Friday, April 29, 2011

American Red Cross Is On The Move!

So long 2002 N. Fine Ave, Thanks for the Memories!
The American Red Cross Central Valley Chapter is on the move!

Staff and volunteers from the Regional Red Cross Chapter are packing boxes in anticipation of the office moving to 1300 W Shaw Ave, Fresno, next week. 

The office will be closed next Tuesday, May 3rd and next Wednesday, May 4th as volunteers and staff move boxes, office equipment and 95 years of history to our new location. We will reopen on Thursday May, 5th , with public hours being 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Our phone number (559) 455-1000 and employee email address as well as our website ( will remain the same.

During the move Disaster Action Team members will still be on call rendering disaster relief services to families in need. The Red Cross afterhours phone number will be accessible for all Disaster Relief and Service to Armed Forces inquires (800) 951-5600.

All branch offices for the American Red Cross Central Valley, in Visalia and Merced, will remain open with normal business hours during the Regional Office move. 

For all of our loyal readers, we hope to be back to blogging Wednesday, May 4th. So hang tight! If you absolutely need your Red Cross fix, try checking out the CrossWords: Top 10 of 2010!

For more information please contact:
Ellen Knapp
Regional Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross Central Valley Region
Mariposa, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern Counties

Thursday, April 28, 2011

From The Newsroom: Red Cross Sends Help after Deadly Tornadoes Blast Through the South

Disaster workers, meals, equipment and blood headed to area hardest hit.

The American Red Cross is helping thousands of people after Wednesday’s deadly tornadoes destroyed neighborhoods throughout the southern region of the country.

“The American Red Cross is making sure people have a safe place to stay and food to eat. We will be there as long as needed as families struggle to get through this terrible tragedy.” said Ellen Knapp, Regional CEO, Central Valley Region. “The Red Cross is working in communities across a large part of the country helping people affected by these storms.”

Hardest hit was Alabama, where Governor Robert Bentley has activated National Guard troops to help in the devastated areas. The Red Cross is sending disaster workers, materials, and equipment into the state. Nearly 40 emergency response vehicles are on the way, along with 25,000 ready-to-eat meals. Red Cross Blood Services is moving hundreds of blood products into the area and Red Cross nurses and mental health works are being deployed to help people cope with the aftermath of this disaster.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those who lost loved ones or have suffered through these deadly storms,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “Red Cross disaster teams are working around the clock to help the thousands of people whose lives are turned upside down, more Red Cross assistance is on the way.” “Our top priority right now is to provide food and shelter to the thousands of people throughout the South and Midwest affected by these storms,” Shimanski said, adding that the Red Cross is also distributing relief supplies and providing emotional support and basic health services to disaster survivors.

More than 1,600 people sought refuge in 65 Red Cross shelters Wednesday night as the storms forced them from their homes. Red Cross shelters are open in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina and Texas.

More than half of the country has been affected by this continuous band of damaging weather, disrupting people’s lives from North Dakota to the East Coast. In the last several weeks, Red Cross disaster workers have provided thousands of overnight stays in shelters, distributed thousands of clean-up and comfort kits and served hundreds of thousands of meals and snacks.

Those who want to help the people affected by these disasters, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Their gift will enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other disaster assistance. To make a donation, people can visit, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to American Red Cross Central Valley Region , 2002 N Fine Ave, Fresno CA 93727 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Quick Update!

The signmakers, never cease to amaze me! And here all this time I thought fire killed everyone. Who knew? I'm going to play with matches all the time now!

All joking aside. The American Red Cross Central Valley Chapter responds to a home fire every 18 hours. We provide these families with food, shelter, clothing, and hope on what may be the worst day of their life. To make a donation please visit our website or call (559) 455-1000.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up!

Welcome to the Worldwide Wednesday Wrap-Up (new name, same good stuff), in which we consolidate the International Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
SUDAN: Three years after being abducted by an armed group, a teenage girl returns home with the help of the ICRC.

