by the fire with the recovery team “Calaveras Recovers.”


Another Home Fire Campaign Success

The American Red Cross Gold Country Region volunteers, partners and ‘small’ staff are getting really good at this: the Home Fire Campaign.

This past Saturday, January 16, teams of volunteers went out to canvass neighborhoods in Woodland and Roseville to install smoke alarms and educate residents on their fire escape plan.

In Sacramento, our volunteers went out to homes that had made prior appointments for these installations. We had so much success during the event in December that people called our offices non-stop requesting smoke alarms!! Which is awesome by the way.

Well, without further ado, we want to share our success with you:

  • 58 installs in Woodland (Team Michelle and Daryl)
  • 39 in Sacramento (Team Patricia—-Scheduled appointments mostly—only 2 teams involved)
  • 96 in Roseville (Team Tami—Great coordination with Roseville fire)
  • Total for Smoke Alarms—193—Other numbers to follow……


A good day all the way around!

Check out all the pictures from this weekend’s effort, visit our Flickr Album:  http://rdcrss.org/1J1CgFw .

Red Cross Heroes Coming Up | Would You Help us Cheer

heroes girl

15th Annual Heroes Awards Luncheon
Inspiring Stories of Kindness and Courage

Friday January, 22, 2016 –  11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Woodland Community Center

 The Annual Red Cross Hero Recognition events are always a great way to kick off a brand new year. Recognizing the goodness of people in our community motivates us and we want to continue to inspire our communities.

Join us this coming Friday, January 22 as we will gather to honor community members from El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo Counties who have performed extraordinary acts of courage.

As you might remember, this annual event pays special tribute to local everyday heroes who have gone above and beyond, performing heroic acts and rising to the occasion to help those in need. This year’s honorees were nominated by members of the community for such selfless deeds as saving lives, performing First Aid/CPR, providing support to military veterans, and much more.  Here are the names of the people we will be recognizing this year and what they did to deserve such praise.

Adult Good Samaritan

  • Dennis Dwyre, Eric Paulson (Davis) – Dennis and Eric prevented a tragedy during a basketball game they were getting ready to play. They performed CPR to save the life of a fellow teammate.
  • Ivan Romero, Jr (Roseville) – Mr. Romero witnessed an accident which caused a vehicle to explode into flames, but Mr. Romero’s quick actions helped save the life of a woman from the burning vehicle.

 First Responder

  • Hector Alvarez (Folsom) – Reserve Police Officer pulled a driver from an engulfed vehicle when on-duty.
  • Paul Grenier, Kevin Shepherd, Tom Borghese (Rocklin Police Dept)- Chelsea Johnson, Natalie Donaldson (AMR) –  Steven Reynolds (Neighbor) (Rocklin)  – Working as a team they helped a Rocklin citizen return to life after he had suffered cardiac arrest.


  • Scott Gallegos (Elk Grove) Scott put his own life on the line during a gun fight, rescuing a woman from flying bullets and taking care of her immediate needs.

Child Good Samaritan

  • Cooper Cochran (Yolo) – A young cancer survivor who donated super hero capes to other children battling cancer with the message “Be Brave.”

Animal Rescue

  • Amy Parkko (Garden Valley) – Rescued a missing dog, helped him receive medical treatment after a traffic injury and helped reunite the miniature Australian Shepard with his family in Oregon.
  • Jeff Wolford and Stanislaus Wiecek (Yolo) – Rescued four horses and two burros from the flames of the Valley wildfire.

Spirit of the Red Cross

  • UC Davis Firefighters Burn Institute (Sacramento) – The entire team is recognized for their care and treatment of the brave men and women who fought the Butte and Valley fires.
  • Theresa Ramos (Sacramento) – After being held hostage at gun-point, Theresa and two of her friends escaped by using a Taser gun on their captor.

 American Red Cross Volunteer Hero

  • Jeremiah Norrell (Placerville) –Jeremiah became a volunteer in late 2014. Since then, he has completed over 50 online and classroom training courses which have equipped him to serve the Disaster Action Team. With the new knowledge he served as Shelter Manager during the Butte Fire in September. Every day, he looks forward to growing even more in his service to others.

Large Business Hero

  • Nugget Markets – Whenever our Region is struck by a large disaster, Nugget Market is among the first to step forward and help by donating cash, food for shelters or supplies. Nugget has also donated pallets of water, gift baskets for events and food for military send-off events.

Small Business Hero

  • DH Construction – a longtime supporter of the Red Cross in our Region, DH Construction makes donations on behalf of their employees, provide comfort kits to families who lose their homes in a fire, and support our special events.

SamShaneEvent Master of Ceremonies is CBS13 Anchor Sam Shane

Proceeds from the luncheon will support the critical disaster relief services provided by the American Red Cross Gold Country Region as well as critical Red Cross training programs which help prepare our community members to respond in times of emergency.

Get your tickets today to help us cheer them: http://bit.ly/RedCrossHeroesLuncheon.
Deadline to purchase tickets is January 15.

As always we’re extra thankful for our event sponsors: AMR, The Daily Democrat, The Kohlmeier Family, Nugget Markets, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Walmart and Wells Fargo.