Barb Skolaski

August Volunteer of the Month: Barbara Skolaski

Barbara Skolaski, August Volunteer of the Month, embodies the dedication and hard work of American Red Cross office support volunteers.

Barbara started with the Red Cross in 2003 after retiring from her lifelong job in 2002 and working a part-time job for a year. A friend who volunteered for years with Biomedical Services encouraged her to try out the Red Cross, while another friend suggested a local retirement community. Barb was able to fit both organizations into her schedule. “This gave me the feeling of having a ‘part time’ job,” Barbara stated.

Her work entering data may seem mundane to some, but it is essential to keep information comprehensive and useful.  Barb loves data entry and the Red Cross was able to offer that kind of work. However, Barb noted it is the people at Red Cross that make it a real pleasure to ‘go to work’ and associate with such friendly, sincere and helpful people.

Of course her team members at the Red Cross note she is one of their most dedicated volunteers, working about 12 hours per week. “Barbara is kind, caring, and always welcomes us in the morning with a ‘Good morning dear, how are you today?’” noted Dana Pavelsky, Red Cross Major Gift Associate. Although Barbara works in two departments, she is still a steadfast ally when someone needs assistance on short notice. She arranged her schedule to work on a time-sensitive project related to the Typhoon Haiyan response and used her expertise to complete the job. Ms. Pavelsky also noted that, “No amount of nasty Wisconsin weather keeps Barb from her mission of getting here to help us out.”

The fund development team says Barb is a joy to be around and has great insight about the Red Cross.   Barb feels that volunteering with the American Red Cross is a wonderful way to give back to the community while providing much personal satisfaction. Thanks to Barb for making our work easier and our days brighter.

Anthony Maas-cropped

August Volunteer of the Month: Anthony Maas

A ‘big heart’ and a desire to help drew Anthony Maass, Volunteer of the Month, to become an American Red Cross disaster responder in 2006. “I am always willing to be there for someone when they need a person to talk to,” Anthony noted. Whether he is cleaning and arranging a storeroom, securing fleet maintenance for the Emergency Response Vehicle, or helping people after a disaster; Anthony is willing to do the work to keep things running smoothly and meet the needs of our Red Cross clients.

Antohny volunteers because he enjoys learning new skills and ways to handle difficult situations. He also enjoys meeting volunteers of varied backgrounds who are working toward the common goal of meeting emergency needs after a disaster. Anthony noted that sometimes you just have to be willing to be there for someone when they need a person to talk to. Not only does Anthony develop great rapport with clients needing assistance after a disaster, he is supportive of new volunteers who are learning the ropes. ‘He always has a positive attitude and wants to help further the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross in his community,’ Linda Soltis-Schroeder, Regional Volunteer Specialist, stated.

Anthony has responded locally to help people whose home has burned, but his most memorable volunteer experience was working in Merrill, WI after the tornado where Anthony saw the true meaning of team work.  He truly enjoys being a part of a team that can make a huge impact through many different people coming together to help each other and the community. Thank you Anthony for helping people and laying the groundwork for Red Cross responses!

The Wausau Woodchucks recently had a Red Cross night at their baseball game where we had the opportunity to present Anthony Maass with his volunteer of the month award.
The Wausau Woodchucks recently had a Red Cross night at their baseball game where we had the opportunity to present Anthony Maass with his volunteer of the month award.
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Have a Safe and Fun Fourth of July!

This weekend many of you will be celebrating the Fourth of July with family and friends. Whether its a cookout in the backyard, going to the beach with the family, or enjoying the local fireworks display, the Red Cross wants you to have a fun and safe weekend. Please follow these tips from the American Red Cross and have a great weekend!

seatbelt

HIGHWAY SAFETY Millions of people will be on the highways over the Fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers these five things everyone should do to stay safe while traveling:

  1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
  2. Do not drink and drive.
  3. Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.
  4. Use caution in work zones.
  5. Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather.

fire

FIREWORKS SAFETY The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are five safety steps for people setting fireworks off at home:

  1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

 grilling

GRILLING SAFETY Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:

  1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

swim

Swimming Safety Many of you will head to the beach or a pool this weekend. Here are some swimming tips to keep you and your family safe.

  1.  Learn to swim and only swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  2. Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  3. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacketsaround water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  4. Provide close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the water. Avoid distractions while supervising.
  5. Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.
  6. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
  7. For a backyard pool, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  8. Secure the backyard pool with appropriate barriers including four-sided fencing.
  9. Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  10. Never leave a young child unattended near water, and do not trust a child’s life to another child.Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.If a child is missing, check the water first.