LIBYA: As fighting continues, the ICRC has stepped up its response - visiting detainees, providing medical supplies for hospitals, and delivering food and water that Libyan Red Crescent Society volunteers help distribute.

Côte d'Ivoire: The ICRC is bringing chemicals needed to treat the water that will be distributed to five million people for the next six months.

NIGERIA: The ICRC and Nigerian Red Cross Society are responding to the urgent needs of thousands of people displaced following post-election violence.

HAITI: Along with mosquito nets and in-person outreach, the Red Cross is using text messaging to fight malaria.

CHERNOBYL: 25 Years after the disaster, the Red Cross' Chernobyl Humanitarian Assistance and Rehabilitation Program still offers health screenings for survivors.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How To Survive A Horror Movie!

I am a movie buff. This is probably something everyone in the office knows about me. I watch way too many movies! Being a child of the 90's I was a huge fan of the Scream franchise, along with every other cheesy horror movie that has come along since. So when I saw the trailer for Scream 4, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be back in the theaters to witness the return of "ghostface." 

I was extremely pleased with the movie, as well as the nostalgia it brought back. But I couldn't help but use my Red Cross preparedness and disaster survival skills to think about what I would do if I were the star of my own horror movie. So here it is, my Red Cross Horror Movie Survival list! Follow these guidelines and hopefully you can join me in the sequel!

1. Firstly, never drink or do drugs.

2. Never say that "you'll be right back" because you won't be.

3. Always make sure that your car has a fresh battery so it will start immediately in times of crisis. Further, you should have a first aid kit in the car to assist those in need. Just because there is a murderer on the loose doesn't mean you lose your humanitarian compassion!

4. When you're searching a house because you think there's something dangerous there, for God's sake turn the bloody lights on!

5. If you are carrying a flashlight, please have spare batteries on hand, because you know the flashlight will inevitably die right before you find what you're looking for!

6. If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of the female persuasion. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely shambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.

7. Does no one remember what they learned in their Health & Safety Course? Call 9-1-1. This seems to always be the last priority on everyone's list. No one will save you, unless you call them!

8. If you find a town which looks deserted, it's probably for a good reason. Take the hint and stay away. Unless you see a Red Cross shelter, then it's safe to assume that the entire town is there receiving food, shelter, and compassion from whatever mayhem has just occurred.

9. Always check the back seat of your car, and listen to your radio! The music will always foreshadow what's to come, or perhaps search for a emergency broadcast. No one has ever survived by sobbing in silence.

10. If on a stormy night, you find a window open which you thought was previously closed, do not close it. It may be your only way out when whatever has come in through it is chasing you.

11. Kill the person in the group who suggests that you split up. They will eventually get you killed.

12. Take heed of all warnings from animals. They usually know more than you do. Keep your pets safe by receiving training in Pet First Aid and CPR.

13. Never run to the top floor of any building if you are being chased by a maniac/monster. Your only way out will be to jump.

14. Never publicly announce your plans for the future if you make it out alive. It guarantees that you have no future.

15. Stay away from certain geographical locations. Such as: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Woodsboro, the Bermuda Triangle or any small town in Maine.

16. Beware of strangers bearing tools such as chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, lawnmowers, butane torches, smoldering irons, band saws or any (possibly deathly) device made from deceased companions. However, do have First Aid training to save your slow running friend should they not be so lucky!

17. Never watch a horror movie while you're in a horror movie.

18. When battling zombies, always sever their head or shoot them in the brain. If you they still want to eat you after that, just surrender. There's no hope for you anyway. (See Red Cross Zombie Preparedness Kit)

19. Never say "Who's there?" Its a death wish.

20.If you DO happen to get killed, make sure it's in a cheap low-budget gore-fest with no plot, so you can come back in the sequel and kick butt, no explanation needed.

