Heroes 2015 Musicales = Resounding Success!

On a picture-perfect Saturday, in “wild” Wild Rose, the 8th annual HEROES 2015 Musicales were “over the top” in every conceivable way.  More than 200 guests experienced world-class music, dined on delectable hors d’ oeuvres and refreshments and bid high on 250 silent auction treasures.

May 16th was specially chosen by John and Vicki to celebrate Armed Forces Day.  Vicki’s own father served in World War II and was a 63 yr. member of his local American Legion in rural, northern North Dakota.  Additionally, as strong Red Cross supporters, John and Vicki wanted to also recognize the 110th anniversary of Service to the Armed Forces.

Prior to the first performance, the Wild Rose American Legion Daniel Dopp Post #370 honor guard posted the colors. Later in the afternoon, Kathy Marschman, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Eastern Wisconsin SAF Director, John Kost, spoke.  Spontaneously, well-known Wild Rose native and Korean War veteran, John Jones, spoke about his Red Cross-facilitated trip back home to be at his father’s bedside.

The music was spectacular! The Kat Trio (founded in Ekaterinburg, Russia), Greg Boerner (master blues guitarist/singer), Liam Teague (steel pan virtuoso) and Robert Chappell (multi-instrumentalist/composer)–all thoroughly inspired the audience.

The Musicales began in 2008 as a small concert presented by the Jenks Duo, a grand total of $3,308.39 was raised which purchased a shelter trailer.  This year, an estimated total of $80,000 (cash and in-kind donations) will support disaster education, relief and Service to the Armed Forces in Waushara, Green Lake, Marquette and Waupaca counties

SAVE THE DATE:  HEROES 2016Saturday, April 30th!!  Musicians to be announced later this summer.

May Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy Johnson

Nancy JohnsonCongratulations to Nancy Johnson of Walworth County on being named one of the May 2015 Volunteers of the Month!

Intrigued by disaster response activities and supporting clients affected by disasters, Nancy joined the American Red Cross in early 2005. Nancy explains, “Being a military wife and mother, I have found that volunteering has always made life easier. I began by going into the Racine office once a week and helping wherever necessary. When Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast we began getting clients in Wisconsin, and I worked with getting clients settled in the area. When Rita came six weeks later, I knew I wanted to go and immediately made myself available. I was assigned to Lake Charles and worked with a team doing disaster assessment. The joy of working with clients in need, meeting and sheltering with volunteers from various places in the United States was very fulfilling.”

Since 2006, Nancy has continued to volunteer as a deployment officer. Her nominator, Melisa Myers, of Disaster Staff Services said, “Nancy has been a deployment officer for years now, since becoming one statewide region, deployment officers have been asked to take on other roles, including further developing our national deployment process. Nancy was asked if she would be able to help reach out and talk to returning volunteers from national responses. Nancy was able to help by contacting volunteers and having conversations with them about their experience, current roles, and future roles. With Nancy’s help, we as a region are able to help volunteers feel supported before, during and after a deployment.”

“Staff Service has been my favorite part of working with the American Red Cross. Now that I am unable to travel myself, I feel that being a deployment officer makes me feel just as much a part of the American Red Cross.”

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your talents and time with the American Red Cross!

May Volunteer Spotlight: Jeremy Oswald

Jeremy OswaldCongratulations to Jeremy Oswald on being named one of the May 2015 Volunteers of the Month!

Jeremy joined the American Red Cross in 2007. Jeremy explained, “It was a couple of years after the attacks of 2001 and I wanted to do something that served our country, thinking I would go to hurricane sites. It turns out the help I give is much closer to home, right in my community.”

Jeremy volunteers with the Disaster Action Team in Bayfield and Ashland counties. With very few responders in these areas, Jeremy is always willing to travel and meet with families after a devastating event, typically taking the lead covering calls. Just recently, he assisted six families in Ashland after their apartment was destroyed by a fire.

Jeremy shared his favorite part about volunteering is knowing that what he does helps individuals and families who may not receive support in any other way by being there to get them started on a path to recovery. Jeremy encourages everyone to join as a volunteer of the American Red Cross.

