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: 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.

April Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Arnold

MaxCongratulations to Linda Arnold of Milwaukee on being named one of the April 2015 American Red Cross Volunteers of the Month!

Intrigued by what nurses could do to help clients affected by disasters, Linda joined the Red Cross in February of 2008. Linda explains, “my daughter had volunteered for Red Cross when she was an undergrad at UW-Milwaukee (First Aid Service Team), so I checked it out and met April Eagleboy who was in charge of staffing and new volunteers at the time. She [April] was a good recruiter, and I took a number of classes at the Red Cross “Institute” a month later. In April there was a tornado outbreak in Atlanta and I was deployed. It was only a 6-day deployment, but by the time it ended, I was hooked on the Red Cross.”

Volunteering about 40-hours per week, Linda works in Disaster Cycle Services as the Health Services Lead for the state. Linda has taken the initiative to build the department by making policies and procedures strong, repeatable, and expandable. She has also invested a great deal of time building capacity among Health Services volunteers. Linda has set standards, developed organizational charts, and established efficient chains of command. Because of Linda, Health Services is stronger both in our region and nationally as well!

When asked about her favorite moment with the Red Cross Linda explained, “I would say it is not a moment, but a deployment. I was sent to Super Storm Sandy in New York just before the storm hit. I was on one of the last flights into New York before the storm. I was sent to Long Island to teach and mentor the Health Services Lead and to manage Health Services there. When I arrived, there were 10 shelters open with 1500 people in them. We worked together that night to get medications for 80 people who critically needed them. We worked all night with a pharmacy that had a small generator and was willing to help and asked the nearest open hospital if they could send a doctor to write prescriptions for the people who needed them…I stayed approximately two months and developed a long lasting friendship with the volunteer I mentored.”

Linda encourages everyone to consider volunteering their time with the Red Cross, “You can find something you enjoy doing by volunteering with the Red Cross. You can feel good about the work that you do. You can spend as much or little time as you have to give. You can make friends with people you would have never met otherwise. You can use your lifelong skills to learn new ones. You will have precious memories from working with the people who have been affected by disaster and may see parts of the country you’ve never seen before. You can be part of the solution!” Thank you, Linda, for sharing your talents and time with the American Red Cross!

To learn more about how you can get involved, visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact the office of Volunteer Services at volunteerwisconsin@redcross.org.

April Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Kohler

Linda KCongratulations to Linda Kohler, of Larson, on being named one of the April 2015 American Red Cross Volunteers of the Month!

Linda joined the Red Cross in November of 2010. “I wanted to volunteer because I wanted to get out of the house, but continued to volunteer because of the staff at the Red Cross,” explained Linda.

Volunteering about 12 hours per week, Linda supports the front desk at both the Oshkosh and Waupaca offices. As her nominator, Nick Cluppert, wrote, “Linda is always willing to help however she can. She puts on a smile and welcomes everyone that comes to the office. Linda is always eager to take on special projects from staff to help out by making phone calls, researching information and putting together packets of information for upcoming activities. If it was not for our front desk volunteers, our small staff would have a difficult time getting these things done. Linda really helps the office function smoothly and offers different perspectives on how things might be able to get accomplished.”

Linda’s work impacts the value of Red Cross every day. Not only is Linda a valuable resource for staff, but an important welcoming face of the organization. Nick explained, “Linda has a great sense of humor that she brings to the office every time she comes in. If anyone is having a bad day you can bet that Linda will bring a smile to your face. Linda is also very good at working with the clients and guests that come into our offices.”

“My favorite part of volunteering is being able to help people that need it. The staff makes me feel like I am part of their team and I feel really at home. Every day I’m here is a memorable moment even with the little things that happen. I would definitely recommend volunteering with the Red Cross. It will enrich your life and make a big difference, just as it has mine!” – Linda Kohler

Thank you, Linda, for sharing your talents and time with the American Red Cross!To learn more about how you can get involved, visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact Volunteer Services at volunteerwisconsin@redcross.org.

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