Local volunteer, Dave Mooney, is off on his first national disaster deployment. He and another trained Emergency Response Vehicle driver are on the road to Fargo, North Dakota. They will be providing food, water, hot coffee to the thousands of volunteers who are supporting sand bagging efforts, first responders and the community at-large. With the Red River near the flood stage, massive efforts have been taken to limit flood damage and the American Red Cross has shelters, food, clean-up kits and more ready if needed.
Jody Weyers stands by the well-worn adage, “Volunteering is good for the soul.”
She should know. As volunteer and communications director for the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter, Weyers calls on more than 450 registered volunteers who commit their time, talent and treasure to aid people they’ve likely never met, during circumstances most often beyond their control.
“Every day I am amazed at the dedication of our volunteers, their commitment and caring nature for what they do and how they support the organization,” said Weyers.
For her own service to the community, Weyers, a 1996 UW-Green Bay graduate (communication and history) will be recognized with the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award at Alumni Awards Night, Saturday, April 30. The event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Weidner Center for Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay.
When international disasters occur, such as the recent earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, the role of local Red Cross chapters is to lead communication efforts on behalf of American relief efforts. Weyers said that Japan has its own strong Red Cross chapter responding to the tragedy but is asking for financial help from around the world to support the large relief operation.
But when disaster hits in the local community, local, trained volunteers are ready to respond quickly with flexibility to the situation.
“There is no convenient time for a disaster,” she says. “As the communications director for the chapter, I am technically always on call. Fire, flood, tornado, whatever the disaster, the information needs to get out immediately. That may involve working long hours, weekends and changing personal plans because of a disaster situation.”
Weyers thrives in an organization that is not about giving a “hand out” but about giving a “hand up.”
“No one is exempt from the possibility of a disaster happening to them,” she explains. “I am comforted knowing that there is an agency out there to support people if something of this nature does occur to them. I am also proud of the fact that we are a volunteer-led organization.
“In September of 2008, I went on my first National Red Cross deployment to Houston, Texas, to support the relief efforts following the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I find it so incredible that it is volunteers who are running and sometimes in charge of these large disaster recovery operations. I was amazed at how organized and structured the operation was in the midst of the chaos a disaster brings to a community.”
The job doesn’t come without its challenges.
“Money is always a challenge,” Weyers says. “As a nonprofit organization, we have also felt the hit of the economy in regards to donations. I have to be very conscious of working within our budget and get creative sometimes to make our dollars stretch as far as possible.”
A native of Black Creek, Wis., Weyers said she grew up in a family that always seemed to be doing something to help someone else out. She credits her parents and grandparents for modeling a hard work ethic and caring nature — skills that suit Weyers in her Red Cross role.
“I have discovered that volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and is good for the soul,” she says. “Our oldest volunteer at the Red Cross just turned 95, and she always says, ‘I can sit home and worry about every little ache and pain or I can come in to volunteer and it seems like all those aches and pains go away, because I am around people I enjoy.’
“That’s the thing. It’s never too late to start volunteering,” Weyers says. “It’s about finding that passion, and connecting with an organization that you can channel that energy through. It is a magical thing when I see that connection in a volunteer working for the Red Cross.”
March 28, 2011 – By LISA M. HOFFMANN, Staff Writer, The Daily News
IRON MOUNTAIN – March is Red Cross Month, and what better way to help the American Red Cross than to donate blood.
In the United States, nearly 5 million people need blood transfusions each year. By making an appointment to give blood this month, donators can help the Red Cross meet the needs of patients in the community and across the nation.
Bobbie Snethen, primary communications spokesperson for the Mid America Blood Services Division, said a first time donor will be given a donor manual and will then have to answer health history questions about their travel experience and any medications they’re taking.
The donor’s temperature, pulse, and blood pressure are then taken. An iron test, which is a prick of a needle on one of the donor’s fingers, is also administered.
If the donor’s iron levels are too low, the donor must wait 24 hours before testing.
They are then given a list of ways to incorporate iron-rich foods into their diet.
Some of those foods are spinach, bran cereal, fish, meat, eggs, and beans. A complete list can be found on the American Red Cross website.
If a donor is determined eligible to donate, they lie down a donor bed and choose the arm from which the blood will be drawn.
Staff then gauge the best vein and perform the blood draw.
“The actual donation time is 10 to 20 minutes,” Snethen said.
The Red Cross recommends those who wish to donate blood to make an appointment and allow one hour in their schedule.