FREE SWIM AND FIRST AID APPS
Another thing people can do is download the free Red Cross Swim and First Aid Apps. Swim App users can learn water safety and drowning prevention information for a variety of aquatic environments. Children can have fun learning water safety tips with the child-friendly videos and quizzes in the app. The First Aid App puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. The apps are available for smart phones and tablets and can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play.

 

Red Cross Volunteer Distributes Water in Verona 6.17.14

After the Storm Has Passed

Across Southwestern Wisconsin, tornadoes and severe storms have swept through the area since June 16th leaving a path of damaged homes and power outages. Verona and Platteville were the hardest hit communities.

Red Cross ongoing response efforts build on the feeding, distribution of relief supplies and other support the Red Cross provided immediately after the tornadoes struck. Red Cross has provided meals and snacks to residents affected by the storms via our emergency response vehicle, distributed relief items which include rakes, gloves, tarps and other supplies and provided health and emotional support for those in need. All of this couldn’t be done without the tireless efforts from our staff and volunteer workforce.

Red Cross volunteer Anke Boudreau, comments after spending time with families in Verona, WI on Tuesday: “After such a storm people are in shock and when the Red Cross comes we are able to serve as a stabilizer. Whether it is a gentle reminder to those families cleaning up to take a moment to drink some water and eat some food or alerting a family to seek help for their two young children since school is out for the summer. If school was in session they may have access to the school counselor but there are other resources that we can help direct them to. We are providing the emotional first aid.”

As residents begin to recover, it can be a confusing process and it’s not always easy to find the help they might need. On June 19th and 20th a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) was opened at the Platteville High School to help guide residents through their recovery. MARCs bring various nonprofit organizations and government agencies together in one convenient location to provide support. Nick Cluppert from the American Red Cross Northeast Wisconsin Chapter and two disaster volunteers travelled to support the MARC on Thursday. Nick Cluppert states, ““This is a “one-stop-shop” for disaster clients. By working together, with several nonprofits and government agencies, in one convenient location, we make it easier for people to receive the help they need. This may even include help, they didn’t even realize they needed!”

View more photos from our response on our Facebook page at American Red Cross – Badger Chapter

 

Disaster Assessment Volunteer assesses damage in Verona

Severe Storms hit Wisconsin, Red Cross Responds

June 18, 2014

Severe weather has affected families across Southwestern Wisconsin with six confirmed tornadoes, leaving a path of damaged homes and power outages. The Red Cross has been providing comfort and support to thousands.  Verona and Platteville were the hardest hit communities. In Verona, trained Red Cross responders have assessed home damages and continue to provide water and relief items.

In Platteville, our emergency response vehicles continue to drive through affected neighborhoods to distribute food, snacks and water. Another team is assessing home damages so we can begin the one-on-one process to assist with recovery. In addition, the Platteville High School Shelter is open for overnight guests or you can stop in during the day for water, snacks, recharge electronics, emotional support and more. Distribution of relief items such as tarps, trash bags, shovels, rakes and gloves will continue through neighborhoods via our Emergency Response Vehicles. In the coming days, we will participate in a Multi-Agency-Resource-Center (MARC) which brings many nonprofit organizations and government agencies together in one convenient location to provide community support.

 After the storm, people should return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should stay out of damaged buildings, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes. Residents should avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines – immediately report them to the utility companies. If you smells gas or hears a hissing noise, you should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department. Please use flashlights, not candles, when examining buildings.

With the potential for severe weather expected in parts of Wisconsin over the next several days, the Red Cross is encouraging everyone to download the free tornado app. The app features a siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or been cancelled. People can use the app’s “I’m Safe’ button to let loved ones know they are okay and find the location of Red Cross shelters.

 Important Safety Tips!

  • Listen to our Tornado App, local news and/or a NOAA weather radio to stay informed about any severe weather watches and warnings in their area.
  • Pick a place where family members can gatherthe basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
  • Watch for tornado danger signs – dark, greenish clouds, a cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or roaring noise.
  • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or severe winds. If there is access to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, abandon the mobile home immediately and go to that facility. Do not wait until the tornado is in view.
  • If someone is caught outdoors, they should seek shelter in a basement or sturdy building. If they can’t do that, they should get into a vehicle, buckle their seat belt and drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If flying debris occurs, they should pull over and park, stay in the vehicle with their head down below the windows, covering their head.