“It is really easy to volunteer and do something that makes a gigantic difference in someone’s life. You may be scared to do it, to take that step into the unknown, but think about the people that may have just lost their home, they have no clothes, its ten degrees below zero, and you hand them a bag with a toothbrush, soap, a towel, and take them somewhere they can finally get warm and feel safe.”

Thank you, Jeremy, for sharing your talents and time with the American Red Cross!

Red Cross Volunteers Inspect Family Homes for Fire Safety

Christopher Balderas’ home now has working smoke alarms and he knows what to do in case of a fire.  Photo Credit: Marci Pelzer

Christopher Balderas’ home now has working smoke alarms and he knows what to do in case of a fire. Photo Credit: Marci Pelzer

When the American Red Cross knocked on Sharmain Balderas’ door Saturday morning, the Racine resident agreed to a friendly fire safety inspection immediately.

In June, the 39-year-old hairdresser and her family survived a house fire caused by a faulty fireplace. The fire caused extensive damage and required her to rebuild the home’s chimney and wall. Fortunately, Balderas and three children who live in the home were not hurt.

“That’s the most important thing,” Balderas said.

During Saturday’s visit, the Red Cross volunteers found that Balderas’ existing smoke alarms were not working and installed two new devices with 10-year lithium batteries. They also counseled Balderas and her young children about developing an escape plan for the family.

“This is serious. Our fire burned for two hours with me in the home before we noticed,” Balderas said.

After the fire, Balderas cut off the gas line to her fireplace and did research to learn about flammable chemicals in common household products. But she never realized her smoke alarms were out-of-order.

“They say you only have two minutes after you notice a fire to get out. If there’s a next time, we’re ready, thanks to the Red Cross,” she said.

To learn more about our efforts in Racine, visit http://journaltimes.com/news/local/red-cross-hits-the-streets-to-prevent-fire-deaths-injuries/article_e8f1f499-2233-584d-a72e-e00d78ef77a0.html

Team Racine went door-to-door to share life-saving information.

Team Racine went door-to-door to share life-saving information.

Please join our initiative to reduce fire deaths by 25% over the next five years! We’re looking for volunteers around the state to install smoke alarms.

Share your fire escape plan with us!

How UW-Oshkosh Red Cross Club is Impacting their Community

By: Alesha Huffman and Ali Sommerfeldt, UW-Oshkosh Red Cross Members

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Taking a quick break for a picture at the Project Play 60 event at Lambeau Field.

Through the past year, the UW-Oshkosh American Red Cross Club has continued to be actively involved in the community and fulfill the mission of the American Red Cross. To start the semester off, a few of our UWO Red Cross Club members participated in the Polar Plunge to help raise money for the Special Olympics. In March, we carpooled to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Volunteered at Project Play 60, the NFL movement for an active and healthy generation. Some of us passed out healthy snacks while others helped with face painting. No matter what we did, it was great to see all the children staying active and having a great time. Later that month, we visited King Veterans Home where we played bingo and interacted with the veterans.

Over the past year and a half, the UW Oshkosh American Red Cross Club has visited King Veterans Home in King, WI three times. On one of our visits, our club had the opportunity to assist with bowling at a bowling alley, which was located in the facility. That was a very memorable experience seeing the veterans destroy all of the volunteers on the scoreboard! Many of the veterans had a competitive spirit and we had an absolute blast alongside such wonderful people who have dedicated themselves to our country.

On our recent trip on Sunday, March 8th, our volunteers had the most powerful experience. We assisted the veterans to their seats and prepared them for an intense game of Bingo. As volunteers, we assisted with distributing prizes, visiting with the veterans, and talking with them. As soon as the veterans entered the room for Bingo, their faces lit up with smiles. A UWO American Red Cross Club member, Courtney Gussert stated: “It was a great time at King Veterans Home as many of the veterans along with the volunteers instantly had a smile on their faces when they entered the bingo room and saw us…” Ali Sommerfeldt had a similar reaction to her experience at King, “There were so many times when I could catch a resident’s eye while we were playing bingo and they would just beam over at me. It is the best feeling knowing that you can make a difference in someone’s day just by spending a few hours with them.” Volunteering at King was an exceptionally rewarding experience. Our club looks forward to volunteering with these amazing men and women veterans in the future.