Remember your local Red Cross Chapter can help you be as prepared as you can be with all of our Health & Safety training. Good luck, and we hope to see you in the sequel!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Volunteers Come in All Shapes and Sizes!

This is Fred, a proud Red Cross Volunteer. What makes Fred different from all the rest? Perhaps it's because he is only seven years old and choosing to make a difference by volunteering. Granted, his mother works here in our business office, Fred is always eager to come with his mom to work so he too can be a part of the Red Cross. 

I asked Fred why he felt it was important to volunteer with the Red Cross, he told me, "I want to volunteer with the American Red Cross so it will look good when I become a pilot in the air force because you guys support the military!" 

I was truly impressed. When I was seven my interests didn't stray further than pogs, pokemon and legos. To see such a young individual with an understanding of what we do, and a passion to help really helps me understand why it is we do, what we do! 

Our volunteers are the true heart and soul of the Red Cross. Did you know...
  • For every one Red Cross employee, behind them stands a workforce of 20 volunteers. 
  • 97% of the American Red Cross Workforce is composed of Volunteers.
  • Locally, our Disaster Action Team members respond to a family in need every 18 hours.
  • Nationally, the Red Cross has over 1.33 million volunteers, if you divided that among the 50 states the American Red Cross serves, that's over 26,000 volunteers per state. 
  • Globally, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement is composed of 186 National Societies that represent 97 million volunteers. About half are youth volunteers.
The Red Cross is the World's Oldest Humanitarian Service Organization. Our mission is simple, we are people helping people. People affected by disaster, people in need of CPR or First Aid, people in need of blood, and people proudly serving our Country. 

Do you have what it takes to be Fred, our youngest Red Cross volunteer or how about Sally, our most experienced Red Cross Volunteer? Either way, this is your call to action. Make a difference and change a life, starting with your own.

To become a Red Cross Volunteer please contact Anya Goosev, Community Resource Coordinator or call (559) 455-1000.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quick Update!

Can you imagine as the sign maker created this sign and wrote the words "DIE" that immediately afterwards was an evil laugh? Unless you are planning on taking advantage of this beautiful weather and going hiking this weekend I don't think many of us Valley folk have anything to worry! However, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't have some CPR or First Aid training from the American Red Cross! Sign up today online or give us a call at (559) 455-1000.

What In The World, Wednesday!

Welcome to the What in the World, Wednesday! In which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
JAPAN: With support from around the world, the Japanese Red Cross is assisting tsunami survivors as they begin moving into temporary housing.

NEW ZEALAND: The New Zealand Red Cross has provided assistance to 47,800 people affected by the Christchurch earthquake with support from other Red Cross societies, including the American Red Cross, which contributed $772,000 toward the relief efforts.

PARAGUAY: Red Crossers are helping fight what the Minister of Health has called "the worst dengue outbreak in the history of our country."

NAMIBIA: In response to floods that forced 37,000 people from their homes, hundreds of Namibia Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground assisting people to relocate, distributing mosquito nets and water purification tablets, while carrying out health awareness campaigns to prevent a major outbreak of waterborne diseases.

Côte d'Ivoire: Enhancing medical care for conflict survivors, the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire are stepping up their support for medical facilities in the country and are beginning to operate mobile clinics in Abidjan.

NEPAL: Experts from nine countries gathered in Kathmandu to participate in an eight-day training course on international humanitarian law jointly organized by the ICRC and the Kathmandu School of Law.

LIBYA: This week 618 foreign nationals were evacuated by sea from the city of Misrata by the ICRC with support from the Libyan Red Crescent. The ICRC is also sending another ship to Misrata with medical supplies, hygiene kits, food items and 8,000 liters of drinking water.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Real Heroes - Victor Perez

Nominator: Fresno Police Department

On Monday, October 4, 2010 a little 9 year old girl was playing in front of her home with other children when a man drove up in a truck, lured her inside and kidnapped her. Within minutes of her abduction, a statewide Amber Alert was issued and like thousands of people, Victor Perez saw the description of the truck on the news that evening. Victor paid particular attention to the information since the young girl lived down the street.