After giving blood, donors go to the refreshment area for 15 minutes or so. This is to make sure they are feeling OK, and enjoy cookies and juice.
An Iron Mountain Blood Drive, sponsored by the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Kiwanis Club, will be held on Tuesday, March 29. The blood drive will be at the First Presbyterian Church (fellowship hall), 395 Hamilton Ave. in Kingsford, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
To donate blood, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information.
Snethen said that it is important to note that 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, yet 8 percent actually donate.
“We encourage all blood types at this time, especially O negative,” she said.
O negative is the type of blood in which anyone can receive.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identifications are required at check-in.
Individuals who are 17 years of age, weight at least 110 pounds and are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
“The Red Cross relies on the support of the American public in order to provide all of the services we offer,” said Greg Novinska, CEO of the American Red Cross Badger Hawkeye Region. “By giving blood, you support the Red Cross and help patients in your community and across the country.”
Residents can also donate to the earthquake relief efforts in Japan by visiting www.redcross.org.
The American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensures no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it.
In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.
March was declared Red Cross Month in 1943, when President Roosevelt reminded the American public that the Red Cross is committed to providing blood and blood products, disaster assistance and emergency social services across the United States and internationally.
Lisa M. Hoffmann’s e-mail is email@example.com.
To benefit Japan, local writers and authors offered a night of storytelling and prose at the Reader’s Loft on Friday, March 25, 2011. The group raised $1,919.51 to support the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Response efforts.
“People came out to listen to our stories, bid on auction items, and get involved as a community to help Japan recover,” stated Nancy Nabak, one of the organizers of the event.
Special guest, Mayuko Usui, who is from Japan, spoke to the group about her experience of the quake and tsunami. Usui , whose mother-in-law lives in Green Bay, came to the U.S. one week ago with her daughter to have a safer place to live while things are yet uncertain in Japan. Her husband, a teacher in Tokyo, stayed behind.
Usui talked about escalating prices and said it cost $3,000 for airline tickets for her and her one year old. Continuing tremors, radiation, water safety concerns, and rolling black outs were a part of her everyday life. Though, throughout all of this turmoil, she noted, “No one is complaining.”
Legacies Arts Project, LLC also got involved by donating for auction watercolor depictions of the earthquake and tsunami created by people with early onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The event was sponsored by the Writers’ Relief Group of Green Bay.
Join the UWGB Red Cross Club members and local musician, Rob Anthony, for an entertaining evening on the campus of UWGB.
This is the third year the club has hosted the signature event to promote March is Red Cross Month and to spread the word to the community about the impact the Red Cross has on our neighbors.
Enjoy Rob’s inspiring and heartfelt music and listen to people share their life-saving Red Cross stories.
When: Thursday, March 31
Time: 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Where: Phoenix Club Room, 1st floor of the University Union on the campus of UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive.
This event is open to the public.
Guest Blog Post by Dawn Comer, American Red Cross, MI-WI Border Area Service Unit
Ask the average person about the Red Cross and chances are they will mention disasters like hurricanes and floods. But the majority of the disasters the local American Red Cross respond to are apartment and house fires, which affect families here.
At a scene, Red Cross volunteers work side-by-side with firefighters and other emergency personnel to ensure victims are given immediate relief. Immediate relief means getting them what they need most without waiting a day or more — food, lodging, clothing, medication replacement, and mental health counseling. In the days following a disaster, the Red Cross continues to work with families while they find ways to rebuild their lives.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is a free gift, made possible by the financial generosity of local citizens.
Recently there was a fire in Florence County, WI. Contact was made with the family affected by this fire by Disaster Action Team member Mike Petrick. In addition to the financial assistance given for food, clothing and bedding, arrangements were made to provide the client with a CPAP machine (CPAP is the safest, most effective treatment for sleep apnea) free of charge through the Reggie White Foundation in West Allis, Wisconsin. It is through the combined efforts of generous organizations such as these that families can start the process of recovery from such disasters and get the help they may so desperately need.
Please support your local
American Red Cross MI-WI Border Area Service Unit
427 South Stephenson Ave., L108
Iron Mountain, MI 49801
Operation “I am the Change” is a penny challenge between classes in the North Dickinson school district in Felch, MI. This very small school has already raised $1,300 dollars after only two days! Shown here is Mrs. Johnson’s 4th Grade Class. In their 5-gallon buckets they have weighed them at 130 pounds of change. All funds will be donated to the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Response efforts.