UWO Red Cross members sold yummy snacks to raise funds for the Measles and Rubella Initiative.

UWO Red Cross members sold yummy snacks to raise funds for the Measles and Rubella Initiative.

Since March is Red Cross Month, we hosted a Measles and Rubella Initiative in our campus library. We sold homemade snacks that came with a ribbon pin for $1.00 and we raised just under $100. In April, we hosted and participated in, “Give What Fire Takes” and placed donation boxes throughout campus dorms. We collected new blankets, books, and toys for children who have been impacted by a fire. Later that month, a few students volunteered at a local fire station to collect and disassemble old car seats so that children have safe and up to date car seats. In three hours, they recycled a few hundred car seats! In May, a few of our members volunteered at Kidsfest at Menominee Park in Oshkosh to celebrate the opening of the park, which features a zoo. Kaitlyn Schmitt volunteered at March for Babies in Oshkosh where she helped set up and face paint for the little kids at the walk. Our final event of the semester was an American Red Cross Blood Drive set up by our Blood Services Chair, Brenna Schobert. We were able to successfully collect fifteen units of blood.

On May 5th, 2015, a few of our members attended the Student Leadership and Involvement Awards. We were nominated for Volunteer Organization of the Year and Volunteer Event of the Year. We also nominated Crystal Wrensch for Outstanding Emerging Leader and Ali Sommerfeldt, Courtney Gussert, and Brooke Trzebiatowski for Emerging Volunteer of the Year.

Kaitlyn Schmitt, the outgoing Service to Armed Forces Chair who has now stepped up to fulfill the role as president of our club, nominated King Veterans Home for Volunteer Event of the Year for the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh Student Leadership and Involvement Awards. We are pleased to announce that our nomination won! The campus was very impressed with our dedication to serving our American heroes at King and our memorable experiences doing so.

Crystal

Outstanding Emerging Leader Award winner Crystal Wrensch (L) and Brenna Schobert (R) spread the word about the American Red Cross.

The UW-Oshkosh American Red Cross Club was happy to announce that its very own member, Crystal Wrensch, was the winner of the of the Outstanding Emerging Leader award at the Student Leadership and Involvement awards this year! Crystal is not only part the American Red Cross Club, but is also an active member of the Oshkosh Student Nursing Association and is a Student Alumni Ambassador. She is able to balance being a part of many clubs while carrying 17 credits and keeping a 3.0 GPA. She recently traveled to Costa Rica to volunteer at an orphanage, which has helped her develop into the outstanding leader that she has become. As part of her role as the Fundraising Chair on the executive board of the American Red Cross Club, Crystal was responsible for the entire organization of two large-scale events and executed them perfectly.

The first event Crystal organized was the Service to the Armed Forces Awareness Concert which took place this past November on the day after Veteran’s Day. Crystal formulated the idea, organized the location and decorations, as well as secured promotions and prizes, and of course hired our performer for the event, Rob Anthony. She called upon fellow club members to assist her with promoting the event and encouraged the collaboration of marketing ideas. Amazingly, Crystal was able to put together a spectacular event in only a month and she executed the task flawlessly.

Another event Crystal was in charge of this past March was a week-long fundraising initiative to raise money for Measles and Rubella vaccinations for children in developing countries through the American Red Cross. Crystal took charge of informing the volunteers about the initiative and got them excited about it as well as other students around campus. Under Crystal’s leadership, our club was able to raise enough money to provide vaccinations for almost 100 children! Her leadership skills brought on a global impact while staying right on the UW Oshkosh campus.

Crystal is a responsible, passionate, and goal-oriented individual who strives her best in all aspects of her life. She takes pride in her work and the UWO American Red Cross Club is proud to have her as an executive member. Her “just go for it” attitude has helped her excel in every aspect of her life and other club members look up to her as a leader. We are thankful for her leadership and dedication and we are eager to see what the future holds for her.

We are very proud of all of our club members and the amazing things that we have accomplished this semester. With a strong executive board next year and a list of ideas to make a positive impact on the lives of others, we are looking forward to what incredible achievements we can accomplish next year!