Early the next morning, Perez got in his truck to search the neighborhood for that truck. He drove only a few blocks before spotting something that caught his eye: it was a truck, very similar to the one he saw just a few hours before on the news. Perez immediately pulled alongside the truck and attempted to talk to the driver, who told him he was having mechanical trouble and couldn’t pull over. This seemed odd to Perez, so he again pulled alongside and asked the driver to pull over. Perez told the driver he should call police because they were looking for a truck just like his.

Now agitated, the driver sped away. Perez became even more suspicious and was determined to get the driver to pull over. Perez positioned his truck in front of the suspect’s truck; however, the suspect maneuvered around it and drove off.

As Perez pulled up to the truck again, a little girl’s head popped up and Perez immediately knew he had been following the suspect vehicle and the little girl inside was the kidnapping victim. Perez sped up and boxed in the suspect’s truck. Perez yelled at the suspect to stop and the suspect pushed the victim out of the vehicle. Perez jumped out of his truck, ran to the aid of the victim, called police and stayed with the victim until police arrived.

The suspect was caught a short time later and now faces several charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Real Heroes - Richard Cressall

Nominator: Visalia Police Chief Colleen Mestas

On May 23rd Officer Richard Cressall, of the Visalia Police Department, was assigned to the morning shift. During his shift, Officer Cressall spotted smoke coming from a home, so he stopped to investigate.

As he pulled into the driveway it was apparent that the garage was engulfed in flames and there was no sign that the family inside was awake. He hurried to the front door and knocked several times but with no response he entered the home.

As he entered the bedrooms he found the family asleep and unaware of the immediate danger. Officer Cressall evacuated the family of five: one adult and four children, as the fire began spreading from the garage to the rest of the home.

The family was safely evacuated from the home and Officer Cressall reported to work without mentioning his early morning act of courage. This did not surprise his family or fellow officers as many of them would describe Officer Cressall as a humble man.

When his act of heroism came to light, Officer Cressall was honored for his heroism by the homeowner, Denise Mancini, Police Chief Colleen Mestas, and the Visalia City Council.

Real Heroes - David Kendrick

Nominator: Milford B. Whitson

Petty Officer David Kendrick is a Radar Approach Controller at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore. On April 10, 2010, during his routine shift in the control tower, Petty Officer Kendrick became aware of a light civil aircraft experiencing an in-flight emergency and needing immediate assistance.

Petty Officer Kendrick soon determined that the aircraft had experienced complete engine failure and would need to be guided to safety. After informing the pilot of the graveness of the situation, it became apparent that Kendrick would need to use his extraordinary equipment knowledge to instruct the frantic pilot to a safe landing.

Once determining which airfield would be the safest for landing, Petty Officer Kendrick utilized his cursor bearing equipment and distance charts to instruct the pilot to a safe landing. During this time he also notified the civilian law enforcement agency for additional back up on the ground. After some very tense minutes, the pilot was able to safely land the aircraft at the designated airfield.

Petty Officer Kendrick’s professionalism, personal initiative, and unswerving devotion to duty, reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Navy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Real Heroes - Fresno Firefighters

Nominator: Michael Despain

On May 25, 2010 neighbors saw flames coming from a house down the block and believed family members were still inside the home. The first Fresno Fire Department crew arrived on scene within four minutes, and by that time flames had engulfed the home.

Captain Clint Nichols, Captain Doug Garifo, Captain Daniel Escobar, Engineer Richard Willard and Firefighter Kevin Hughes were aware of the trapped family members inside the home so they entered the structure and began search and rescue operations while fighting the fire.
Moments after entering the home, Captain Garifo informed the Command Post a fire victim had been found. Engineer Willard found Mrs. Glenna Smith unconscious on the floor in one of the bedroom. Together, Engineer Willard along with Captains Escobar, Nichols, and Garifo, carried Mrs. Smith out of the house to awaiting fire personnel.

