Monday, July 17, 2017

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - July 2017

As a new fiscal year starts for us here at the American Red Cross, I’d like to thank each and every volunteer for all that you do for the Red Cross and our communities. We wish to continue our work and make this the best fiscal year yet by providing great service to all, and creating various and numerous opportunities for our volunteers. We always have volunteer opportunities available, but one event I’m particularly excited about is Sound the Alarm, Save A Life which will take place Saturday, September 23rd.  

The American Red Cross asks everyone to help Sound the Alarm and be part of the nationwide Red Cross effort to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. The Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters a year, the majority of which are home fires. Working smoke alarms in a home cut the risk of death by half, and having an escape plan further improves the odds of survival. The Red Cross wants to end these tragedies and save lives, the reason why the organization launched the Home Fire Campaign in 2014. Please help us Sound the Alarm by volunteering to install smoke alarms on September 23rd, making a financial contribution, or taking steps to protect your own family from home fires.

You can learn about Sound the Alarm in the Nashville Area by contacting our Disaster Program Manager, Kevin Watt, or by visiting

The greater Nashville area is expected to grow by leaps and bounds over the next several years. This growth will mean more opportunity for serving those around us. The Red Cross is all about neighbors helping neighbors. Join us in making a meaningful contribution to your community by applying to be a volunteer, today! Also, feel free to share our volunteer opportunities with your family and friends!
 We hope to see you volunteer with us soon!
Joel Sullivan

Red Cross First Aid App Can Help Save Lives

Emergency situations that may require first aid can occur anytime, anyplace. The American Red Cross First Aid App is an important tool everyone can download to their mobile device, putting free and simple lifesaving information at their fingertips.
This app gives instant access to information on how to handle the most common first aid situations, taking critical first aid information normally stored on bookshelves and in pamphlets and places it at the fingertips of millions of individuals – in order to help save lives.
Videos and interactive quizzes are also part of the app. Users who take quizzes can earn badges they can share with friends through social media to show off their lifesaving knowledge.
The Red Cross app also includes trusted Red Cross disaster preparedness information for a number of common situations.
First Aid App features include:
  • Simple step-by-step instructions for everyday first aid scenarios
  • Prioritized steps to take during an emergency, with a 9-1-1 call button
  • Sharable badges to be unlocked through interactive quizzes
  • Videos and animations to make learning first aid fun and easy
  • Safety and preparedness tips for a range of severe weather
  • Preloaded content that gives instant access to all safety information at any time.

  • The content is available in English and in Spanish. Downloading the app is not a substitute for training. To learn more about Red Cross first aid or register for a course, visit training information on
    From how to be safe and prepared in an emergency to help for the nation’s active military and veterans all the way down to how to take care of your pet, the Red Cross has a suite of apps for mobile devices that includes something for everyone. Find all of the Red Cross apps in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

    Southeast Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight, Vincent Carson - July 2017

    Vincent Carson is our June Volunteer Spotlight! Vincent is a retired fire fighter and EMT. After his son joined the military, Vincent had a lot of free time to fill. As soon as a friend mentioned volunteering with the Red Cross, Vincent knew that it was the right job for him. He began volunteering with the American Red Cross in March.

    Vincent is a member of the Disaster Action Team and has really enjoyed being a part of this group. He recently deployed to Memphis, TN during the widespread power outages. During this time, Vincent was willing to do whatever was needed to fulfill the Red Cross mission. He had a positive attitude and was excited to step up to do anything that he could to help. Vincent was in Memphis for over a week, and in that time he did a little bit of everything including case-work, logistics, and unloading trucks!

    Vincent’s favorite memory of volunteering with the American Red Cross comes from his time in Memphis. Vincent told us that he was incredibly nervous on his first morning in Memphis. He had never deployed before and wasn’t sure what to expect. “Every single person that I met that first morning was just so nice and welcoming,” Vincent said. He immediately felt more comfortable and at-home after talking with his fellow volunteers.

    Vincent has worked tirelessly from his very first moment with the American Red Cross. He is a dedicated and committed volunteer whose hard work and optimism are appreciated by everyone around him. He has had such an enormous impact on so many lives already, and we are all extremely grateful. Thank you so much for everything that you do, Vincent!

    Tennessee River Volunteer Spotlight, Deborah Dawson - July 2017

    The July 2017 Volunteer Spotlight is Deborah Dawson!

    Deborah joined the Tennessee River Chapter as a volunteer in the fall of 2016. For several years, Deborah had wanted to volunteer with the American Red Cross, so when she was invited by a volunteer to a Tuesday Volunteer Meeting and Potluck, she jumped at the opportunity. In less than a year, Deborah has volunteered in several areas which include Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, events, reception, and training. She has recently found her niche and settled in as the chapter’s Sheltering Lead.

    Deborah spent the greater amount of her life in Texas where she worked as a Caseworker for the aged and disabled. She moved to the Clarksville, Tennessee area to be closer to her family and has truly enjoyed being here. After moving to Tennessee, Deborah worked in real estate for some time.

    Deborah says that before she became a volunteer, she only knew what she saw on TV about the Red Cross.  “Now, a world of opportunities has been opened understanding the different lines of service the American Red Cross provides,” she said.  “I continue to volunteer because there are many different opportunities that are rewarding while helping the immediate needs of clients. That’s what motivates me.”

    Deborah has taken on the important role of updating all shelter teams throughout our twelve counties with necessary training. She continues to work hard and push through challenges that arise and all while increasing shelter partnerships.