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Congrats to UWO Club Red members on their winning nomination for King Veterans Home for Volunteer Event of the Year for the University of Wisconsin!

Red Cross NAT Training Changes Lives

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Andrea Johnson’s Red Cross NAT training offered her new opportunities.

The American Red Cross is a premier provider of Nurse Assistant Training, preparing students to play an important part in today’s health care.

Nurse Assistants learn to provide quality care for residents in long-term care facilities, hospitals, home health care and hospice settings. The Red Cross program is designed with input from educators, caregivers and industry representatives from across the United States.

Andrea Johnson, Wisconsin, is a nursing assistant at an assisted living facility where she spends her days tending to the basic needs of her patients. She gathers vital information about her patients’ conditions that she shares with her nurse supervisor. The ability to use her skills to help those in need in a career with full benefits is motivating and rewarding.

Johnson trained as a nurse assistant through the Red Cross. She found out about the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program and the scholarships that were available. She applied, was accepted into the program and received a scholarship from State Farm, which was a significant turning point for her. The knowledge gained and training received provided her access to new opportunities.

“My entire life changed,” Johnson said. “I had the great opportunity to meet Sarah, my instructor. Her sensitivity, care, responsibility and respect made me the professional woman I am now.”

PROGRAM DETAILS Day classes are available and students learn the nationally developed curriculum in a hands-on environment. The training meets or exceeds state standards. Through lectures, DVDs, role playing and laboratory practice, students learn skills such as vital signs, bathing, dressing and positioning. Graduates are prepared to pass state tests and be successfully employed. Training requirements for the Certified Nurse Assistant varies from state to state. For more details, including how to register for training, visit the Training and Certification information on this web site.

STATE FARM SCHOLARSHIP State Farm® has awarded a $15,000 grant to fund scholarships for the Nurse Assistant Training Program being offered by the American Red Cross in three Wisconsin communities. The program and the scholarships will be available in Green Bay, La Crosse and Altoona. The nurse assistant training is part of the health care training programs offered by the Red Cross.

For more details and to apply, please click here.

Danz Street Fire Bring Multiple Agencies Together

The American Red Cross ran a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at our Green Bay, Wisconsin office on April 29th. This is the second in the state and the first following a large- scale apartment building fire. MARC is a collaboration of private and public agencies that come together and provide assistance in one convenient location. In a comfortable setting, victims of disasters learn and share what resources are available, help them receive assistance and take one giant step closer to recovery.

With the help of bi-lingual volunteers, we helped disaster clients create personal recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate assistance for their specific disaster-caused needs.  Representatives from government, non-profit, and religiously-affiliated disaster relief organizations included:

  • American Red Cross
  • Salvation Army
  • Vincent DePaul
  • Green Bay & Brown County Housing Authority
  • First United Methodist
  • Brown County Human Services
  • 2-1-1
  • Crisis Center
  • Head Start
  • Register of Deeds
  • Preble High School Culinary Program served an amazing meal

Agencies in the MARC are vetted and their staff and volunteers adhere to high ethical standards to maintain the confidentiality and dignity of the clients. A verification system was implemented to confirm those who have been affected by the disaster. (click for WBAY-TV 2  ,  WFRV-TV 5 , Fox 11  and NBC26 video coverage)

The intentions of a MARC is to save the clients time, money and gas as there is no need to go from one organization to the next. Each client leaves with real assistance – some even received first months rental assistance and confirmation they could start moving into a new apartment later that same day after meeting with agencies! By the end of the day, 12 of the 16 families had confirmed new housing arrangements!

The mother who could now replace her son’s eye glasses was thrilled, the Red Cross would replace them at no cost. With the service, he will also have a complimentary eye exam. “He’ll be a better student when he can see again,” she exclaimed. For all the families, referrals for on-going services, bring them deeper into the recovery process and provide a little piece of mind.

The Danz Elementary School has served as the overnight shelter, provided food, snacks and hope for nearly 70-people after their apartment building fire earlier in the week.

Letter from a Danz Student written to the children of the families impacted.

Letter from a Danz Student written to the children of the families impacted.

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