Captain Charles Leach, Engineer Fred Woods, Firefighter Joshua Sellers and Firefighter Anthony Troncale immediately began to resuscitate Mrs. Smith, who was found pulseless and not breathing. With the assistance of American Ambulance Paramedic, Mrs. Smith was transported to Community Regional Medical Center and was revived. Mrs. Smith was discharged from Regional Medical Center the following week.

On December 1, 2010 the Fresno Fire Department awarded medals of valor to these firefighters for their actions on May 25, 2010.

Real Heroes - Jamie Barker

Nominator: Brian McGrath

The Dakota House is a safe and loving place for school age children to go to after school. Jamie Barker, the founder of the Dakota House, created this nurturing environment with the understanding that children need a place where they can be surrounded by great adult role models and learn valuable character traits like respect, thoughtfulness, and appreciation towards others. Jamie also became a resource for homework help and daily after-school snacks; support that wasn’t offered in the children’s homes.

Because most of the Dakota House children do not receive gifts at Christmas, or have family gatherings with the traditional holiday meals, Jamie decided to once again move into action. During this past holiday season, Jamie wanted to give the children of the Dakota House a great Christmas treat, so she secured enough donations to give each child one gift and a shoeboxes stocking to take home and decorate on their own.

When the children arrive at the Dakota House for a holiday celebration, they are welcomed with a family dinner, Christmas carols, and homemade cookies. At the end of the evening the children open their gifts one at a time – with their loving Dakota House family.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Real Heroes - Scott Chedester

Nominator: Rick Turner

Scott Chedester is a 16 year Lemoore High School student and junior varsity water polo player. During President’s Weekend 2010, he and several of his fellow team mates traveled to Long Beach for the Winterfest Water Polo Tournament. After placing third in the tournament the young men decided to spend Sunday at the beach and go surfing before heading home.

The surf was high that Sunday and after catching a few waves, Scott paddled to shore. That’s when he heard people screaming and saw a pair of feet and shins sticking out of the water about 30 feet away. There was a man struggling and yelling for help. Scott realized that he needed to help this man quickly so he started running through the water, threw his surfboard down and started paddling out.

The under tow was sweeping the man away and just as Scott got 10 feet away, the man went under- but thankfully he resurfaced. Just as the man popped up for one last breath and started to go back under, Scott was able to grab him by the T-Shirt and pull him onto the surfboard.

Scott was a certified lifeguard and understood the importance of calmly communicating with the man. He explained that he was a lifeguard and he was there to help. Just as they were both situated on the surf board and headed back to shore, another wave caught them from behind and knocked them off the board.

Understanding the importance of getting this man to safety, Scott pulled him to the surf board with a lifeguard hold and was able to once again get both the man and himself back on the surf board and paddled back to shore. Once on shore paramedics arrived and gave the man oxygen and medical attention.

Scott’s combination of quick action and trained lifesaving skills saved a life that day on the beach.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Real Heroes - Dr. Richard Moors, M.D.

Nominator: Scott Bridgeman

Dr. Richard Moors’ career in Ophthalmology began over 30 years ago, and since that time he has helped tens of thousands of patients reclaim their most precious sense – vision. In 1976, Dr. Moors started working at EYE-Q Vision Care and now thirty-five years later, he is the senior partner and Medical Director of the practice.

Whenever Dr. Moors receives a call from a referring doctor or colleague with a patient in need of cataract surgery but in financial duress, he waives his surgery fee without hesitation. When it comes to his own patients, Dr. Moors will exhaust every available avenue in – search of financial assistance to help cover their medical expense(s). Sufficed to say, no stone goes unturned until a solution is found to help his patients.

