Friday, March 26, 2010

Latest Red Cross E-News Update!

An American Red Cross Client as a Child, a Volunteer as an Adult

By Mary Burchett

Eric Kiltz was 14 years old when he watched his house burn down. The house his family was renting in Central Kansas caught on fire due to faulty electrical wiring one chilly October afternoon. When the flames started to rise, he ran to get a bucket of water. After throwing it on the fire to no avail, he decided he needed to get out and get help. He went to a neighbor’s house to call 911. Soon, he saw an American Red Cross emergency response vehicle pulling up to his house.

Eric, who had no idea what the Red Cross did, was home alone at the time and remembered, “This lady came up and put a blanket around me.” The lady was with the Red Cross and gave him and his family vouchers for food, clothing and shelter. “The fire pretty much gutted our entire house,” Eric said. Without renter’s insurance, his family was left with nothing.

Now some 13 years later, Eric is a volunteer at the Red Cross in Utah. Because of the help he received, Eric wants to give back, “I always wanted to volunteer with the Red Cross. A year and half ago I finally said, ‘What have I been waiting for?’” Eric currently volunteers at First Aid Stations, occasionally teaches CPR and helps educate the community about disaster preparedness. Recently he has helped around the chapter with a telethon for Haiti, and with the Day on the Hill event. He is so grateful for the help and support the Red Cross gave to him, and he feels volunteering is a great way to say thanks and to give back.

Haiti and the Economy Bring Dramatic Influx of Volunteers
By Kellie Mieremet

After the devastating earthquake hit Haiti this January, the response from our community to help was inspiring. The Office of Volunteers was buzzing with calls from people wanting to help.

During times of disasters there is usually a surge in spontaneous volunteers. When people called during those first few weeks after the earthquake they were hoping we could send them overseas. We had to tell them we could not send them. However, we encouraged everyone to get trained and registered with the American Red Cross so that they could respond in future disasters, first locally and then nationally. The response was tremendous. In fact, from January 13 to February 17 we received 200 new volunteer applications! We love new volunteers!

About 90 of our new volunteers have already attended a New Volunteer Orientation. More than 35 have already started training for disaster services, have helped out in the office on a weekly basis, or have started taking classes to become certified Red Cross Instructors.

Many of the 200 new volunteers came to us due to the devastation overseas. But, the economoy has played a role as well. With recent unemployment rates, we are seeing individuals who want to be useful and productive while they are not working. Baby Boomers who have recently retired are also looking for ways to actively fill their days. Finally, the government and corporate world are encouraging volunteerism. President Barack Obama has issued a call for individuals to serve their communities. Disney is encouraging volunteerism through its service program, Give a Day. Get a Disney Day.

About 96% of the work of the Red Cross is performed by volunteers, so whatever the reason, we welcome all of our volunteers, old and new.

Disaster Services

Two Gunmen Wreak Havoc in Salt Lake City -- We Have Mass Casualties and Three Dead People are in our Reception Center!

Whew, It’s a Drill!

At a recent drill organized by Salt Lake City Police, 51 Red Cross volunteers and staff participated. The ARES radio team participated as well. The drill scenario was a multiple gunman shootout on TRAX with mass casualties, injuries and an evacuation. The Red Cross offered support with a canteen for emergency responders and a reception center that received up to 60 people.
(OMG! Three of those people were dead on arrival.)

"We had volunteers at many locations including the Red Cross Emergency Operations Center at the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter, the Reception Center, on scene with an Emergency Response Vehicle for the canteen, the Salt Lake City Police and Fire Incident Command and the Joint Information Center. Through our work in all of these areas, we coordinated our response, gave assistance to those affected by the disaster, delivered food and water to emergency personnel, and worked with the 19 other agencies involved in order to gather and share information." – Kaylan Malm, Disaster Vice Chair

Good News in Tooele

The Chapter now has a Disaster Action Team (DAT) in Tooele. Jeff Shoemaker, an experienced Red Cross volunteer from Virginia, has taken on the role of DAT lead. He is working with Larry Russon, our very dedicated local chapter volunteer, to organize and promote the Red Cross in Tooele County. They will be contacting and organizing current volunteers in Tooele County and will be reaching out to the community to recruit and train additional volunteers. It was serendipitous that the day after DAT supplies were signed out to Jeff, he was sent to respond to a local fire. Great timing! This is a most welcome addition to our chapter.

Mary Matthiessen, a 19-year Red Crosser, Makes a Move
By Kara Taggart

With much appreciation, we say goodbye to Mary Matthiessen who will be leaving the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter at the end of the month. She has accepted a position as Senior Manager of Preparedness at the American Red Cross Heartland Chapter in Omaha, Nebraska.

Mary has been a part of the American Red Cross team since 1991. Mary started her career working in Alaska and Michigan, both in Health & Safety and Emergency Prevention Education roles. She then became the Health and Safety Director for the Cornhusker Chapter in Lincoln, Nebraska for seven years, and then moved onto be the Health & Safety Business Capacity Development Sr. Associate for the West Service Area in Las Vegas for four years before she came to Salt Lake. She has been the Health and Safety Director for the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter since January of 2008. Her experience and expertise in the organization has prepared thousands of people in Utah.

We would like to take the time to thank Mary for her hard work and influence in the state of Utah. She will be returning to her husband’s home state of Nebraska the first week of April. Her warm smile and laugh will be missed by her fellow coworkers, volunteers and friends. We are excited for her and wish her the very best in her new adventure. Thank you Mary for all you did for the chapter, you will surely be missed!

Fundraising News!

Disaster Fundraising

By Neva Baker

In the aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake there has been an unprecedented outpouring of financial support from individuals and groups throughout the state of Utah. To date, Utahns have generously opened their hearts, wallets and pockets to provide financial assistance to the largest international Red Cross humanitarian relief effort since the Tsunami of 2004. Here in Utah, people have reached out with personal donations, as well as supporting fundraisers that have been held by corporations, local schools, grocery stores and food markets, music and dance clubs, and local restaurants. Currently, more than $1 million has been raised in Utah to support relief aid to Haiti, and funds are also being raised for Chile. We express our heartfelt thanks to more than 60 groups who organized outside fundraisers, to corporations who matched employee gifts, to individuals who donated stock and personal funds. Thank you! Thank you for giving of your time, talents, and financial support. Thank you for supporting the mission of the American Red Cross to help provide relief, prevent and prepare individuals and communities for disaster and emergencies.

Heroes 2010

An important part of our mission is to train individuals with the necessary skills to save lives, and help our communities prepare for emergencies. At the Annual Heroes Event, we recognize local heroes who have saved a life or made our community a better place to live. Please visit our website and learn about those wonderful Heroes, like Sgt. 1st Class Brady Johnson, who was prepared with the right equipment and skills to save the life of cyclist Dave Collins. Or the youth from South Jordan who came to the rescue of their classmate in an emergency at a swimming pool. This year, we recognized Paula Green Johnson (pictured) with our Lifetime Achievement Award. Paula has volunteered countless hours in this community, giving of her time, talent, and philanthropic support to help organizations where the need is greatest. Enjoy learning about these heroes, check out their stories and videos, click here.

As always, we need your help to support our mission. Take a class, be prepared, volunteer and donate to support your local Red Cross.

Take A Class
Be Prepared

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