A Full Circle Moment

Thanks to Fox40 for sharing the work that we do at the American Red Cross and thanks to the Girl Scouts for putting extra love in making the kits.

We would like to share this special ‘full circle moment” that showcases how our work is impacting people every day.

Email from Jennifer Loncaric
Subject: What we do works. 

“I thought you might like this. That’s a note my daughter wrote when she helped make comfort kits with Jasmine a few months ago. The girl holding it was also there helping that day. She is Trina’s (my co-leader) step-daughter. Their house was burnt early Sunday morning after a mortar hit the front porch. We don’t know how long they will be displaced, but the Red Cross visited them today with some help. It’s a beautiful thing to see the joy on her face from something so small in such a tragic time for her family. I am overwhelmed with emotion knowing my girls have had such a local and personal impact.”

Thanks to the kind efforts of local girl scout troops, many families struck by home fires have received useful Red Cross Comfort Kits during such a stressful time in their lives. Jasmine Su an HSS instructor and Girl Scout troop leader helped to create these kits through the help of her troops. Here is a picture of one of her troop members holding a very heartfelt message which was addressed to the family that suffered from the tragedy.

We take much pleasure in sharing this moment to demonstrate the positive support of these young ladies during times of stress.

A Red Cross Mission Moment

Truckee Air Show

Truckee Air Show

We arrived at the Truckee airport to a crisp cool early morning breeze,  setting up our easy – up tent, tables, literature,  color coded spinning wheel & prize selections.

 All routine tasks for a day of “questions & answers” relating to possible disasters in One’s community. The crowds were growing as we began our mission.

The music playing  was of 1930-1940 era. a few patriotic songs and a pledge of allegiance to begin the air show.

What was not routine was the beautiful sky, filled with wonderful sights of aircraft tricks and spins with incredible speed and ear piercing “roaring Jet engines”  that criss- crossed each other and flew  in very close precision formation.

It was thrilling, to say the least. The men and women of the military and civilian pilots alike were the heroes of the day.

I am guessing there were several hundred people in attendance if not a few thousand. We were kept busy most of the day with lots of Kids!  
The Red Cross Volunteers present were : Tami Martin, Beryl Mayne, Larry & Esther Bousquet of Truckee, Calif.

 A very pleasant day was had by all.

image3

 From: Beryl Mayne

In the Eyes of a DAT Volunteer

Photo Credit: Heath Wakelee
Photo Credit: Heath Wakelee

Just when you though that Placer County would NEVER get another DAT call it happened early this morning.

At 1:30 a.m. the phone rang. It was our Disaster Program Manager (DPM) Tami Martin. Poor telephone connection but we finally communicated. I had been deep in sleep so it took me awhile to get dressed – out the door at 1:45 headed for the back hills of Auburn. Tami invited some others to respond and Arry Murphy said yes! OK – we were a team. I was pleased that Arry said yes. She had only limited experience with 901s, even less with CAS2.0 or DCSOps. But, when given a task, she plows ahead and asks good questions. Dependable, reliable, accurate, smiles, laughs, doesn’t take herself too seriously, all great attributes.

At 2:30 a.m. I finally arrived at a very busy scene. Probably 8 fire trucks all with flashing lights were easy to see once I got close to the address. I found the incident Commander and he pointed out one of the occupants (the wife). As is typical the front yard was strewn with household items that the firemen had been able to salvage.

The fire started in the garage of the one story ranch style home then quickly spread to the attic and across the whole home. After the fire reached the other end of the home, where the bedrooms were located, the home had filled with smoke and the smoke alarm finally went off. It certainly saved this family of three plus their four animals (1 dog, 3 cats). By the time the fire department reached this remote home, it was fully engulfed.

Arry and I learned that the family would stay with friends and that they had structural insurance so we provided them with food and clothing allowances plus comfort kits. The 7-year-old daughter was well behaved, but it looked like she would sleep for a week once she finally got into a bed.

We left at 4:00 a.m. with CAC card authorized and the clients very appreciative of our support. My take home… the mother’s smile. Genuine, sincere, caring, grateful. It was a good night.