Dr. Moors’ personal passion is the Flying Doctor of Mercy/LIGA. Every year he donates the use of his personal plane to fly to Mexico with a team of other medical specialists, EYE-Q staff, and with supplies to provide prescription glasses to those who would otherwise have no access to medical care. Dr. Moors spearheaded a fundraising effort by EYE-Q to raise money for LIGA by discounting LASIK surgery when patients brought in and donated their old eye glasses. To date, the “LASIK for LIGA” campaign has been one of EYE-Q’s most successful campaigns.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Real Heroes - Joseph Edwards & Bernice Gonzales

Nominator: Sam Moyers

Just after midnight on a cold December night, Joseph Edwards and Bernice Gonzales huddled under a bridge on G Street trying to stay out of the rain. Suddenly, a loud crash startled the couple, who soon realized a car had driven over the embankment and into the freezing water of Bear Creek.

Joseph threw his cell phone to Bernice and told her to call 911 as he headed down the steep slope towards the water. The water was about 10 feet deep and all he could see was tail lights. As he approached the car, he found a woman pulling herself out of the car through the windshield, screaming there were more people in the car. Just then, Joseph noticed a male body floating in the water.

As Joseph entered the frigid water to reach the floating body, he grabbed the man by his clothes and drug him to shore. Once the man was securely on shore, Joseph reentered the water to help the remaining passengers out of the car to safety. Bernice was in contact with the Merced Police Department who soon arrived to assist in the rescue.

Joseph and Bernice’s courage and heroic acts saved the lives of everyone in the car that night.

Real Hero - Mike Villines

Nominator: Janene Flad

Former Assemblyman Mike Villines is a generous supporter of our community. Mike has co-sponsored an Annual Community Renewal Summit for nonprofit agencies, involves school age children in community projects, and has supported our military personnel.

Over the last four years, Mike has partnered with the Clovis Unified School District during the holiday season to gather Christmas cards to send to our local service men and women deployed around the world. This venture started as a small scale project, where Mike personally donated the money for the postage.

Mike continues his involvement with the holiday cards project and last December over 10,000 holiday cards were collected, signed and mailed to our service men and women. It is individuals such as Mike Villines that teach our children the importance of giving back to the community and to remember the sacrifice that service men and women and their families are making on a daily basis.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Real Hero - Robert Auldridge

Nominator: Sonya Severo

On August 16, 2010, Riggs Ambulance paramedic Robert Auldridge and EMT Ryan Silva responded to a call for medical help at the home of Paul and Antonia Wuthrich. As they entered the home, they found Paul Wuthrich lying on his couch confused and nauseated. After beginning medical aid to Mr. Wuthrich, the two realized he was in serious trouble.

Paramedic Auldridge and EMT Silva checked Wuthrich’s vital signs and discovered a weak pulse at 50 beats-per-minute. Although Mr. Wuthrich needed to be transported to the hospital immediately, he did not want to go; however with some quick persuasion from Paramedic Auldridge, Mr. Wuthrich was soon loaded into the ambulance. As the ambulance pulled away from the home, headed for Mercy Medical Center, Mr. Wuthrich went into cardiac arrest.

Paramedic Auldridge immediately began CPR, asked EMT Silva to pull over, and requested assistance from CAL Fire. When CAL Fire arrived, Fireman Colby Simms jumped up into the ambulance and provided additional support by assisting with compressions. Paramedic Auldridge initiated advanced life support care including administering Epinephrine and Atropine to increase Wuthrich’s heart rate.

Mr. Wuthrich had a positive change and began to breathe on his own, so the ambulance continued to Mercy Medical Center with the lights flashing and sirens on. When they arrived at the hospital, Mr. Wuthrich was able to talk to Emergency Service Providers and was released from the hospital a week later.

Real Hero - Mike Delaney

Nominator: Ralph Goldbeck

Michael Delaney was recruited in 2002 to join a Red Cross advisory committee that was being assembled to re-organize the local chapter. The advisory committee later transformed into a new board of directors and Michael was elected chair. This was a very critical time for our local Red Cross chapter, as levels of financial contributions had fallen to an all-time low in the wake of the enormous outpouring of support for the 9/11 Freedom Fund. The local chapter was severely challenged with a new board, no CEO and operational cash flow of less than 30 days.

