Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why I Help - Volunteer Denisha White

Denisha White, American Red Cross of the Nashville Area, Nashville, TN
By Monique Gooch, Red Cross Volunteer Journalist

Denisha White works to help alleviate suffering. She does this as a volunteer for the American Red Cross at its chapter for the Nashville, Tennessee area. She has been a volunteer for about 10 years. In that time, White has come to realize the value of volunteering. She says that she feels humbled whenever she hears words of gratitude from others that she has helped.

White enjoys being a part of an effort that has a big impact on others’ lives. She does various tasks at her Red Cross chapter. She teaches babysitting courses, CPR, AED, and First Aid classes, especially for first responders. White is a supervisor in Disaster Services for Training, Shelter, Client Casework, and Disaster Assessment. In addition, she is the service lead to the Armed Forces for Nashville area. White also participates in Youth Volunteers’ activities, as well as Preparedness Education and International Services events.

All seven fundamental principles – humanity; impartiality; neutrality; independence; voluntary service; unity; and universality - are morals that cherish all human life and honor those in the voluntary relief movement. White is motivated to keep volunteering because of the disaster relief goals and these seven fundamental principles that the American Red Cross holds dear.

Of all the volunteer work she has participated in, the Holiday Mail for Heroes program is one of the most enjoyable, memorable volunteer experiences for White. "I get to work with other volunteers from other lines of services, and get to pass out cards to veterans and active duty military personnel and their families at the VA and [other] events," she enthused.

The Red Cross mission strives to prevent and alleviate human suffering through the dedicated acts of its staff and volunteer force. It’s a goal that White believes in one hundred percent. Disaster after disaster, the Red Cross makes sure its people are there lending the victims a helping hand. White commented, “We are there when people need us most.”

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Letter from Tennessee River Executive Director, Faye Anderson - February 2015

Mission with a heart! 

Our chapter received a call from the city of Clarksville informing us of an accident not far from the chapter building.  Our volunteer disaster team sprang into action filling up coolers, calling food merchants, and putting on that distinctive Red Cross vest.

Within an hour the ERV was set up offering food, coffee and water to about 40 EMS personnel, firefighters and police officers.  They had been on the site for five hours when we arrived.  Many of them had not had a break since the accident occurred and were so thankful to the Red Cross for serving them.   I watched the volunteers share the Red Cross mission with these men and women. The DAT team that responded that night blew me away with their knowledge and professionalism!  They were ready to respond because of all of the training they have received through the Red Cross. They stayed late into the night to make sure everyone there was taken care of.  It is that volunteer spirit that guides this organization from one day to the next. 

The Tennessee River chapter will focus on the following things to share the Red Cross mission in our communities:
  •  Increase volunteer base and volunteer satisfaction
  •  Retain a liaison at Austin Peay to set up a Red Cross Club
  •  Have the club mentor high school students toward volunteerism
  •  Build volunteer DAT teams in each of our counties
  •  Offer more choices to our volunteers for preparedness and disaster trainings
  •  Work with the communication department at Austin Peay to get ap downloads on campus
  •  Work with the board of education to send out a link to the monster ap for their students
  •   Grow our board to represent the communities that we serve
It will be a challenge in some of our counties to achieve our goals.  It will take hard work and dedication both from staff and our dedicated volunteers here at the chapter.  We are up for the challenge and have taken the first steps toward not only making our area more prepared, but toward increasing our presence. 


Letter from Mid-West Tennessee Executive Director, Debra Roberson - February 2015

March is Red Cross Month, a time to recognize the country's everyday heroes. We want to recognize Curtis Reichhold. He will begin his 30th year as a volunteer on March 1st. We are very grateful for his dedication and service to our mission. Curt often drives the emergency response vehicle (ERV) and enjoys being involved in feeding events.

We have a canister drive scheduled for March. If any of our volunteers would like to participate, please give us a call. You can participate by assisting us with placing the canisters throughout the community in various places (banks, churches, stores, etc.). We will need to pick the canisters up during the first week of April and return them to the chapter. You may have a group of people to help you with a fundraising project. 