    We are beyond grateful for Deborah’s work ethic and leadership skills. She has found a system that works and is putting it in action. Thank you for all you do Deborah, It’s astounding the difference one person can make, our chapter is reaping the benefits because of your work and dedication!

    Mid-West Tennessee Letter from Executive Director, David Hicks - July 2017

    Hello Mid- West TN Chapter volunteers! I hope that each of you are enjoying your summer and having a good time with your children as they are still enjoying summer break. Coming out of another July 4th celebration (but my first as the Director for our local chapter) I have begun to appreciate and celebrate the special relationship we share with the armed forces now more than ever.

    Each month, Executive Directors for each of the 8 Red Cross chapters in Tennessee come together for our monthly meetings in Nashville.  We were recently assigned to attend the planning meetings for different services of our organization (Disaster, Volunteer Services, Financial Development, Communications and Services to the Armed Forces). This is an attempt to further the Executive Director’s understanding and perspective on what each of the organization’s service programs provide and what the staff members of those respective programs are tasked with on a daily and weekly basis.

    My first assignment while in Nashville in June, was to join the meeting for the “Service to the Armed Forces” (SAF) program and to sit in among their discussions and brainstorming. I was very appreciative to be given an “inside” perspective on the amount of planning and preparation that goes into developing a strong partnership with the military bases across our state- and the commanding officers that we interact and correspond with. These strong ties allow for more effective results in our efforts to convey/ relay important family messages to military men and women in the line of duty, to provide family support (financial, emotional, mental, spiritual) when the soldiers are at home or abroad, and to more effectively organize and carry out the widespread collection and distribution of the letters and cards for the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program. These are all HUGE undertakings that require much planning and coordinating that I often take for granted (and I’m sure some of you do too). We have a tremendous volunteer in our local chapter who does SAF services on our behalf. His name is Dave Brumley and many of you know him personally. We are very fortunate to have Dave at the helm on our behalf!

    After having met with our SAF Tennessee staff/ team members (and serving with Dave daily), I can honestly say they are an exceptional group that not only provides a lot of know how (due to many of them having military backgrounds) but they also work well as a team in their collaborations for the sake of the SAF program. Next time you speak with someone who serves on your local chapter’s SAF service team, please take a moment to thank them for the time and effort they invest in such an important outreach for the American Red Cross! You’ll be glad you did!

    Southeast Tennessee Letter from Executive Director, Julia Wright - July 2017

    The annual meeting of the Southeast Tennessee chapter was held June 21st ,  but this was no typical gathering.  This year’s meeting highlighted the centennial celebration of the Tennessee American Red Cross and particularly, of our Southeast Tennessee chapter.

    Although none of the packed house in attendance could represent the founding year of 1917 or even very early times, several of our long time members recounted interesting and unusual experiences from their years of service. Storytellers, Rickie Pierce, Oscar Brock, and new volunteer, Robert Gould, made our event a very entertaining and educational one.

    Robert came on board about six months ago, following his move from New York where he was very active in the Red Cross in the boroughs of the city and associated counties. Robert's father, John Fleming Gould was the artist who designed the signature Red Cross posters in the mid to late fifties. His original work commands impressive prices by collectors today.

    Robert shared the original works by his father with us as part of the visual display he created. Complimenting this presentation were vital parts of our much greater historical archive in clippings, printed materials and pictures that tell the story.

    Tennessee River Letter from Executive Director, Katy Hagstrom - July 2017

    Recently there was a cartoon on social media stating that, as humans, we’ve come full circle.  The illustration showed hieroglyphics on the left and emoticons on the right! Emoticons (and emojis) speak for many of us in the land of short hand on texts, emails, and social media, but it’s the “icon” that caught my eye.

    Icon, from the word iconography, is itself a short hand word.  Not only are symbols icons, but people are too, and movies or books or art work may be iconic.  In this connotation, it means something that stands out or apart from the rest. It has import and meaning and sets a standard to be followed.

    Celebrating the nation’s birthday this month, we Americans take quite a few “icons” to heart.  We proudly wear flag pins on our lapels, we understand the relevance of the stars and stripes and sometimes we dress with them on our clothing. The Founding Fathers are icons, as are the men and women, active duty or retired, who dedicate their lives to preserving our freedoms.  The national anthem may be difficult to sing, but it is iconic.  For those of us living in today’s world, we may better appreciate Lee Greenwood’s Proud to Be an American or Toby Keith’s American Soldier or even Billy Ray Cyrus’s Some Gave All.  We are unabashed in our patriotism. And, we wear those icons well.

    For those of us in service to our communities through the American Red Cross, we too, proudly wear our icon, the red cross.  This icon is universally understood and comes not only with pride and responsibility for those who wear it, but also with an understanding and expectation from those we serve.  The red cross icon radiates hope and help for those in need, it represents our desire to give back to our communities in the most difficult of times, and it represents a strong family bond for Red Cross volunteers and staff.  

    Who knows if we’ve really come full circle, back to a time when pictures could and did serve as a written language? I see the humor in that cartoon.  While we may be too busy to write the written word instead of symbols in our everyday world, we are not too busy to stand with our country as we wear its icons, and, we certainly are not too busy to don our red crosses and venture out to help others.  And that brings great pride and comfort. Those red crosses help us stand out from all others, setting a standard of excellent care.

    Katy Hagstrom | Executive Director
    American Red Cross