Over the next three years, under Michael’s guidance, the board continued to strengthen, fundraising started to increase, and the chapter’s financial position started to stabilize. When the Hurricane Season of 2005 arrived with three major hurricanes in 45 days, the Fresno-Madera Counties Chapter had strengthened to a point where it was able to recruit and train over 300 volunteers and dispatch over 150 personnel directly to the Gulf Coast.

Typically the board chair only serves a two year term, but Michael’s term of service was far from typical. He and the Board agreed that his leadership was still needed as the American Red Cross was re-structuring into a regional format. Under Michael’s leadership, the chapter stabilized enough to be selected by Red Cross National Headquarters as a regional chapter with oversight of a seven county area covering 25,000 square miles.

It is easy to step into a leadership position when the road is paved and things are operating smoothly, but to step into the board chair position as Michael did -took faith, determination and courage. Michael’s sacrifice, resolve and effort in guiding our local chapter during a critical time of need were exemplary, and are truly deserving of the Ambassador of the Year award.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Who Says Your Disaster Preparedness Kit Has To Be Boring?

We all know that putting together a disaster preparedness kit can be a bore at times. All that canned food and water, talk about a real snoozer. But there is hope! Check out these tech savvy ideas to include which are guaranteed to excite that dull plastic tub in your garage.   

Self-Powered Safety Hub
This hand-cranked multitasker not only includes an AM/FM radio, but a USB charger (with cable), and a flashing beacon, so even if you're out of power, you can hear emergency alerts and power up your cell.

Clear2Go Sport Bottle
 This isn't your regular sports bottle — the Clear2Go has a built-in filter to weed out 99.9 percent of microbial cysts (cryptosporidium and giardia), reduces the taste and odor of chlorine, and filters up to 100 gallons of water.

Joos Orange Solar Charger
Power up your phones fast: the Joos Orange can juice up your phones for two hours of 3G talk time in just one hour. Plus, it has adapters for most GPS units, gaming devices, laptops, and is super slim so there's no excuse not to have one in your kit.

Tool Logic Survival Card
This tiny, credit card-sized tool holds tweezers, a toothpick, flashlight, whistle, and a two-inch blade, along with a handy firestarter.

Disaster can strike without warning at anytime. Make sure you have taken the steps to be prepared. When being prepared, take some time and have some fun by purchasing these geek esentials. Lets face it, the true disaster would be stranded with an uncharged iPhone. If you have the portable safety hub with built in usb charger in your kit, the crisis is averted and you can now alert the world via Facebook, of the disaster that has struck! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What In The World, Wednesday!

Welcome to What In The World, Wednesday!  In which we consolidate the international Red Cross and Red Crescent news into one list of bite-sized links for you. It's a non-comprehensive sampling of the larger and/or more intriguing aspects of our global work...
Côte d'Ivoire: The humanitarian situation in Côte d'Ivoire is worsening as fighting and looting continue. An ICRC-chartered aircraft has landed with nearly 12 tons of supplies to meet the most urgent needs of people affected by the conflict.
LIBYA: As a result of the recent and ongoing fighting in Libya, unexploded munitions pose major risk for civilians. The ICRC is preparing to send staff to provide support for the destruction of such items and to launch a mine risk education campaign.

CHAD: The IFRC and Chadian Red Cross are strengthening programs in areas hit by meningitis, measles and cholera.
Across the Middle East and North Africa: As unrest and violence continue to spread, one of the ICRC's top priorities is to support local health staff in saving lives and ensuring that people in need of emergency medical care – in particular, those wounded in the violence – receive help.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Give Your Pet The Gift Of Life. Get Trained In Pet CPR Today!