 People all across the affected areas need your help now.Please make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

  • Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. This includes the recent severe weather and nearly 70,000 other disasters we handle every year around the country.

 The Red Cross is currently mobilizing registered, trained, disaster response volunteers from local communities.  To become a trained disaster responder for future events, visit redcross.org to begin the volunteer application process.

save

World Blood Donor Day!

Today is World Blood Donor Day! When you think of Red Cross, blood donation is one of the first things that comes to mind. The American Red Cross started its blood donor program in 1941 with the onset of WWII. Since then, many techniques and technologies in our blood program  have changed, but we still rely on volunteers to meet our blood donation needs. People donate blood for many reasons, and each blood donor and blood recipient have their own stories.  During our 100 Days of Summer campaign, we are asking you to give blood!

One pint of blood can save 3 lives. With summer in full swing, blood donations drop due to summer vacations and decrease in blood drive participation.  The demand for blood does not slow down for summer. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. On World Blood Donor Day especially, we are asking you to help meet this need. You can save a life.

There are many ways you can help the American Red Cross Blood Program. The straight forward way is to schedule an appointment to give blood or find a blood drive going on in your community to give blood at. Use http://www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation-v6 to find out blood drives going on in your community. Another way to get involved is to host or volunteer at a blood drive. Hosting a blood drive with the Red Cross is a partnership. A Red Cross representative will work with you every step of the way to help make your drive is a success. Check out http://www.redcrossblood.org/hosting-blood-drive for more information.  By volunteering time with your local Red Cross, you will contribute to your community’s blood supply and change lives, starting with your own. The American Red Cross provides the fabric that enables ordinary individuals to perform extraordinary services.

We could not support those who need blood without the support of our blood services staff, volunteers, and donors. On World Blood Donor Day, we would like to thank you all for your help. You have made a difference. If you are not involved with American Red Cross Blood Services, take the initiative today to become a part of this great organization. Today is the perfect day to make your move.

 

rachel

June Volunteer of the Month: Rachel Goodrich

We are pleased to announce Rachel Goodrich, of Madison WI, as June Volunteer of the Month at the American Red Cross.

Rachel has been a volunteer since July 2013 when she signed up after moving to Madison with her two daughters. Because Rachel has been blessed with a strong support system throughout her life, she is drawn to helping others, even strangers. Rachel insists on creating that same motivation to help others into her children. On a daily basis she instills a message about giving your time and being engaged in the community. “No matter what situation we may be in, we can always offer others a helping hand, a smile, hug, support, laughter and friendship. It only takes a second to make someone smile and show them you care” she says.

With 3 of her own loved ones deployed with the military, Rachel was drawn to the Red Cross ’Services to the Armed Forces’ program. As a Red Cross volunteer Rachel works with veterans, military members and their families. She attends troop send-offs, family support night, organizes Holiday Mail for Heroes and so much more. “Rachel’s passion and empathy for the military community is contagious. Because she has personal experience, she is committed to working on providing resources and thinking of ways to better support our community” said Katie Gaynor, Red Cross Communications Director.

Rachel’s favorite part about volunteering is, “meeting so many amazing people! It is the look on others faces when you are helping, the little moments you give someone mean the world to them and make their lives easier”.  Her most memorable experience was at a troop-send off at Volk Field. “I witnessed raw emotions that day. Pure joy, happiness, laughter, tears, sorrow.  You name it, I witnessed it. I watched a father feed his baby girl a bottle, knowing that when he gets back his baby would not need bottles anymore. I spoke with a Commander who was going to miss seeing his daughter graduate high school. Those moments make you really appreciate their sacrifice and feel honored to be a part of their day”.

When asked what she would say to someone who is considering becoming a Red Cross volunteer she responds, “Red Cross is the most rewarding agency you could ever get involved in. Being a part of Red Cross is the best thing that I have done for myself and my kids.” The Red Cross is thrilled to have Rachel serving with us!

Right now, the American Red Cross has many volunteer opportunities, including becoming a disaster responder, supporting military troops, teaching life-saving first aid and CPR, and many more. Red Cross volunteers are united by their service and the feeling that in changing others’ lives, their lives are also changed. To learn more, visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact the office of Volunteer Resources at volunteerwestern.wi@redcross.org.

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