On April 23rd we will be hosting our annual Heroes Luncheon. This event will be held at the Carl Perkins Civic Center. Our guest speaker will be Mr. Paul Andert, a WWII veteran who recalls one of the greatest U.S. military victories ever: the Battle of the Bulge. Army Sgt. Paul Andert had fought in Africa, Sicily and Normandy; the invasion that many felt would break the German war machine and signal the end of World War II. The recently released movie, “Fury”, was written about his life. Brad Pitt played the role of Sgt. Andert in this movie. I hope all of our volunteers will attend this event.  There are many opportunities to volunteer and help with this event. If anyone is interested, please contact our office.

Debra Roberson

Letter from Heart of Tennessee Executive Director, Mike Cowles - February 2015

I hope this letter finds you well; it is hard to believe it is February already.  As most of you know we are experiencing a record amount of growth in our community and our city is very congested.  I am in my office today and see construction going on outside my window.  It is noisy most days here and depending if it rains or not there can be a lot of dust or a lot of mud surrounding us.  Surprisingly through all the noise and obstacles there is a blue jay that is sitting on the ledge outside my window whistling and hollering at his friends.  I tell you this because we all live in a chaotic world and sometimes you need to slow down and look at your surroundings and think about how fortunate we are to be alive in the first place.

We are just a few weeks away from holding our third annual “Heroes Luncheon” on February 25th, 2015 at the Stones River Country Club honoring Gordon Ferguson of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital.  Gordon is a pillar in the community and has dedicated his life to make this a better place for others.  Our guest speaker is Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn.  Director Gwyn is our state’s top law enforcement officer and you will not want to miss what he has to say.

This past fall our chapter merged with the chapter based out of McMinnville and our size has grown from 8 counties to 17 counties.  We now stretch from the Alabama/Tennessee line to the Kentucky/Tennessee line.  We need your help; if you are willing to keep a smile on your face and go out in a time of need we have a place for you.  Please give us a call or even better stop by our office and we will find a place for you to fit in among the very best volunteers on the planet.  Have a GREAT DAY!


Upcoming: March is Red Cross Month

Each year, the president of the United States proclaims March “Red Cross Month” to honor our mission. We use this month as a chance to honor the everyday heroes who help us fulfill that mission every day. The American Red Cross is recognizing the country’s everyday heroes during Red Cross Month.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters big and small in this country every year. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other life-saving skills.

The Red Cross is not a government agency and relies on donations of time, money and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs.

Letter from East Tennessee Executive Director, Michelle Hankes - February 2015

Cold weather, snow storms and spring storms are in the forecast, leading to people in our counties needing Red Cross services. The best way to deal with a disaster is to prevent it or prepare ahead of time, and the Red Cross has many tools and resources to help you.

Red Cross Apps are available in twelve areas including: First Aid, Tornados, Swimming, Shelter Finder, Earthquake and more. Activating the locator function on your phone settings will allow you to be warned about impending dangerous storms, even if you are traveling. Share this with your loved ones: you could save a life.

Also, we are already saving lives across our chapter with our Fire Safety Program that has included installing new smoke alarms or replacing batteries in at risk neighborhoods. Kudos to the hundreds of volunteers who have gone from house to house, apartment to apartment, serving their neighbors.

Be sure to check out the latest listing of courses being offered across the state. Things are happening! Don't be left behind.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What to Bring to a Red Cross Shelter

Red Cross shelters provide families and individuals refuge from the freezing temperatures, a safe place to sleep, a warm meal, and a chance to power up devices such as cell phones. Here’s a list of essential items you should bring along to a Red Cross Shelter: prescription and emergency medications, foods that meet special dietary requirements, identification, important personal documents, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items, supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys, special items for family members who are elderly or disabled, chargers for any electronic devices, and books, games and other forms of entertainment.