For many of us, pets are a part of our family and in my grandmother’s case; her pets are referred to as her fury grandchildren. Just as we would take the time to learn lifesaving skills for our family members, it is equally important to learn lifesaving skills for our pets too. Just ask yourself, what would Lassie do? And she would most definitely say; sign up for a pet first aid class.

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month and the American Red Cross offers tips to the millions of pet owners as a way to keep their animals safe and healthy, especially as warm weather approaches. Many Red Cross chapters across the country, including the Central Valley Chapter, offer Pet First Aid and CPR courses. The Red Cross has also developed Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid Guides with DVD's to help you care for your pet. From basic responsibilities like spaying/neutering and giving medications, to performing CPR and preparing for disasters, these guides provide the information pet owners need to keep their pets healthy and safe.

 Pet owners can follow these important steps to help keep their pet healthy:
  • Give pets plenty of exercise
  • Make sure pets have plenty of fresh, cool water
  • Make sure pets get regular yearly checkups with their veterinarian, and are up to date on vaccines, especially rabies
  • Get pets spayed or neutered
  • Keep dogs on leashes outside – another animal may be too much temptation
  • Know how to perform CPR and provide basic first aid until veterinary care is available
Don’t forget to include pets in emergency plans as well:
  • Plan to take pets along if ordered to evacuate.
  • Most Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns and other considerations. Know which friends, relatives, hotels, boarding facilities accept pets in an emergency.
  • Assemble a portable kit with emergency supplies for pets:
So this April, in honor of Pet First Aid Awareness Month, contact your local American Red Cross for more information at (559) 455-1000 or visit us on the web at

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Importance of Helping Others...

We have been extremely busy lately at the Red Cross. With the relief efforts in Japan, local fires, and our Real Heroes Dinner, we have hardly had time to pick up a newspaper. However, I was reading my digital copy of the Fresno Bee when I saw this great article written from a local Valley resident who is hard at work in Japan. Check it out!

"In the last two weeks, John Lofgren's friends in the Fresno area have sent him more than 300 pounds of food, 240 space blankets, an immeasurable number of feminine hygiene products and 60 pounds of miscellaneous goods. They continue to collect donations, fill boxes and continue to ship because there is still an overwhelming need in Japan. If you would like to help, e-mail: and write "Johnny" in the subject line. 

John writes from Sendai: Yesterday, we got another box of food sent to Ishinomaki by way of Endo. Things are bad there still and some places are only accessible by foot or motorcycle. Endo had a mud-covered scooter in the back of the van this time and he's backpacking stuff in on it.

Today, we got two boxes from the incredibly posh Patrick Martin that included 40 sets of knit caps and gloves. It's still incredibly cold here during the night. Check the Sendai weather online and you'll understand how badly warm clothing is needed. Patrick also had some help buying these caps and gloves from his 8-year-old buddy named Brandon. A BIG THANK YOU to Brandon. Patrick too, of course.

Today was the first day we were able to buy heating fuel. I think it's been 17 days since the earthquake and we're still unable to get gasoline for our truck. Buying gas is possible, but there's still a good six-hour-plus wait. I hope by the weekend it will be down to a few hours. I have enough gas in the truck to get to a station, but not enough to get there and wait half a day. You see lots of people pushing their cars as they run out of gas while in line. I have a Land Cruiser. Those aren't so easily pushable, if you know what I mean.

On a sad note, I learned of an old guy who died of asphyxiation in his car while waiting in line for gas. He was waiting all night, not wanting to lose his place in line. This old-timer had some sort of charcoal stove IN the vehicle to keep warm. I suppose he nodded off, and he died. This illustrates how cold it is at night.

If you're wondering what other items still might be needed, I've heard there is a shortage on baby AND adult diapers.

As I am typing this another box has arrived! Thanks so much Cathleen (Caldwell) Genewick! A big thank you for this Kingsburgian."

It doesn't matter if you donate to John, or donate to the American Red Cross, as long as you give. To learn more about the Red Cross and the Japan Relief visit us online at