I fell asleep at 5:30 a.m. after driving home, eating a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and finishing the paperwork.

For other DAT volunteers, if you have not done so already, ask about how to put your availability into DCSOps. If your not in DCSOps we don’t know about your availability. Need help, just ask. PLACER DAT ROCKS!!!

Best Regards, Heath Wakelee American Red Cross Volunteer Placer DAT Team Captain

A Light in the Red Cross Family that will not be Forgotten

Red Cross volunteers are unlike any other. Not only do they help individuals and families when any disaster big or small affects their communities, they also go above and beyond to help in every area of our operations. What makes our volunteers unique is the bond they form amongst other Red Cross volunteers – they become an instant family.

Today, it’s a somber day for our family of volunteers in Modesto and the entire Gold Country region as we said our final good bye’s and recollected the impact one of our own made in our communities.

Our passionately devoted volunteer Debbie Brasher passed away at home peacefully in her sleep. During her celebration of life, it was clear that she touched hundreds of people’s lives. A church full of family and friends recalled her eagerness to serve, passion for volunteering at various organizations and her desire to keep smiling and make other people grin.

Debbie volunteered for the Red Cross in our Modesto office for more than five years. Since her first time she stepped inside the office, she began training, being proactive in projects, taking a leadership role and making things happen.

“Debbie was a hard worker and a treasured volunteer,” said Debbie Calcotte, Disaster Program Manager for the Gold Country Region. “She never said no. She would take the time to do whatever assignment accurately with a smile on her face and a great attitude.”

Mrs. Brasher was involved in Red Cross event coordination for both public events as well as events organized by the chapters. She helped with documenting future shelter locations and was part of a Disaster Action Team. Debbie was deployed to Washington to assist providing food and water to clients affected by the fires a couple of years ago.

Debbie, a long-time Hughson resident began volunteering for our organization after a long career in the California court system first in Alameda County and then in Stanislaus County where she held the positions of Assistant Administrator and most recently, IT Director. She was especially honored of her volunteer work with the American Red Cross and missionary service work in India and Mississippi.

“Debbie was always compassionate towards other volunteers, everything she said was always positive,” recalls Liza Cruz, a Red Cross employee. “She is surely going to be missed.”

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.

Saved by the Smoke Detector

Smoke Detector In the early morning hours on June 2, two homes on Tilden Drive in Roseville were caught on fire. Neighbors spotted smoke coming from the homes and called their local fire department, which arrived shortly after.

Homeowner Jim Meron was asleep when the fire broke out, but his smoke detector’s loud alarm alerted him to danger.

“It’s surreal,” Meron said. “You’re not awake and you can’t believe it’s happening. You’re awestruck. No doubt, no doubt, the smoke detector saved my life.”

The two-alarm fire completely destroyed one of the homes, and the other home was damaged by smoke. Thankfully, everyone made it out safely.

Incidents like this are a clear reminder of why the American Red Cross Gold Country Region is pushing to reduce the number of home fires with the Home Fire Campaign.

The number of residential fire death actually increased by nearly 15% in 2013. Smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half, so the Red Cross is focusing the efforts of our coalition of organizations on installing smoke alarms in homes in some of the most fire-affected neighborhoods around the country.

We’re joining with fire departments and community groups to canvass neighborhoods, install smoke alarms and deliver fire prevention information in places we know have high numbers of fires.

The Red Cross also is asking every household in America to join us in taking the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.

Here are some alarming facts:

  • On average, seven Americans die in home fires every day.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because their batteries are missing, disconnected or dead. Almost one-quarter of smoke alarm failures are due to dead batteries.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all fire deaths happen in homes that have no smoke
    alarms or malfunctioning units.

Our region’s goal was to install 1,000 Smoke detectors in 2014-15, and with help for our local fire departments and volunteers, we have been able to install 1,131! Our other accomplishments include:

-2,190 homes canvased

-781 emergency plans developed

-436 CO monitors installed

-339 batteries in smoke alarms and CO monitors replaced

Round of applause and a big ‘thank you’ goes out to everyone who made this happen.

People can visit redcross.org/GoldCountry to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire and find out the location of local smoke alarm installation event.

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.